In following the story, I was interested in a piece in the New York Times that was published on 27th June, which compared Ford motor company’s ‘rise from the ashes’ with GM’s current fall.
Two years ago, former reporter for The Detroit News, Bryce Hoffman, published a book entitled “American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company.”
Mulally, who moved from Boeing to became Ford’s chief executive in 2006 is credited with being the driving force behind saving Ford and a significant factor in that turnaround, was by doing what Mary Barra hopes to do at G.M. Transforming the culture.
Four factors that appeared to have major influence in transforming Ford’s culture were:
- Coming up with a vision and plan.
- Sticking with the vision and the plan. The vision and plan were repeated at the beginning of virtually every meeting, whether the audience were employees, analysts, journalists… Ford had been notorious for changing its business plan every six months. That stopped under Mulally.
- Tackling the culture. Ford had a winner take all, careerist culture, with executives often making themselves look good by making ‘rivals’ look bad.
- Overhauling the compensation system. Rewards for divisional performance were changes to reward for meeting Ford’s larger goals. Suddenly it paid to help each other out
In a recent New York Times interview with Joe Nocera, Hoffman said “Mulally had several big advantages over Barra. First, he was an outsider; he could easily see what was wrong with the culture because he had never been steeped in it. Second, the system he brought to Ford was one that he had already mastered at Boeing — he knew it would work. Barra seems to understand at least some of what is wrong with G.M.’s culture. The tougher question is whether she knows how to change it.”
Where is your organisation vulnerable from internal counter cultures?