Archive for 2014

Practices of a Level 5 Leader

Thursday, May 1st, 2014 by Troy Schrock

Alan Mulally’s upcoming retirement as CEO of Ford Motor Company is big news these days. All organizations, not just those in the automotive sector, should take notice. Mulally’s leadership in turning around Ford highlights a Level 5 Leader (a leader who places the success and results of the organization ahead of their own individual accomplishments and legacy). Here are some key practices he, and the executive leaders, used to take Ford to the top of the industry.

Most significantly, or simply, Mulally used a tight weekly executive team meeting (his BPR, or Business Process Review) to drive both business plan execution and building a strong leadership team. Candor, trust and accountability, virtually non-existent in past Ford culture, now form the foundation for the executive level leaders. With that foundation, a deliberate focus on data culminated in a dramatic turn-around (2007 – 2009) followed by years of consistent business performance.

Second, Mulally created a simple vision for the organization, repeated that vision all the time and didn’t change the course even when people outside were constantly looking for the next “new plan”. His view was, we have the right plan and we’re still working on implementing it.

Third, Mulally focused the organization back on the customer. Significant money was invested in new product development and quality initiatives even during significant cuts to operations. What mattered to customers was appealing designs, good fuel economy and cars that didn’t break.

Fourth, Mulally simplified the business. Ford reduced the number of brands (auto name plates) down to two. They also reduced waste and redundancy in operations by coordinating design, engineering, quality and manufacturing efforts across the entire global organization.

Mulally’s final step will be completing a deliberate and orderly succession. Here is a link to a recent article highlighting the transition.

For more in-depth understanding, see the book, American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company by Bryce G. Hoffman.


In 100 Words: Accelerate Your Biggest Opportunities

Friday, March 14th, 2014 by Troy Schrock

Are your best resources committed to your biggest opportunities? Let me be more specific in two ways.

First, do you know the most significant growth opportunity for your organization looking five-plus years into the future? Many times it’s different than your current way of business.

Second, out of all your talent resources, are your absolute best people focused on what you know to be that largest opportunity? It’s all too natural for the best people to be consumed with the existing business. It’s an energy trap.

You accelerate outcomes when your best people are leading your most significant growth opportunities.

“Surround yourself with the best people you can find, delegate authority, and don’t interfere as long as the policy you’ve decided upon is being carried out.” –Ronald Reagan

Click here if you would like “In 100 Words” delivered to your inbox twice each quarter.


In 100 Words: Execute Like Crazy!

Friday, January 31st, 2014 by Troy Schrock

Now is the time to execute! 2014 plans have been laid out and communicated to the organization. First quarter Rocks (priorities) are identified. Could your goals be better defined? Could you spend more time fine-tuning the plan? Absolutely. You can always find additional things to study or clarify. But, now is the time to run.

Don’t hesitate. Don’t procrastinate. The momentum you gain (or lose) in the first 90 days will impact your entire year’s plan. Go heads down on executing your Rocks. Then, at the end of the quarter, you will have opportunity to reassess and make course corrections.

A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan executed next week. –George S. Patton

Click here if you would like “In 100 Words” delivered to your inbox twice each quarter.