Alan Mulally, an ex-Boeing Commercial Airplane chief, a disciplined, down-to-the-earth engineer by heart, a confident and skilled business and people leader, pulled Ford out of the Great Recession ofsaved Ford from downhill slide and transformed Ford from an inefficient, problem-festered, rusty, poorly mouthed automaker to one of the innovative, respected, most lean and profitable, strongest global player in auto industry within 8 years of his tenure. Is this a true triumph or a struggle among the lesser fits in a declining industry?
If he follows the lead of his predecessor and continues the management system that Mulally introduced, Fields is likely to take the automaker to even greater heights.
In business, there are few things more powerful than a good management system. Fortunately for Fields, he has inherited a great management system. The Problem is the System, Not the People Upon assuming the leadership of Ford, Mulally brought a sense of focus that had been missing from the dysfunctional management team he inherited.
His solution was to use the peer accountability system that worked so well for him when he was at Boeing. In these sessions, each member of the leadership team was expected to alan mulally business plan review example a concise color-coded update of his or her progress toward meeting key company goals.
Projects that are on track or ahead of schedule are colored green, yellow indicates the initiative has potential issues or concerns, and red denotes those programs that are behind schedule or off plan. Initially, the leadership team resisted the BPR.
They were used to working in their own fiefdoms, where their authority was unquestioned and they were in total control. Their notion of an effective leadership team was each individual leader doing his or her own thing and doing it well.
It was not surprising that in those first BPR meetings, everyone on the leadership team reported everything as green. The Breakthrough One of the leaders who saw no value in the BPR was Fields, who protested to Mulally that he needed to keep focused on his business unit.
Fields saw these meetings as a wasteful distraction from his real work. Mulally remained firm in his resolve to introduce the BPR, asking Fields to trust the process. In his book, American Icon, Bryce G. Hoffman relates the story of how Fields unwittingly provided the breakthrough that broke the resistance of the leadership team to the BPR process.
So, he decided if he was going to lose his job, he might as well go out "in a blaze of glory. He stunned his colleagues when he made this bold—what some in the room thought was a career ending—move. But, it delighted Mulally, who seized upon the moment to engage the whole leadership team on how they could collaborate together to solve the business issue Fields shared with the group.
Mulally understood that the prime lever of an effective organization is a highly collaborative senior leadership team. Fields bold move helped make that a reality.
Building Shared Understanding Means Spending Quality Time Together Color-coded status reports provide a level of transparency that is sometimes absent from the usual numerical reports, and processing these visual updates as a team instills a discipline of peer accountability that is often lacking in leadership teams.
The cadence of frequently gathering the whole team in one place to review all key initiatives helps create a shared understanding about the most important issues of the business. But more importantly, as happened in the case of Ford, it provides critical opportunities for the team members to synchronize their activities to help create extraordinary performance.
Mulally was adamant about the BPR process because he understood that the key dynamic for building a highly effective team is not a one-time offsite team-building event, but rather a frequent cadence where everyone on the team gathers in the same place at the same time for crucial business conversations.
The quality of a team is dependent upon the quality of the conversation, and that means taking the time to build a shared understanding of the business by spending quality time together.
In implementing this practice, Mulally was very careful to maintain an environment where it was safe to candidly report the actual status of key activities.This entry was posted in corporate culture, leadership, strategy execution and tagged Alan Mulally, bad meetings, Business Review Meeting, Expected Behaviors, Ford Motor Company, good .
Alan Mulally: Every week we have a Business Plan Review meeting, or BPR. Our entire global leadership team, every business leader, every functional leader, attends either remotely or in person. Our entire global leadership team, every business leader, every functional leader, attends either remotely or in person.
The wisdom, prescience and brilliance of Bill Ford, Alan Mulally and Ford’s Finance Team provided us an excellent playbook on the importance of finance plays for any large enterprise that is going through business transformation or dealing with large-scale crisis.
Mulally’s initial assessment of Ford’s failed management was that it was the system—and not the people—that was the problem.
His solution was to use the peer accountability system that worked so well for him when he was at Boeing. At the heart of this system was a weekly leadership meeting he called the “business plan review” (BPR). Alan Mulally: Every week we have a Business Plan Review meeting, or BPR. Our entire global leadership team, every business leader, every functional leader, attends either remotely or in person.
Our entire global leadership team, every business leader, every functional leader, attends either .
7 Practices of Alan Mulally that Helped Ford Pass Competitors print | email A s seen on The remarkable turnaround of Ford led by Alan Mulally — without U.S. government financial aid — provides an outstanding example of how to gain competitive advantage through organizational culture.