Ford Motor Company’s miraculous turnaround over the last decade is nothing short of an impressive feat, and a tangible fact. The automaker went from a dysfunctional firm that built lackluster vehicles with a disparate regional product strategy that only profited form building trucks and SUVs to making segment-leading vehicles that are offered globally, and are profitable across the board. Spearheading the change from Old Ford to New is chief executive officer Alan Mulally.
Upon being appointed to his new position, the ex-Boeing executive realized that the corporate culture at Ford needed to change drastically. So the Kansas native overhauled a culture that was at one time described as “toxic” and “full of intrigues”, to one based on collaboration, responsibility, and disclosure.
One of the tools Mulally used to enact lasting the cultural change is the launch of a weekly meeting. Taking place every Thursday, the business plan reviews, or BPRs, became the time and place for executives to review all aspects of Ford’s business, with execs being encouraged to air problems openly. These meetings, and the action plans stemming from them, are often cited as the main reason for Ford’s culture change, and the automaker’s subsequent global successes. Another reason is Mulally’s “One Ford” program, which aligned, synchronized, and connected the automaker’s once-disparate business units to achieve economics of scale, boost profit, and sell best-in-class vehicles.
Following the initiation of Mulally’s Thursday meeting came another. Having been promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2012, Mark Fields instituted a weekly meeting each Wednesday morning. At 6:30 am. The “special attention reviews”, as they are called today, are meant to allow executives to discuss Ford’s over 60 global vehicle programs, and closely examine the ones in most trouble.
Some believe that the culture established by Mulally at Ford has taken root, and will remain long after his time with the automaker comes to an end, whether that’s the result of a move to Microsoft or not. Do you agree? Talk to us in the comments.