Alan Mulally was the CEO of Ford (NYSE: F) from September 2006 to June 2014.
During his tenure, Mulally led a highly successful alignment initiative called ONE FORD.
Perhaps more than any other exemplar we studied, the ONE FORD plan embodied the Drive One Direction mindset. That is why it is our first One.
Besides, what better way to start the exemplars than with a car company that is driving in One Direction!
Mulally’s turnaround of Ford is now legendary. Business “Hall of Fame” legendary.
The ONE FORD plan had several components that were so simple that Mulally had them printed on the back of business cards he would hand out. Here’s what they said:
ONE TEAM: People working together as a lean, global enterprise for automotive leadership, as measured by: Customer, Employee, Dealer, Investor, Supplier, Union/Council, and Community Satisfaction.
ONE PLAN: Aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix; Accelerate development of new products our customers want and value; Finance our plan and improve our balance sheet; Work together effectively as one team.
ONE GOAL: An exciting viable Ford delivering profitable growth for all.
In addition, Mulally created sixteen “expected behaviors” that formed the basis of the cultural transformation. (This list is available in my book, Drive One Direction.)
Mulally also instituted a new management process known as the Business Plan Review. Every Thursday, Ford’s entire global leadership team was required to attend. This provided a very practical and hands-on way for Mulally to add management discipline to the ONE FORD plan.
“The expected behaviors and the Business Plan Review created the culture and management system to align everyone around a compelling vision, a comprehensive strategy, and a relentless implementation plan” said Mulally. “Everyone knew the plan, the status against that plan, and all the areas that needed special attention. Everyone was working together to change the reds to yellows to greens.”
In 2014, FORTUNE magazine named Mulally the third best leader in the world, following Pope Francis and German Chancellor Angela Merkel.
The ONE FORD plan produced amazing results. During Mulally’s tenure, Ford rebounded from a $12.7 billion loss in 2006 to a $6.3 billion pre-tax profit in 2014. The stock price roughly doubled during his 8 years as CEO and rose an astonishing 1,640 percent from the low during the financial crisis.
Does your executive team work as One Team?