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Google Ford

In: Business and Management

Submitted By nicoledun
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Google Ford
Nicole Edun
March 16, 2015
Professor B.D. Boardman

From Ex To Next Did you know that Google is the best place to work in California? (Cracking into Google, 2015) Boasting twelve week maternity and paternity leaves, onsite gyms and onsite medical facilities—Google is one of the most sought out after gigs receiving millions of job applications during their hiring seasons. (Cracking into Google, 2015) Now the newest Board of Directors at Google is Alan Mulally, ex-CEO of Ford Motor Company. The keyword there is “ex”. So how does an ex-CEO become a Director at one of the most coveted companies? Well, the reason why Mr. Mulally was able to move from one top organization to another is because of his exceptional work habits. Mulally was very instrumental at Ford Motor Company.
Teamwork Makes The Dream Work When former Boeing Exec, Mulally, began his short career at Ford, they were on the verge of bankruptcy. (Why Ford, 2015) Mulally started his renonvation by assessing his team and its operations. He quickly realized that one of the issues at hand was the lack of cohesiveness on his team. Many of his team members were not used to reporting their performance or even working together and, in turn, were very resistant to the changes to be made—some even deeming Mulally’s changes to come as a “waste of time”. (Ex-Ford, 2015) Mulally started hosting mandatory, 7am weekly meetings where managers had to report performance in color codes. Red was for plans that were behind schedule or had no schedule, yellow was for issues and concerns and green was for plans that were on or ahead of schedule. At Mulally’s first team meeting everyone had all green reports. (Ex-Ford, 2015) Mulally continually encouraged his team to talk about the things that are going wrong. He embraced humor during the meetings, mean jokes, the use of mobile devices and he behaved more as a friendly, fellow manager rather than a strict director. (Ex-Ford, 2015)
You Need Me, I Need You As stated earlier, when Mulally came onboard to Ford, they were in dire straits i.e. about a 50% drop in the cost per share during a time when most of their competitors were seeking government relief—financially. (Why Ford, 2015) Mulally’s method to his madness was simple, peer accountability. He established weekly meetings where managers showcased color-coded statistical reports reflecting the current status on their projects. Mulally verbally highlighted the negative aspects of these reports and dwelled on how to improve them; which encouraged other managers not to be afraid to seek help from their counterparts. (Ex-Ford, 2015)
After Mulally graced Ford with his presence, Ford has become a industry leader—paving the way and setting examples for other automotive corps by, for example, creating a high-tech radio that accepts verbal commands, syncs with your cell phone etc. Mulally was also able to get almost 50% increases in pay for Ford staff. (Ex-Ford, 2015)
Obviously, Mulally’s leadership style is task-oriented because he was so transformational and innovative at Ford. Although he wants his staff to feel comfortable and have a relationship with him, his focus was on completing tasks. In fact, he gained unpopularity at Ford initially because he was so focused on improving operations but he was unbothered by it.
At my current place of employment, we use color-coded charts to measure team progress as well. Meetings are held monthly instead weekly like Mulally did at Ford. One thing I would definitely change is the way the meetings are ran. Unlike Mulally’s fun-filled semi-formal meetings, managers are not allowed to take bathroom breaks, eat in the meetings, they can only take 30-minute lunch breaks and if they are late, they are ostracized. Most importantly, there is no light-heartedness during these 3-4 hour meetings. In fact, negative, sarcastic comments are frowned upon. I think I would apply these strategies at work by suggesting them to my managers who hold these meetings. I would use Mulally’s success story in my conversation and hope that they’ll be accepting of the possibility of increasing the quality of work and the accountability of our teams. Conclusion All in all, Alan Mulally is not mentioned lightly when it comes to his profound improvements he helped to accomplish—despite unpopularity. By pushing his team to their ultimate limits, he was able to bring out the best of them and there creative, innovative ideas that, in turn, catapulted Ford to the technological forefront of the automotive industry. He also stressed peer accountability and restructured the way the Ford staff operated so they would have to interact and rely on one another, unlike before. Not only did Mulally challenge Ford staff, he challenged their competitors and rewarded his staff by negotiating for higher paying salaries. Although, change is hard—it is inevitable when it comes to growing and expanding. Having an open-mind can make the transformation smoother.

Cracking Into Google: 15 Reasons Why More Than 2 Million People Apply Each Year. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from
Ex-Ford CEO Alan Mulally Joins Google’s Board Of Directors. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from
Why Ford's Alan Mulally Is An Innovation CEO For The Record Books. (n.d.). Retrieved March 17, 2015, from

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