Instead of studying leadership, why not spend some time studying leaders and strategies in the wild? You can learn a lot from leadership experts, but you always see the leader and what he or she does through the expert’s personal lens. Supplement that learning with studying real leaders in real life situations and draw your own conclusions. The posts in this series will help you.
Every week I’ll point you to articles by and about real leaders in real situations and to articles about how real companies are faring in the marketplace. Read them. Think about them. Draw your own lessons and conclusions from them. Then try to apply those lessons in your own real life.
This week I’m pointing you to articles about the recent CEO change at Ford.
“Ford Chief Executive Jim Hackett ran a major furniture company in the state for decades, but he wasn’t widely known before taking the reins at Michigan’s embattled athletic program in 2014. Turning around a college’s sports department isn’t a typical resume builder for an aspiring automotive chief, but it distinguished the 62-year-old executive in the race to replace Mark Fields.”
“The auto industry is in a state of change, and making lots of cars and trucks is not a guarantee of success in the future. Ford’s stock price suffered despite profits during the tenure of Hackett’s predecessor, Mark Fields. New technologies, the race to develop autonomous vehicles, interest in other types of mobility and competition from Silicon Valley and other areas will continue to challenge Ford and other automakers for the foreseeable future.”
From Jena McGregor: Why an office furniture CEO got the top job at one of America’s biggest automakers
“Ford’s new chief executive officer — a 62-year-old former office furniture executive now tasked with jump-starting the world’s oldest automaker amid frustrations over the stock price and growing threats from Silicon Valley rivals — is not exactly a household name. But in management and design circles, as well as in Silicon Valley, Jim Hackett has long been something of a star for his transformation of Steelcase and his ability to foresee big changes in the way people work.”
“Earlier this week, Ford Motor Co. replaced company veteran Mark Fields as CEO with Jim Hackett, a relative newcomer to the auto industry. Ford said it needed the change to speed up decision-making and reorient toward the future.”
From Keith Naughton, Jeffrey Green, and Jamie Butters: Ford’s New Outsider CEO Has Some Catching Up to Do
“He’s given the task of remaking the company for the digital age to Jim Hackett, a 62-year-old outsider who spent most of his career running a furniture business. Yet the former CEO of Steelcase Inc. has a reputation as a persuasive visionary who’s comfortable in the high-tech world—and who’s also willing to take a scalpel to a workforce. In his 20 years as Steelcase’s CEO, Hackett cut 12,000 jobs and shifted the company from simply making furniture to reenvisioning how people work. He’s widely credited with remaking the dreary office cubicle. Now, after three years on Ford’s board and a year running its tech-driven Smart Mobility unit, he’s responsible for leading the automaker through the same kind of cultural revolution.”
“Basically, the entire management organization of the nation’s second-largest automaker is being shaken up to give the company more focus and speed up decision-making. The announcement of the changes came Thursday, three days after Hackett was named the new CEO, replacing Mark Fields.”
“As Bill Ford and Jim Hackett wrapped up their press conference last week announcing Hackett as Ford’s new CEO, I wanted to ask: ‘OK, tell me again why you dismissed Mark Fields?’”