I read an interesting Q&A with Alan Mulally, president and CEO of Ford. What I liked was the way he talks about the role of a leader. Here are some excerpts from Mulally’s responses:
The more senior your management position is, the more important it is to connect the organization or the project to the outside world… I think the most important thing is coming to a shared view about what we’re trying to accomplish… What are we? What is our real purpose?… and then everybody gets a chance to participate and feel that accomplishment of participating and contributing.
Mulally lists four things that he really focusses on:
- Connecting to the outside world — where is the world, technology, customers and competition going?
- What business Ford is in; what are they going to focus on?
- Balancing the near-term and the long-term; will the plans work in the near term and also create value for the long term?
- The values and standards of the organization; what are the expected behaviors?
My take: Mulally provides great insight into leadership; which is quite different from management. Getting a large organization to work together in a way that drives value isn’t the same as pushing for high quality output from your direct reports. Leaders need to instill a clear sense of purpose throughout the entire organization.
The bottom line: Mulally has shared some valuable leadership lessons.