I was feeling a bit nostalgic this morning while drinking my coffee, and ran across this old email.
I've been on the job -- officially anyway – for two weeks. In that time I've had a lot of interaction with people, but I realized there will never be enough hours in the days to see and talk to everyone. So I thought I would write to all of you with some initial thoughts and impressions.
Perhaps not surprisingly, I've spent a lot of time with our leadership team reviewing our plans, asking questions, and evaluating our prospects. Bill Ford was completely candid about the challenges we face, so I came into this with my eyes wide open. We have some very big decisions to make about what kind of business we need to become. And, as you well know, this is an extraordinarily gut-wrenching time at Ford Motor Company, particularly as we become smaller in some of our core areas, such as North America. Some very good and loyal people are going to leave this company between now and next summer, and that's going to be tough on everyone.
And yet, people are the reason I'm so excited about being here. I've met so many Ford Motor Company employees who want to work together to help this company find its footing again and grow. They are bursting with ideas, and they share them with me when they send me emails, stop me in the hallway or run into me in the cafeteria. They want me to know how great this company has been in the past, and how it turned around its fortunes just when the future seemed bleakest. Ford people know the talent that we have in our product development area, and the great resource we have in our dealer networks. And they know we can restake our claim as history's best example of a company that enriches the lives of all its stakeholders: investors, customers, dealers, suppliers, employees, our union partners and the countries and communities in which we live.
It wouldn't take anyone very long to realize that Ford people are winners by nature. The sense of pride in the value Ford has always created in more than a century is obvious and justified. And it is encouraging that there are so many areas of excellence we can point to within our company right now. But pockets of success aren't enough. Not today. Not in this competitive environment. We need success across our entire enterprise. To get there, we need to have a universally agreed to and understood business plan. It needs to be a single plan, and it needs to work for the entire company. Competitors may try to "divide and conquer" us; I'm determined we are not going to do that to ourselves. So we need to set such a plan in place and ensure that everyone knows how we're doing against it. We need to agree on the urgent issues, and we need to work together as never before to achieve our objectives.
I've started weekly Business Plan Reviews with the senior leadership team. Together we look at one set of data on one screen. We talk to each other with candor and respect. We are all determined to get to one plan for our company. We will all participate, and we will all support each other's efforts to succeed. I don't yet know everything I need to know about Ford, but I do know that this is the only way I can work.
There are lots of details to come, but I can tell you with certainty that our plan will be built around three priorities:
• PEOPLE: A skilled and motivated workforce.
• PRODUCTS: Detailed customer knowledge and focus.
• PRODUCTIVITY: A lean global enterprise.
With these as priorities we will build our business model with a clear view of our competitive environment and our own financial circumstances. And together we will answer the most fundamental questions. What are the critical elements needed for a compelling business plan? How accurate are our assumptions? How do we get losses behind us and once again create profitable growth for all?
I know that the people of Ford have been through some tough times in the past few years. I wasn't here to share that with you, but I am here now to help move us forward. For me it is at once the most humbling and exciting prospect of my professional life. But I can tell you from previous experience that as demoralizing as a slide down may be, the ride back up is infinitely more exhilarating. And there is no better feeling than knowing that your personal contribution is helping to move this great enterprise forward again.
Everyone loves a comeback story. Let's work together to write the best one ever.
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