What Made Henry Ford Successful?
It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste, said Ford. I do not believe a man can ever leave his business. He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night.
Indeed, Fords devotion to his business was what propelled him to new heights and made him one of the top three richest men in the world. In what seems like a life that had always been on the path to success, Fords creations did not gain recognition until he was in his 40s. How did he do it?
Willpower: We must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward, said Ford. By concentrating on a product that had yet to be invented, let alone accepted, Ford was venturing into the unknown. Guaranteed to have his ideas laughed at and dismissed, Ford nonetheless decided to carry on. He kept the faith in his creations and devoted tireless hours to realizing them in spite of the critics.
Preparation: Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success, said Ford. When investors were knocking at his doors and the competition was breathing down his back, Ford continued to take the time to perfect his Model T. 12 years later, he finally felt that it was ready for release, and indeed, the car would go on to make sales record history. Ford took the time to prepare before rushing into business, prioritizing quality above all else. It was this level of preparation and regard for quality that gave Ford one of the most respected reputations in the industry.
Efficiency: Paying attention to simple little things that most men neglect makes a few men rich, said Ford. By focusing on producing cars in the most economically efficient way possible, Ford was not only successful in creating a low-cost car that the masses could afford, but he also revolutionized the entire manufacturing industry by introducing the moving assembly line. Whether it was his early days on the farm or his time at the top of the auto industry, Ford never stopped looking for ways to improve efficiency.
Teamwork: In concocting his vision of the perfect team, Ford decided to make all his employees equal by removing titles on his workshop floors. Instead, he both encouraged workers to be responsible and accountable and supported innovation at the individual level. Ford ignored the controversy, hiring workers regardless of their pasts and refusing to hire so-called experts, whom he believed would actually slow the innovation process down. I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible, he said. Ford also created a new high-wage model of pay, which he believed would not only create a loyal workforce but would contribute to the nations prosperity.
Value: For Ford, money was the pleasant by-product of a life dedicated to service. His goal was to bring a high quality, affordable car to the masses in order to improve their standards of living and he believed that only by doing so would he achieve success. He believed that no business was worthwhile nor would it achieve prosperity if it were not devoted to a useful service, one that would contribute to the wealth of society in general.
Ford was an ordinary man who found an extraordinary way of doing business. He learned from his mistakes, rose above his obstacles and ignored the critics to follow his dreams and become one of the most successful businessmen of the 20th century. And, he never stopped dreaming. When asked in his later years to reflect on his companys success, Ford said, The progress has been wonderful enough but when we compare what we have done with what there is to do, then our past accomplishments are as nothing.