American Icon Book Summary

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American Icon by Bryce Hoffman
Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company

My Thoughts

Part biography and part business story with insights into leadership and management practices. The insights are especially applicable if inheriting a position at a dysfunctional company and are trying to improve and change company culture. I enjoyed this book and recommend reading if you enjoy business stories or learning more on leadership and management.

Excerpt from Publisher’s Summary

Mulally and his team pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in business history. As the rest of Detroit collapsed, Ford went from the brink of bankruptcy to being the most profitable automaker in the world. American Icon is the compelling, behind-the-scenes account of that epic turnaround.

General Notes

  • Biggest driver of the turnaround at Ford was the weekly Business Plan Review meeting held every Thursday, known as BPR. Alan held separate follow-up meetings after to review critical issues with necessary parties.
  • Alan designed a “Matrix Organizational Structure” that he used at Boeing and adapted for Ford.

Alan Mulally’s 10 Rules of the BPR Meeting

  1. People First
  2. Everyone is Included
  3. Compelling Vision
  4. Clear Performance Goals
  5. One Plan
  6. Facts and Data
  7. Propose a Plan; Find a Way Attitude
  8. Respect, Listen, Help and Appreciate each other
  9. Emotional Resilience; Trust the Process
  10. Have fun! Enjoy the journey and each other

Alan’s Personal Goals for Ford as CEO

  1. Alan Legacy
  2. Clear compelling vision going forward
  3. Survive the perfect storm: commodities, oil, credit, CO2, safety, UAW (United Auto Workers Union)
  4. Develop a profitable growth plan
  5. Global products and product strategy
  6. A skilled and motivated team
  7. Reliable ongoing BRP process
  8. A leader and leadership team with “One Ford” vision implementation tenacity

Four Simple Points of Alan’s Business Plan as shared with the directors

  1. Aggressively restructure to operate profitably at the current demand and changing model mix
  2. Accelerate the development of new products our customers want and value
  3. Finance our plan and improve our balance sheet
  4. Work together effectively as one team

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This is the 1st book read in my 2018 reading list.
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