Henry Ford was an industrialist whose achievements transformed the transport industry in America. He was born on July 30, 1863 in Michigan, and died at the age of 83 on April 7, 1947. Ford is remembered for creating new methods of manufacturing and personnel management that had never existed before. He pegged the significance of innovation for both people and performance sucsess and this can be summarized in his famous quote: “Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success”. His leadership values are presented in this discussion to show how he established a strong automobile manufacturing brand.
One greatest lesson an entrepreneur can learn from Henry Ford is about innovation. Ford saw the need to capitalize on the opportunities he saw around him and most of his innovations were not in cars alone, but in the processes and affordability to all markets. This led him to come up with the assembly line and he realized that he had the ability to transform the transport industry and improve the lives of people who directly or indirectly relied on his business for survival. A new way of manufacturing was required to keep actualizing his dream of making cheap vehicles. This was an effective way of keeping prices down and increasing efficiency in various operations. His innovation skills enabled him to study his client’s needs to ensure he produces goods that satisfy the needs of clients. He employed a sales manager who helped advertise the new model after attaining his dream ‘Ford Model T’.
His motto of helping others enabled him to realize that the strategy of offering better salaries resulted in happier personnel and boosted the confidence of employees, which improved their productivity. He created opportunities for people to help themselves and this included the five-dollar workday, where he doubled his workers’ everage pay. This brought his hardworking workers closer to him and the company and they were able to buy the cars they manufactured. Ford saw this as a way of sharing the company’s profits with his workers and the local community. He introduced the 40-hour week schedule and was the first employer to give his employees weekend-offs to rest. In addition, Henry Ford was the first investor to formulate policies that created equal opportunities for all groups (handicapped, ex-convicts, black Americans and women) in the society.
Ford knew that he had to bring down the costs of production and maintain efficiency to keep his vision of making the automobile affordable for the middle class. This innovativeness led to the creation of the assembly line and the production of the ‘Ford Model T’. He understood that employees performed better when their salaries reflected their responsibilities; therefore, he knew how to boost their performance. He focused on the principle that employees needed to feel valued and appreciated to ensure they are enthusiastic and continiously improve their performance.
His philosophy of manufacturing affordable cars helped him to increase the salaries of his workers, which in turn provided money for their domestic use and also buy some of the cheap automobiles that his company manufactured. Therefore, the company and its employees benefited by generating profits and having access to affordable cars respectively. He discovered and utilized the potentials of his employees by taking care of their welfare.
Henry Ford’s values may influence current managerial styles in innovation, staff management and performance. Modern successful entrepreneurs have either innovated or improved his policies to succeed in their businesses. His famous quote, “Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young”, propelled him to have a professional leadership style that transformed his company.