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Friday, January 14, 2011

Lean Quote: Build a Reputation with Action

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"You can't build a reputation on what you are going to do." — Henry Ford

As the new year starts many of us are coming up with our goals and plans for the coming year.  I don't like resolutions since that contradicts the process of PDCA (plan-do-check-act).  And as many of us already know resolutions have the sterotype of not being followed through on.  In this quote Henry Ford reminds us that action is what is really important.  So in an attempt to look at leadership, action, and doing something new I thought I would share 3 leadership lessons from Henry Ford.

1. Value your workers

Henry Ford valued his workers a lot and he showed that by giving an extremely high pay for all his works in the assembly lines. As a result, he drew talent from all over the region to work in Ford Motor Company.

Whatever you do as a leader, if you can show that you value each and every person on your team, you will attract talent from all over the place. More than just their salaries, people want to work in an environment where they feel that they are valued and an essential part of the organization.

Strive to give your team this sense of value, whether by means of salary or by recognition. You can be sure that in the long run, you’ll be drawing strong people into your organization.

2. Self-Belief is essential

Henry Ford had tremendous self-belief and he constantly preached on it. He would hire workers that didn’t understand the meaning of impossible and would keep pushing the limits of their imagination.

Your self-belief as a leader is infectious as well. What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about your ability? What is possible and what is impossible? Your willingness to try the impossible will inspire your team push the limits as well.

3. We are created for work

Henry Ford understood the importance of work. He saw that work was an essential part of human development.  Our fulfilment as people will come as a result of us using that potential in us to work. To him, it was not about when he could retire. In fact, retirement was never in the question for him.

You have to see that work is a part of life, and a large part of life in fact. The moment you decide to stop working, your mind begins to deteriorate and your body begins to grow weaker. No matter how old are you or how young are you, remember that work is always a part of life and work hones and molds us as people.

This year I am going to look at every challenging situation with these in mind.  I will value those I work with, believe in myself, and value the work I do.  This sounds like a recipe for continued learning to me.  I hope you will consider these lessons on leadership for yourself and continue learning.

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