wisdom to win

 Wisdom to Win
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Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1922)Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1922)


American founder of the Ford Motor Company in 1903 (pictured right), who made his famous Model T  in 1908-27.

Time magazine’s businessman of the twentieth century and creator of the first moving mass production assembly line (pictured right below).

He died in 1947Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1922)


See also...

Henry Ford in the Business Leaders section.



Book summary


Henry Ford's tips for business success


1. Customer serviceHenry Ford, My Life and Work (1922)

The aim of business is to serve customers through quality products that are:

  • useful.
  • well designed.
  • convenient to use.

This customer driven purpose will:

  • inspire employees to achieve it because they believe in it.
  • maximize profits (profit is the result of customer service).


2. Innovation

Constantly experiment with new ideas to see if they can be developed into great products.

For example, Henry Ford used Vanadium steel, because it was lighter and stronger.


3. Vision and leadershipHenry Ford, My Life and Work (1922)

Henry Ford was driven by his vision of producing a low priced quality car for the “great multitude”.


4. Motivating employees

Employees must:

  • co-operate with management.
  • be rewarded for hard work with good wages and a profit sharing bonus.

Henry Ford strongly opposed unions, until a strike in 1941 forced him to accept them.Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1922)

His employees were:

  • strictly supervised.
  • driven hard.
  • expected to do what they were told.

Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1922) 

5. Continuous learning

Learn from:

  • failure (because it is the stepping stone to success).
  • thinking (which “is the hardest work any one can do”).
  • the past (successes and failures).

 Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1922)

6. Low cost production

Production costs (and so prices) must be minimized through:

  • assembly line production (with highly specialized jobs done in sequence)
  • continuously striving for improvement.
  • simplification of parts.


7. Effective decision making

The best decisions must be made, irrespective of people’s personal likes and dislikes.

Henry Ford, My Life and Work (1922) 

8. Sell what you do best

Beat competitors with your competencies.

“Whoever does a thing best ought to be the one to do it”, says Ford


Key quotes on customers and production

Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.


Key quote on the service profit chain

Profit...must be the result of service.


Key quote on business success

There is no disgrace in honest failure; there is disgrace in fearing to fail.


Key quote on interviewing and selection

Whoever does a thing best ought to be the one to do it.



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