Learning to Practice, Character Counts, Saving the Auto Industry – Your Champions Brew

Are you ever curious about the narrative people will weave about your life or leadership journey once it’s concluded?

Happy Friday, Brew Nation!

Grab your favorite coffee cup, sit back, relax, and get ready to sip on some enriching and thought-provoking content that will equip you to thrive in all areas of your life:

  • Read More – Recently, I had the opportunity to read the book “American Icon: Alan Mulally and the Fight to Save Ford Motor Company,” published in 2012. Despite its earlier release, the timing of my reading felt intriguing, considering the current work stoppages in the automotive industry. I couldn’t help but find it somewhat ironic that the very discussions taking place today are directly related to the changes Mulally tirelessly negotiated back in 2006 and 2007 to save Ford and the automobile industry in the US. Here are ten (10) key observations from the book that highlight Mulally’s remarkable journey and the lessons we can learn from his leadership.
  1. Embracing Change: Mulally recognized that the pain of remaining the same was far greater than the pain of change itself. This mindset propelled him to initiate the transformation Ford desperately needed.
  2. The Power of Simplification: Mulally understood the importance of simplifying Ford’s brand lineup and product offerings to regain focus and clarity.
  3. Asking Good Questions: Some is not a number, and soon is not a time. By demanding simple how much by when answers and fostering transparency, Mulally encouraged a culture of honesty and accountability within the organization.
  4. Visual Management: Data from every business unit was distilled into clear tables, charts, and graphs, enabling a comprehensive visualization of the company’s performance and challenges.  Mulally also introduced color-coded charts and graphs to quickly (From five feet in five seconds is a ‘rule’ that I often use for visuals) assess the status of projects, emphasizing the importance of visible accountability and progress tracking.
  5. Meeting Ground Rules: Mulally established ten simple rules for meetings, including the mandate to have fun and prohibiting distractions like Blackberrys (haha, funny word… Blackberrys  I had one!), ensuring a productive and engaging environment.
  6. Holding People Accountable: Each business leader was expected to present their progress, promoting a deep understanding and ownership of their respective areas.
  7. Mulally-isms: Mulally had his own set of leadership codes, such as the “three ‘okays’” and “three ‘reallys’,” which served as a sort of code for feedback.  For example, His first ‘okay’ could be translated as “Thanks, I’ve heard enough.  Let’s move on.” The second ‘okay’ meant “You’re starting to get on my nerves.” And the third ‘okay’ could be roughly translated as “If you don’t shut up right this second, you’re fired.”  What -ism’s do you have?
  8. Define Expected BehaviorsFoster Functional & Technical Excellence, Own working together, Role model Ford values, Deliver results.  Mulally had these behaviors printed on the back of name badges so that everyone understood the expectations.
  9. Adherence to Principles: Mulally emphasized the significance of three core principles: People, Product, and Productivity. These principles guided Ford’s focus on a skilled workforce, customer-centric vehicles, and lean operations.
  10. Relentless Implementation: Once Mulally formulated his four-point plan, he unwaveringly believed in its success and ensured its relentless implementation, emphasizing the importance of having a clear vision about the future, a really good plan to deliver that future,  and a relentless implementation strategy.

As I reflected on his phenomenal journey, I truly appreciate the leadership lessons Mulally left behind and strive to apply many of them in my own approach to coaching and consulting.

Are you aware that The Champions Brew explores various topics that I frequently coach and consult on with other leaders and organizations? If you or someone you know is seeking to elevate their business or personal life from underperforming to uncommon, I would love to connect with you and discuss 1:1 or group coaching, as well as performance consulting. In fact, click the following link to schedule a FREE CALL to explore how coaching could benefit you and your team. Let’s work together to unleash your full potential and achieve your goals!

  • Learning to Practice – Personal growth thrives when we actively apply what we learn and share our insights with others. I appreciate your commitment to investing in your learning by reading the Champions Brew. In my recent devotional, I was reminded of the challenge for leaders to not just think and learn about growth but to practice it. Philippians 4:9 emphasizes the importance of putting knowledge into action: “Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me – put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.” So, how do we transition from learning to practicing? Here are a few insights I’ve gathered:
  1. See One – Do One – Teach One: Experience, practice, and share knowledge to empower yourself and others. Take snippets of wisdom and put them into action for personal growth and to inspire those facing similar challenges.  For me, that really is what the Champions Brew is all about.  I read it or listen to it, I try to incorporate it into my routine, and if it works, I share it.
  2. Bring others along with you: By involving others in our journey, we create a ripple effect of learning, multiplying the impact of our actions and fostering a culture of continuous improvement.
  3. Learning in Action: Embrace the verse Philippians 4:9, putting knowledge into practice to pursue personal, team and organization growth.
  4. Be a Do-er: Strive to be do-ers rather than mere hearers of knowledge. When was the last time you did something you learned for the first time?

Actively practice what you learn, inspiring personal growth and empowering others. Shift from passive study to purposeful practice, becoming champions who make a difference in your life and the lives of others.

Law # 9 – The Law of the Ladder

Character Growth Determines the Height of Your Personal Growth

Character counts. Reflecting on Law #9 from “The 16 Undeniable Laws of Communication,” I am reminded of a blog post I wrote over 15 years ago after witnessing an epic Wimbledon tennis final between Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal. In these battles, character is not only exposed but becomes a defining factor. Let’s delve into the significance of character growth and its impact on personal development.  As I reflect on the chapter and some of my own pitfalls in this area over my life, I have a few learnings to share about character:

  1. The Height of Personal Growth:  Character growth, portrayed as a ladder in this chapter, determines the height of our personal growth. Without nurturing our character, we cannot reach our full potential. Bill Thrall eloquently compares focusing solely on professional capacity while neglecting character development to climbing a long extension ladder without proper support. As we ascend, the ladder becomes increasingly unstable until we inevitably falter.
  2. Character is Internal: Our reputation is formed by what others perceive about us externally, but our character reflects who we truly are on the inside. While reputation may be influenced by external factors or perceptions, character remains within our control and is something we must take responsibility for managing and nurturing.
  3. Prioritize Character over Success: To truly grow and realize our potential, we must place greater emphasis on developing our character rather than solely pursuing success. Pastor Tony Evans aptly states that if we desire a better world, we must start by becoming better individuals. This cascades from personal growth to better families, neighborhoods, cities, states, countries, and ultimately a better world.
  4. Good Character Can Be Developed:  You don’t ‘get’ good character by reading a book on it.  Cultivating  character requires certain ‘attitudes’. By remaining humble, acknowledging our weaknesses, embracing a teachable spirit, serving others selflessly, and practicing gratitude, we are likely to develop and embody good character.

The Law of the Ladder highlights the significance of character growth in personal development. As we strive to reach our potential, we must pay careful attention to nurturing our character. It is through our character that we leave a lasting impact on the world. Let us commit to becoming better individuals, knowing that character counts and it is within our power to shape and grow it.

Embrace the Law of the Ladder and embark on a journey of character development that leads you to new heights of personal growth.

  • Quote of the week:   “We do not make changes for the sake of making them, but we never fail to make a change once it is demonstrated that the new way is better than the old way.” – Henry Ford

What You Need to Do:

Call to Action:  What if a book were written about your experiences, highlighting the top ten valuable insights? Just as “American Icon” may appropriately describe Alan Mulally, what title would best capture your unique story? If you haven’t considered it yet, now is the perfect moment to start writing that story by living out the essence of your book’s title each day. Remember, excellence only happens on purpose!

It’s an honor to be your trusted “Friday Coffee Guy”.  Each week, I’m excited to provide yet another round of curated content that I’ve been reading, listening to, watching, or thinking over. The purpose of the Champions Brew is to inspire, equip and encourage you to become the uncommon leader you were designed to be. I am so grateful for your decision to invest a few moments with me! I hope you enjoyed this week’s edition of Champions Brew. If you did, I would appreciate it if you would share it with someone who might enjoy it as well and ask them to subscribe! I will make sure they automatically get this email every week.

Until next time, Go and Grow Champions!

P.S. – Are you a podcast fan?  Maybe the Uncommon Leader podcast is for you.    Are you interested in being a guest on the Uncommon Leader Podcast?  Do you have a story to tell?  Email me [email protected] and let’s have a chat and set something up!!

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To become Champion leader, we have to be on a continuous improvement journey for ourselves and others.  We have to be able to take advantage of the precious seconds that we have each day.  
There are things that I come across each week that help me, inspire me, relax me, motivate me, and are sometimes are just funny that I want to share with you so that you can smile more, build faith, think positively, network well, exercise often, eat healthy, and grow daily.

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