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What Henry Ford Knew That Many CEOs Have Forgotten

Henry FordWe all know a lot about Henry Ford. But the two of us didn’t know much about Herbert Casson until recently. Now we have a growing fascination.

Casson began his career as a minister and ended it as an author. He was a Methodist turned socialist turned capitalist. He was one of the people featured in the book, 50 Key Figures in Management.

A capitalist with a better way to get rich

It was what he said about Henry Ford that caught our attention. Here are a few excerpts, written as a contemporary of Ford’s:

“Judging by results, Henry Ford is the most successful manufacturer in the world. He pays the highest wages. He makes the highest profits. He sells the cheapest goods.

Henry Ford is a complete answer to the silly Marxian theory that a capitalist can only make money by robbing his employees or the public.

Henry Ford robs nobody. He is not an exploiter of the proletariat.

He is a multi-millionaire, and every penny of his money is clean.

His enormous profits are only a part of what he saves the public; and he pays his workers far more than they could make if they were on their own.

Henry Ford is a capitalist, and he shows all capitalists a better way of getting rich.

Scoffing at Ford

After telling the story of Ford’s fascinating journey from farmer to entrepreneur, Casson continued:

“We may scoff at him if we like—if we are foolish enough; but it seems to me that he is the one who has the joke on the rest of us.

Henry Ford knows how. He has solved his business problems. He has shown us the one right way to handle men and produce goods and make profits without making enemies.

It would be better for all of us if we STUDIED Ford more and scoffed at him less. The more I find out about him the more I am impressed with his ability and his sense.

What the world needs is more Henry Fords; that is the truth, whether we like it or not.

If we had 1,000 Fords, we would have high wages, high profits, low prices and no labor troubles. We would have peace and prosperity.”

Ford and his employees

He goes on to discuss how Ford treated his employees:

Take, for instance, Ford’s methods as an EMPLOYER. In this respect he is most peculiar. He has followed a most unusual course, and he has made a great success of it.

The fact is, that Henry Ford seems to regard himself as a LABOR LEADER rather than an employer.

He gives his men MORE than they ask.

He gives them better working conditions than they had ever thought of.

He watches over them and protects them.

He has made his men the best-paid and most contented workers the world has ever seen.

He was one of the few leaders to hire convicts and people with disabilities. He treated all of his employees like people. Casson concludes:

“He has stopped the war between the workers and the management. He has established peace and goodwill.

He has shown every other employer what can be done.”

Entrepreneurial CEOs today can learn a lot from Ford. You can have it all. It just takes some ingenuity which begins with a mutual trust between you and your people. To paraphrase Ford, your people might become good customers, too…if you treat them well.

Source: Tips on Leadership or the Life Stories of Twenty Five Leaders

This book was written by Casson in 1929 and republished in 2003. We found it riveting so we highly recommend it to you.

Image in this post from sciencecontrol.com

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I Need a Day Off

puzzle CareerBuilder just released the results of their annual survey on absenteeism. They found that about one-third of all the people they surveyed had played hooky at least once in the last year.

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marylynnWhen I was a DJ working mornings, I had to be to work at 4 a.m. It’s hard to call your boss that early to tell him you won’t be in, even if you are sick!

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Here are the real reasons people played hooky, according to CareerBuilder:

#1 – they didn’t feel like it
#2 – to relax and recharge
#3 – to go to the doctor
#4 – to catch up on sleep
#5 – to run personal errands

Look at that list. Does that tell you how much pressure we feel in our day-to-day lives? Is the only way to remain psychologically healthy by playing hooky?

We also found it interesting that 10% of the time people play hooky is actually work-related. They don’t want to attend a meeting. They need some quality time to work on a past due project. They want to avoid a confrontation with a co-worker.

Companies today are trying to do more and more with less and less. That means you have fewer co-workers. Your day off may leave them in a bind. So try to plan for your time off. If you feel yourself feeling overwhelmed, talk with your boss. See if you could work a little extra for a few days to get a day off. Everyone will be much better off if you’re upfront.

As a boss, do everything you can to honor your employee’s request. If you know you can’t give him or her the requested day off, offer an alternative. Employees today prize flexibility. It’s one of the best things you can do to retain employees who give their best.

Excuses, excuses

CareerBuilder also compiled a list of some of the most unusual excuses employers heard in the last year. Here are three of our favorites:

“I hit a turkey while riding a bike.”
We wondered if this was really a way to save money on Thanksgiving dinner!

“I donated too much blood.”

We found it hard to believe that any blood bank would take too much blood. Maybe this person ran into a vampire!

“My wife burned all my clothes so I have nothing to wear to work.”
So, here’s a question – how is this person going to get out of the house to buy the clothes he needs? We hope he’s not our neighbor!

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georgeI remember one of my managers telling me about an employee who wasn’t at work. It’s my favorite excuse ever. This guy worked hourly and had already used up all of his personal days. He said he was so stressed out by his lack of money that he just couldn’t come into work! Guess what – he got more stressed out!

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What’s the worst excuse you ever heard?

 

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