Re: Ford

Art Kleiner (
Thu, 10 Nov 1994 04:43:45 -0800

>Isn't it nice that Hammer and Champy and Senge can come along and
credit for all the work that went on before them? Perhaps I don't
fully understand how this is possible. Maybe I'm too well informed
to be "snowed" by the latest management fad (reengineering or L-O).

Please enlighten me, particularly concerning how these latest fads
have saved Ford.

  You've left out a few, like Interaction Associates and 
employee involvement.... 
   I don't know Ford very well, but I have talked to aa number of 
people there who (I think) would bristle at the idea that anything 
has "saved the company" (or that the company has been "saved".)
   So part of what you're reacting to is the structure of the 
consulting industry, where whenever a consultant uses an example, 
it's perceived as claiming that the whole company depends on that 
consultant..... \
   Ford seems to be particularly prone to this, perhaps because of 
traditions dating back to World War II, when Henry Ford II really 
DID "save the company" (in a power struggle he won with Harry 
Bennett). But we hear this about many companies, and I always 
regard it as hyperbole. 
   Just for the record, here's the claim we made about Ford
and learning organizations in the Fifth Discipline Fieldbook: 
   "The American auto industry has come a long way since the 
late 1970s. This cameo shows how far there stillis to go, and
what the terrain ahead looks like from the point of view of a 
particularly farsighted automobile development team." 
   If you read "saving the company" into that, then I didn't do 
my job as editorial director correctly.