Mark Fields has completed his first year at the helm of the Ford Motors Corporation. And by all accounts it has been a successful one. Both Fields and the experts are speaking out on his secret.
Fields posted an overview of his ideas on LinkedIn the other day.
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He wrote, “If you stand back and consider all of the enabling technologies available in our business today, we are at an inflection point in our industry. Software and connectivity technologies are driving innovation in vehicles faster than ever. New, non-traditional partners and competitors now are interested in our business. And a new generation of customers is hungry to use technology to make their lives easier.”
Fields understands that what ran the American big three auto makers into the ground by the end of the 1970s and again less than 10 years ago was a failure of vision as well as an inability to innovate. The Asians and Europeans kept on coming up with the next big thing, including more economical, fuel efficient vehicles, while Detroit kept on churning our big gas guzzlers while following an out of date business model.
The head of Ford wrote, “We understand the winners will be the innovators and those willing to break with tradition to find new solutions. As a business, it means we have to challenge ourselves and not take anything for granted.”
“That can be difficult for a 112-year-old company. Yet we are pushing ourselves to think, to act and disrupt like a startup company. We even opened our first R&D facility in the heart of Silicon Valley to spearhead a lot of this new thinking.”
The analysts are looking for Ford to continue to succeed under Fields. David Whiston, an analyst with Morningstar, told Automotive News, “I’m expecting Ford to have a really nice second half of the year, and it’s up to Mark, not Alan, to deliver on that. So far, there haven’t been any problems, but the execution of everything going forward you have to put on Mark.”
Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, senior associate dean of the Yale University School of Management, told the publication that Fields’ success with Ford is based on the team which he has built. “He’s put together people from strategy, finance and technology with a great inside-outside perspective, ” said Sonnenfeld.
So lets see what Ford will do in 2016.