Issue #33 What you can learn from Ford’s obsession

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    What You Can Learn From Ford's Obsession
    Any color?
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    How to start, grow and manage a business that lets you break free from the grind.

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    Issue #33 What you can learn from Ford’s obsession
    November 2, 2021
    Ford had a problem, which I will get to in a minute, but first:

    • Our Build A Business Machine challenge is coming up on November 9, register here. Three days, three critical components of the business machine, an opportunity for you to transform your company. It is free this time (we’d appreciate some feedback), and space is limited so sign up now while you can.

    • I spent an evening with Marshal Goldsmith, and this is what I learned; it isn’t what he was teaching, but it is a valuable lesson.

    Now, on with the show:

    I have been busy building the content for the challenge coming up on November 9th. If you haven’t registered yet, be sure to do so: this will be fun, even if you are already on the path to building your machine.

    In the process, I discovered a problem Ford had. It just happens to be a problem we see today…

    Before Ford, a car factory was a big workshop where people would build cars. Car builders would get to know the whims of their customers, their deep-seated, hidden sales pain, and create vehicles that would make customers happy.

    Sound familiar?

    Ford wanted efficient, repeatable operations, not a litany of new features and customizations that would drive up the cost and create work.

    In his words:

    “Salesmen always want to cater to whims instead of acquiring sufficient knowledge of their product to be able to explain to the customer with the whim that will satisfy every requirement…” – Ford 1909

    So what did he do? He put his foot down. He created the policy that enabled the Ford Motor Company to double wages while reducing the number of hours in a shift.

    This fantastic, groundbreaking policy?

    “Any customer can have a car painted any colour that he wants so long as it is black.”
    Ford 1909

    He knew his customer. He knew that while a few people may insist on hot pink and others lime green, his customers wo
    uld be thrilled with black.

    As long as it was a car.

    He defined his avatar, created a product, and designed a system to deliver it repeatedly.

    Sound familiar?

    And yeah, once he got good at black, he added new colors, new styles, and these days Ford has evolved beyond the Model T, but they still don’t make custom cars.

    Your business should be a machine. It should produce repeatable results. That is the key to higher wages and fewer hours. Join the challenge on November 9, 10, and 11.


    It’s so difficult, right?

    I had a conversation with someone yesterday in the back of an SUV in Vegas. We were talking about transforming companies, and he responded that it sounds like a lot, that transformation sounded like work.

    And, yeah, it is, sort of, but not really.

    Building a business is work. But if you are caught in the spin cycle, you are already doing the work; you just aren’t making progress.

    So what does it take to make progress?

    It is a change of perception. It is doing different work. It is accepting that the hustle and the grind are not just not the only way; it isn’t the best way. Machine building isn’t more work; it is different work.

    It is a change of perception.

    Now, I am going to have to travel to Virginia to help him transform his business.

    From Around the Web

    Um, useful? Either a pretty cool innovation and an example of how technology and business model design can create new and exciting opportunities for business and human connection or a complete waste of human effort. It’s Jolly, the Secret Santa app.

    Wouldn’t you rather sleep on a bus? Apparently, the answer to that question is “yes” more often than you would imagine; in fact, it is a business. In Hong Kong, a new tour bus offers a 5-hour ride for passengers who want to nap. Tickets are $13-$51 and include an eye mask and earplugs. And you thought you’d heard it all when Singapore Airlines canceled their flights to nowhere and turned an A-380 into a restaurant.
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