How to ensure your business is agile and sustainable and how to select managers who can achieve this.
In 1903 the Ford motorcar company was founded. By the early 1920’s, the company was producing sixty percent of all the motor vehicles in the United States and over half the motorcars in the World. However, by 1945 the Ford Motor company was close to bankruptcy.
By the end of the twenty’s, consumers were looking for more choice, “a car for every purse and purpose,” and although the trends were evident, Henry Ford refused to adapt and change.
Why did he not adapt and change?
Self-delusion and denial are “unconscious defense mechanisms against external realities that threaten the ego”, (1).
Have you noticed a manager becoming defensive or blaming consults for a strategy not progressing as well as it should? This is an example of unconscious defense mechanisms in action. Potentially, the consultant suggests new ways of thinking or undertaking work, which is challenging to the manager.
The manager then defaults to blaming the consultant or a new way of undertaking work. All this occurs unconsciously and in an attempt to protect the manager’s ego.
Why is this problem?
Unconscious defense mechanisms and blame inhibit a business from evolving and becoming sustainable. “Denial operates in all institutions and in all individuals.” (2). The key sentence is, “although the trends were obvious, Henry Ford refused to adapt and change.”
How to select managers who will ensure your business is agile and sustainable?
An excellent managerial candidate who will assist you obtain an agile sustainable business is “open-minded,” they will have a track record of embracing new ideas from external stakeholders. These ideas will have challenged their thinking, and the candidate should be able to explain how their thinking was challenged. Additionally, suitable candidates will be able to give you examples of how even though their thinking had been challenged, they collaborated and learned some personal development lessons.
How did Henry Ford embrace challenging ideas?
In 1926 Ernest Kanzler, a Ford executive, and family relative, decided to present a compelling case for the company to start to redesign cars “for every purse and purpose.” Kanzler respectfully presented his ideas and was then fired!
Ford was ignoring the obvious because he didn’t want to confront it. George Orwell called this “protective stupidity.”
For more insights on hiring managers who will assist your business be agile and sustainable, visit www.profitablepersonnel.com. For our free career development coaching course ring David on 0428 780 859.
(1) Tedlow, R (2010) Why Business Leaders Fail To Look Facts In The Face – And What To Do About It, Penguin Books, England, p30 (2) Tedlow, R (2010) Why Business Leaders Fail To Look Facts In The Face – And What To Do About It, Penguin Books, England, p205
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