The Specific Lessons I Learned from Mulally, Former President and CEO of Ford

A few minutes into our meeting, Alan opens up a binder he had prepared for our meeting.  As he’s doing that I’m thinking “Alan Mulally showed up to our meeting with a binder prepared on me??” 
Always Be prepared -  a Lesson you already know.

He starts flipping through his binder and points out where we’ve crossed paths and highlights beliefs we share.  I’m gaining confidence by the Nano-second.

Show you did your homework - Another lesson you already know.

We then dive into the questions I sent in advance of the meeting.  Alan starts telling short and refreshingly simple stories from his life and his experience transforming Ford.
Storytelling and great communication!  Yet another lesson.

Within the hour, the sheet of paper I mentioned in Part I comes to life.  He was very complimentary with his feedback of our interactions and I’m more inspired than ever to stick to my development plan to become the Leader I imagine.
Show people you believe in them!  Yup…another lesson.

So what was on the one pager he gave me? Like that cherished secret family recipe, Alan asked that I not distribute the information publicly. He told me I had passed “his interview” and he made notes and symbols that were specific to our conversation that he told me he only shares with those that pass.  His words not mine and a promise is a promise right?    

What I can share is this – if you saw it you’d agree that it’s nothing you don’t already know intuitively.  The Leadership themes were around the following:

  • Who we become is more important that what we do
  • Together is always better
  • Share everything and listen to everyone
  • Be resilient and don’t ever give up
  • Have fun, enjoy the ride and trust in the process 

In summary, the question that Alan asked that I’m certain he asks of all Leaders who want to emulate his Leadership; Do you have the courage to focus on these trust building principles consistently and with rigor?   

After our meeting, he graciously answered questions from gritty PG Climbers.

Afterward I asked many of them what they heard Alan say:

  • “Love and encourage your people.”
  • “Be humble, honest, persistent, and unwavering in what you believe and stand for.”
  • “You have to have conviction!”
  • “Never compromise the standards.” 
  • “Stick to the plan no matter how tough it gets.”

Apparently the PG Climbers heard the same things I did from Alan. 

Thank you Alan for your inspiration and for positively impacting so many great people on your journey.  We’ll do our part to pay the lessons forward. 


Did you miss Part 1? Check it out here:

A Morning with an American Icon (Part 1 of 2)

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