In all of recorded employment history, it has never been a good thing when the boss “requests” that employees talk up the company, especially when non-employees know that those workers are operating under orders. Nevertheless, that is exactly the road Ford appears to have taken as part of the “Way Forward,” asking each employee to become a “walking advertisement” for the blue oval.
Ford’s Executive Director of Automotive Communications, Ray Day, petitioned employees in a webcast earlier this week, and that was followed by an e-mail to managers from Mark Fields, president of Ford’s Americas group. The mission, should they choose to accept it, is to say good things about the company to absolutely everyone. Fields wrote, “An improving reputation leads to higher purchase consideration among our customers and, ultimately, more vehicle sales. . . . We need to take this role very seriously as we speak with our co-workers, our neighbors and everyone with whom we associate.” He even went so far as to urge employees to speak with “a more confident tone of voice.”
While we can understand the intent, we haven’t yet heard of employees who enjoy being told to be cheerful. Such a step would also seem unnecessary: Ford’s vehicles and future look more promising than they did just a few months ago. And let’s face it, considering the situation he parachuted into, we are still in the infancy of Mulally’s turnaround plan. But surely Mulally was hired (and paid like Croesus) to shepherd the development of models that speak for themselves, not to lead a team of employees that have to be commanded to speak in spite of them.
[Source: Detroit News]