Came across two longish articles on executives at big companies in my newspaper reading today: the first is a New York Times profile of James Farley, who left Toyota to take a job at one of the world's biggest turnaround challenges - Ford Motor Company. The other is a Wall Street Journal profile of Richard Anderson, CEO of Delta Airlines.
I love that Farley seems to be pursuing work he's genuinely passionate about, that he's not afraid to challenge conventional wisdom, and that he seems to be a great listener - whether with colleagues or dealers or customers. I found this anecdote really compelling:
At his first town hall-style meeting with his extended Ford staff, Mr. Farley opened the session with a gesture that people still remember.
“I’d like you to turn to the person next to you, I don’t care if it’s on the right or left, and pat them on the back,” he said. Then he laid out his agenda in the simplest terms possible.
“I hope you are ready to save this company,” he said, “because that’s what I’m going to be doing every minute of every day.” Ford, he said, “was at the precipice,” and had no margin for error.
I don't think I'd much like to work for someone like Anderson.