The Ford Comeback Story!

Could you change the game, like Mulally did, and do a better job of aligning teams, cascading strategy and helping them pull together as one?

How do you engage everyone in your strategy, evolve a culture of honesty and transparency, and help teams pull together as one, towards one goal?

Alan Mulally was the CEO at Boeing during 9/11 – he joined Ford when the company was on the brink of declaring bankruptcy… and was on track to lose $17B that year. This was at the time when the ‘Big 3’ American motor manufacturers were facing the Global Financial Crisis of 2007-2008.

They all knew what needed to be done, but only one of them implemented a turnaround strategy. It was Ford, under Mulally’s leadership, who made the bold moves and ensured the ultimate comeback story.

This case study is a game changer for aligning teams, cascading strategy, and achieving epic transformation, despite incredible odds. Might your business need a few Mulally’s?

You can’t fix what you can’t see

Your strategy is set, your teams know what the objectives and priorities are, but how visible is their progress? Do you know what obstacles and struggles they’re facing? How are they solving their problems? Does your leadership team know the whole truth? 

Mulally set about crafting Ford’s turnaround strategy by creating clear priorities and a definition of what success looks like, and then backing that up with three key habits: 

1. Model openness and vulnerability 

Don’t act like you have all the answers. Openly discuss challenges and tough decisions. Invite discussions around issues and risks – and provide the help needed to overcome these and make progress. 

2. Implement weekly meetings 

One weekly meeting (Mulally called them “Business Plan Reviews”) for the leadership team to review priorities, discuss status and focus on what is standing in the way of success in a transparent manner. 

3. Treating ‘Ambers’ and ‘Reds’ as gifts 

Use the Red, Amber, Green (RAG) colour coding system to direct focus and attention to where support is needed (Mulally’s advice here is that people will only report amber and red status when they believe they will get help).

Ignite team and leadership conversations

How might I lead to align teams, cascade strategy, and achieve epic transformation despite incredible odds within my team? 

Team contribution: 

  • What orientates and guides your teams to perform to their highest point of contribution, as one team, with one plan, towards one goal? 

Success mindset: 

  • How might blind spot bias, group think, over confidence or complacency be affecting judgment and decision- making?  
  • What success mindset should your teams be building? 

Competitive forces: 

  • What competitive forces might your team be facing? 
  • How might your team prepare a competitive response?  

Strategy execution: 

  • How is your team setting a roadmap for the execution of your strategy?  
  • How are they tracking progress?  
  • How are they improving and cascading improvements? 

Format and Approach

Engage your teams in highly participative, inspiring, soulful and practical lessons. Delivered as a media-rich virtual experience – facilitator-led conversation on Zoom, supported with moderated conversations in breakout rooms (hosted by our team of Pod Coaches), to ignite teams to think differently about performance.


This case study is available in a 90-minute or 180-minute online (Zoom) format

How does it work?

  • Contact us to let us know that you want LRMG to share this case study with your team 
  • We will work with you to design or customise key conversation and reflection questions 
  • Participants will get a link to a pre-case study primer to complete prior to the presentation and conversation 
  • Your team will receive our Get into Gear! Toolkit as a take-away to ignite further learning and reflection after the case study 
“Leadership is having a compelling vision, a comprehensive plan, relentless implementation, and talented people working together.” – Alan Mulally

Are you interested in moving your people?

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource.

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource

Fill in the form below and we will give you access to this exciting resource


Career Dreams

Fast track career growth in the new world of work:

Certified learning paths that build relevant skills and competencies

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University-certified online and blended short learning courses

Rapidly improve your scorecard metrics:

B-BBEE (South Africa) and other scorecard solutions

Trusted certification:

Digitally enabled learning solutions supported by dedicated teams of Wits, Queen's University Belfast, UFS and GIBS academics and experience managers

Real-world scarce skills training for youth:

Find, recruit and custom train youth to your demand-led specs, getting them work-ready and employable


We find the talent, match personalities and abilities to your culture fit, and then train them to meet your digital skills needs

Comply with your B-BBEE, transformation and skills levy agenda:

Rapidly improve your scorecard metrics: create a talent pipeline for 4IR, ICT and Tech-future Skills

Work-ready graduates and interns:

We find the candidates (or you find them). We train them to use your technology and digital systems within the defined roles


Sales and Unlock Customer Value

Discover why your customers buy what they buy:

Learn to meet customers’ social, emotional and functional requirements

Activate and strengthen sales team engagement:

Digital sales activation challenges

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Sales leadership and culture solutions

Mobilise the right sales strategy:

Sales strategy validation and optimisation

Accelerate sales pipelines and spark growth:

Customer-centric sales strategy

Grow and sustain critical sales capabilities:

Digital learning content for Sales


People Productivity

Engage for sustainable high performance:

Human capital strategy, learning strategy and transformation

Future-fit your organisation for success:

Learning and talent assessments, talent management and people balance sheet planning

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Onboarding, talent development and learning mapped to your individual and company needs

Move the needle on learning experiences:

Smart learning and talent experience platforms, tools and digital learning assets

Upskill people with new digital smarts:

Digital learning content (customised or plug-and-play)


A Performance Culture

Talent management:

Make better future-fit data-driven decisions for your talent and organisation

Strategy and change:

Inspire your people to change and ignite their passion to deliver business results

Leadership and culture:

Enable your leadership teams to create their unique brand and to build new high-performance habits and behaviours

Digital transformation:

Enable people processes through digital technologies that transform performance

Talent assessments:

Better understand your people's strengths and your team’s productive habits to compete and win

Performance enablement:

Create a culture of feedback that actively measures performance


Leadership Perspectives

Establish a high-performance culture:

Interactive multimedia inspirational stories

Unlock new thinking and shift mindsets:

More than 13 intriguing true stories of high performance

Empower leaders and teams:

Expertly facilitated moderated conversations

Build new habits for high performance:

Smart toolboxes to activate habits for success