Friday, September 12, 2008

Henry Ford's Success

Many successful people know the story of Henry Ford, the 4th grade drop-out who built one of the biggest business empires in the world. When asked how he did it without a good education, he simply said, "I don't need to know anything except how to surround myself with people who do."

In other words, he was too busy focusing on being a leader to waste his time with menial tasks. Those tasks were delegated to others. Henry did not need to understand accounting, but his accountants did. He did not need to know how to weld, but his welders did. Henry knew that leadership was its own job, and if he weighted himself down with menial tasks, he would get nowhere.

Now the Obama campaign has put out an ad that belittles McCain's inability to learn how to use a computer, or to send email. This ad is most unwise, and shows Obama's lack of understanding of the role of leadership. McCain has been busy in his role as a leader. Using computers and sending email are tasks delegated to staff and assistants, so the leader can put his time into leading.

I'm not saying McCain is another Henry Ford. But I am saying that he understands the role of a leader while Obama apparently does not.

Obama needs to pull that dumb ad. But he won't, because he just doesn't understand. And therein lies the problem with the Democratic nominee.

You want success. Great! Follow the lead of Henry Ford and John McCain - don't waste your time on any task not directly required in the role of being a leader. Delegate everything that does not require your absolute control.

Yogi Berra said it well: "If you are an orange, don't try to be a banana. Just be the best orange you can be."

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