For the first episode of Take Command: A Dale Carnegie Podcast, we spoke with Alan Mulally: a man who has headed up some of the biggest corporations on the planet.
For the first episode of Take Command: A Dale Carnegie Podcast, we spoke with Alan Mulally: a man who has headed up some of the biggest corporations on the planet. From his time as an EVP at Boeing and CEO of Boeing Commercial Airplanes, and then as the president and CEO of Ford Motor Company where he is credited with saving the corporation, through today as a member of the board of directors at Alphabet, Mr. Mulally will discuss his decades of incredible leadership.
Joe Hart: 00:04 Welcome to the first ever episode of take command, a Dale Carnegie podcast, the show where we seek to uncover what leadership means in today's world. I'm Joe Hart, CEO of Dale Carnegie, and we'll be talking to diverse leaders with stories to tell across various industries to help unlock your potential for success. On this show, we'll share real life insights into leadership, which in turn can help spark the next level of your growth as a leader. For our first episode, we're thrilled to welcome someone who has been recognized by Fortune Magazine as the third greatest leader in the world and by Time Magazine as one of the world's most influential people. He's led some of the biggest corporations in the planet and is credited with saving both Boeing and Ford motor company from bankruptcy during the time he served as CEO of those companies. He's also developed a system for leading businesses called the working together management system and I'm delighted to welcome the one and only Alan Mulally. Alan, great to see you.
Alan Mulally: 01:07 Good to see you, Joe.
Joe Hart: 01:08 Yeah. Thank you so much for being with us and what a, what a pleasure. And a thrill. It is to be together with you. Again, I know that everyone is so excited. You've got such an incredible life and career and story and so many just wonderful insights to share. So this is going to be kind of a power pack podcast.
Alan Mulally: 01:26 I know. Well I'm really looking forward to it.
Joe Hart: 01:27 Great. So, Alan, before we get into talking about Boeing and Ford and working together and culture leadership, just tell us a little bit about you, your background, where you grew up, some of those things that would be important to understand about you.
Alan Mulally: 01:43 Sure. I think it's very interesting the way you phrase that question to Joe because I've come to really appreciate that who I am was very much shaped by how I grew up. And so it's kind of fun to start there. I grew up in the Midwest in Lawrence, Kansas and we were not poor, but we had very humble means, but we had a lot of love in our family. So I had a great mom and dad and, and I was really kind of brainwashed from an early age because my mom and dad every morning would share things with me. Like now remember Alan with the purpose of life is, and I would say yes, I remember to love and be loved and my mother would then add yes, but remember that order to love and be loved. And then the next day she'd say, well, you know, to serve is to really live honey. I said, Oh thanks mom. Got that, that's good. Then the next day she'd say things like, it's nice to be important honey, but it's more important to be nice. Then the next day she'd say, seek to understand before you seek to be understood. That's really good mom. And then a few days later she'd say things like, if you learn to work together with others, then you're going to make a tremendous difference for the greater good. So you can see that uI was very rich growing up with the two parents, that absolutely loved me and had great values and believed in people and believed in people serving and working together.
Joe Hart: 03:08 It sounds like your, your, your parents were great leaders, they were inspiring that greatness in you at a young age.
Alan Mulally: 03:14 Yes. My mom was a teacher and my dad was a, an accountant and they had a great marriage and, and I was very, very fortunate. They also introduced me to the leadership in the the church in Lawrence, Kansas. And we had a minister there named Dale Turner, who's turned out over the years to become very famous and well known. And so I'd always sit on the front row and listened to his homilies and that all kind of fit the same thing as my mom and dad told me. So I, I was just surrounded by this is the way, this is what life's about. And because we didn't have very many assets, I went to work at an early age with my TV guide routes and my newspaper routes. And I had a lawn mowing business and I worked at the Dillon's grocery store as a bagger and then a checker and then in college in construction and worked on the farm and also on the ranch. So I did all of these different jobs and I realized that if I did a really good job for the people I was doing it for that they really appreciated that. And so I was appreciating the value of serving and it also, they would always compensate me really well. So it was a very neat learning that if you really are serving and helping others, that things will all work out and plus the, that feeling of satisfaction of meaningful accomplishment. Matter of fact, I always remembering Joe just when I said that, that as a bagger, I used to in the winter I'd package all of the groceries up and walk out the car with the customer and they gave me a tip and then when I became a checker I thought, Oh no, I'm not going to get those tips anymore. So I had to really take my game of working together with people to another level. And I'm the only person that I know of in history that as a checker, people would tip me as they came through. They came through the grocery store.
Joe Hart: 05:11 You're kidding me. People are buying their groceries and giving you tips.
Alan Mulally: 05:16 So I was, one time I was on David Letterman and David was a bagger and when he was growing up at a grocery store, and he also sponsors a competition every year for baggers. Young people growing up their baggers. And I told him the story, he couldn't believe it. He said, I thought I was the best bagger in the world. And now I've been upstaged by somebody actually gets tips as a, as a checker. So I carried those principles and practices with me. I, I was compelled by president Kennedy when he said we're going to go to the moon. I joined the air force, I learned to fly and I was doing really well in the astronaut program, but they were looking for these perfect human beings as you, as you know, the right stuff they used to call it.
Alan Mulally: 05:57 And it turned out that I had a colorblindness between shades of gray. And so I, I was not gonna be able to go to the moon on the early flights. And so they said I could, I could either stay and go on the later missions or they would pay for me to finish graduate school. And so I decided to do that in aeronautical, in astronautical engineering. And then I found my first love at Boeing and it was just phenomenal because it was so compelling because the commercial airplanes were really getting people together around the world. And we were kind of the first internet at the, at the time. And we were the package protocol in the airplanes. And what I realize traveling around the world is that we all have more in common than we're different. And if we believe in that and appreciate that we can work together for the greater good. So the design of the airplanes are great, but what the airplanes did for the world was, was even more fantastic.
Joe Hart: 06:48 It's interesting because in hearing you, you, you sound like, I mean, you were very purpose driven from the very beginning. You wanted to do sentiment that was going to have impact. You wanted to do something that was going to be big and bring people together. It's, how much of that was about you going to Boeing?
Alan Mulally: 07:05 Well I think a lot, Joe, because in any, every time I think about anything, it's always about in the context of service and not so much about me, but on what we can do for the greater good. And, and so when I was looking at every, almost everything in my life, it was about moving to more and more service and, and I could feel as a service that the magnitude of the service went up that I wanted to even serve even more, if that makes sense. And so I was on all the airplane programs from the seven Oh seven through the seven, eight, seven. And if you look at all the airplanes are flying today,unearly 70% of the seats flying today are in Boeing airplanes. So it's just a tremendous contribution,uto the, to the world.
Joe Hart: 07:50 Can I, can I ask you a question now? I just want to go back to this idea of service because it sounds like you, you know, this has been something that's been a huge guiding principle for you. And as you know in, in, in all the different people you meet, not everyone has that, that mindset. I mean, what, what would you say to someone about the importance of embracing a servant mindset of being a servant leader?
Alan Mulally: 08:10 Well, I think it gets back to the purpose of life again is the principles and practices. My, our, our parents taught us the purpose of life is to love and be loved. And so if you come at, at life that way, then you're just naturally going to be wanting to serve and then, and then the more that you serve for the greater good. Remember the other thing she's told me was if you learn how to work together with people, you can really make a difference on a big scale. So now it's not just you serving, but it's about what you can do collectively by working together for the greater, for the greater good. So and it just, it's, it was Dale Carnegie's principles and practices about how to work together, how to treat each other, how you want to be treated in the course of the purpose of all that is not just to create that culture but actually serve. So you are serving for the greater good and people are benefiting because you are a working together person.
Joe Hart: 09:02 So. So let me ask you this. So you just referenced Dale Carnegie and I'm curious, you talked about the importance of your mother and the role that she played in influencing you. What role did Dale Carnegie, how to win friends play?
Alan Mulally: 09:13 Well, I think my father might have given me the how to win friends and influence people pretty early on. And of course in my formation as a, as a person and leader, I was very open with this kind of an attitude, very open to continuous improvement and lifelong learning. And I still am just a sponge to, to learn new things. And, and when you think of Dale's principles and practices and why he was so popular at the time, cause you're moving into the industrial revolution, we had these large corporations, people are, we're now part of a bigger organizations. They needed to be seen and heard and organized and, and so the whole idea of, of being a friendlier person, of thinking about how all of us would, would participate together. And then the leadership that goes with that, just simple things like smile, you know, and, and respect each other and listen to each other. And it just brings out it was everything to bring out the very best of us individually, but also collectively bring out the very best of what we could do together in these new, larger organizations. And for me, whether it was my paper route or lawn mowing or whatever, this was like, it just made so much sense. And so now I was on a, I really was focused on improving my best self. And then that just turned out to be so reinforced in, by, by the results that I accomplished.
Joe Hart: 10:40 So, so let's turn then to Boeing. So Alan Mulally starts at Boeing. You're a person who is all about continuous improvement and service and really trying to, to be the best person you can. Talk about how that influenced your career at Boeing. I mean, and, and how was that received?
Alan Mulally: 10:58 When I joined Boeing, like most corporations at the time and a lot of corporations today, they're managed more with a top down, a command and control system and behaviors. And because you'll, the, the idea of the large corporations are relatively new in the history of things. So that was something that really stood out for me because I wasn't used to that kind of behavior because I was into a compelling vision and a comprehensive strategy and then working together. But the working together was fantastic because when you design a commercial airplane and it has a 4 million parts and it flies halfway around, the world carries two or 300 people. It's the most complex systems in the world. And so I love the talent. You know, I was in an office, I shared with 400 other engineers and most of them were more experienced than I was and smartest people in the world. And I, I was so happy working together with them to learning from them. And, and that part I felt so comfortable with. The command control part was a little different for me. And so I actually started to adopt some of, as I was promoted and asked to take on more responsibility over the year, I actually adopted some of those command and control principals, Joe and, and it, and I felt kind of uncomfortable, but that's what the leaders did. And they kept asking me to take on more, more responsibility. And then finally on one of the airplane programs, the chief pilot came to see me and said, Alan, you're, you're just a great leader, but I'd suggest that you use who you really are because we know who you really are. And it's not this kind of commanding control that I was, I was practicing or had learned. And, and so at the same time we had a new CEO of Boeing and that CEO wanted to move towards inclusion and cooperation and working together because they believe that that's what was going to take to the company succeed over the long term. So the CEO asked me to join him on that journey. He said he would, he would watch out for me cause I was going to be operate a little bit differently than which was the norm. So I had the honor to help further develop the working together culture at Boeing.
Joe Hart: 13:08 It's, it's, it's fascinating to me because especially a lot of people will talk today about the cultures of the business in which they operate, right? Whether it's top down, some are very aggressive, some are, you know, just different kinds of cultures that you went into Boeing with the service mindset and it all ultimately you started to change but ultimately you changed the entire culture. You change the culture to be more along that working together mindset. Right. And talk about how you did that.
Alan Mulally: 13:36 The, I think the, probably a good place to start on that is when you, when you're on a commercial airplane design team and you have all of this talent that it's really important that you have a integrated schedule that everybody knows what the vision is of the airplane and what the strategy is for achieving it. Is it going to be short range, long range, direct flies, point-to-point nonstop, you know, the fuel efficiency and the payload, the range. Very, very sophisticated. So it's an invention, very complicated invention that's done on schedule usually takes around four, four and a half years. And so Boeing was very good at this program management and everybody knowing what the plan was and where it was going. And so I just built on that and I developed these working together principles and practices. And as I took on more responsibility, I could actually lead by example on the airplane programs.
Alan Mulally: 14:31 And so everything that you, that you will know about my working together with people first and a compelling vision and a comprehensive strategy. And then the relentless implementation, the business plan review, I just kept fine tuning that and making it clear and clear until I got it down to one page of 11 points on how we're going to operate together, which described the culture and it, it had not only the process as you know, well Joe, but it also had the expected behaviors. And I was really, I've always been big on unexpected behaviors because that's the way we're going to treat each other. Cause we're going to create a safe as well as a smart organization. And I'd always have zero tolerance for any of the participants violating the process, like the business plan review every week and the expected behavior of how we're going to treat each other. And I, and what happened is that people would feel what it was like to operate in this high performance environment where people are helping each other and respecting each other. And, and so the culture would just gradually just get better and better and better and everybody would feel that satisfaction of participating in such a meaningful way and being appreciated.
Joe Hart: 15:36 So let's talk then about really where this system was put to the test post 9/11 it at Boeing had to be just a harrowing time. You lost all your orders essentially overnight. There must've been panic in the ranks in, in the system that you were using. Really. Was this working together management system? What happened? Well,
Alan Mulally: 15:56 Gee, I just thinking about that again, it gives me shivers because you're absolutely right. We never, ever, Joe thought a commercial airplane would be used as a weapon ever. We'd never designed an airplane considering that. I remember I was in in Japan and I was watching the news. We didn't have CNN at the time. It was what, 10 or 11 o'clock at night. And I saw what looked like a light airplane, hit a small building cause the TV was so small. So I got up close to it and I realized that it was a 767 and it was a Boeing airplane. And it was hitting to a very large building. It changed our lives forever. And to your point, people are so scared about traveling that the travel market decreased by nearly 60% and our, our deliveries reduced by almost 60 or 70% and I don't know of another corporation that could have their throughput go down by that much by 60 or 70% and survive as a, as a company.
Alan Mulally: 16:57 So we used our working together. Principles are one piece of paper, you know, people first compelling vision conference, the strategy, facts and data, respect each other, listen to each other, help each other, no jokes, anybody else's expands and came together around a vision of what we needed to do to say Boeing. And it was tough because we had to restructure the business. We had to, a number of people had to leave temporarily because we had to stem the cashflow to save the company. And at the same time we needed to continue to invest in new airplanes so that we could come out the other side of this and have a viable business going forward. And we shared it with everybody and, and with compassion and we'd loved everybody up where they stayed or they didn't. We did everything we could to help them in the near term and also provide opportunities in the future to come back if they wanted to and we saved the company.
Alan Mulally: 17:48 And so it's kind a horrible tragedy, but it just another proof point at the, at the highest level that working together works if you include everybody and have a process for working together and have really clear expected behaviors that help people be their very best.
Joe Hart: 18:06 It's, it's amazing truly what you and the team achieved there through your leadership. But let me ask you about, people sometimes forget, you know, CEOs are people, right? And from a leadership standpoint, how did you deal with the fear and the stress that had to be present in your life around that horrible time for our country and for the company? How did you manage to work through that for yourself and to continue to communicate confidence?
Alan Mulally: 18:34 People, many times, Joe asked me that in kind of a different way. They'll say, you know, with what you're doing and all the issues and stuff, how do you sleep at night? And I, my answer is I always sleep really well. A part of the principles and practices is that everybody knows the vision, the strategy and a plan. But also they know the status of where we are. That's where the color coding comes from. That gets so much notoriety that, you know, green, it's on plan yellow, it's, we have an issue, but we have a solution in red, we just have a new problem and we don't have a solution yet. And, and so the whole idea of the business plan review and this working together is that we all know the issues and we're all helping each other turn the red cl is the greens. So when I go home at night or I, I've done everything I possibly can by creating, helping create this environment where everybody knows the plan, the status areas need special attention and they're all working together. And so the best thing I can do at night is go home and get some sleep so I can come back the next day and beat my very best at nurturing this culture and of of working together.
Joe Hart: 19:36 I mean that's really a fabulous leader lesson for all leaders, right? I mean leaders at whatever level, which is if you're doing the right things and you're creating the right environments and you're believing in people and bringing people together, creating transparency, then you know that that's the team coming together. Right? And, and people should have peace around that.
Alan Mulally: 19:56 And if you have a process, a very reliable process, I mean it sounds like Marshall Goldsmith, our great friend always says Allen's process and the expected behaviors are such common sense but such uncommon practice. It's really kind of brilliant the way you said that because what we're talking about is us coming together, deciding together what we're doing, what our vision is for this organization, whether it's profit or nonprofit or or whatever. And how are we going to achieve that vision, the strategy including the people part. How are we going to work together? And then have a relentless implementation plan, which we just going to keep reviewing every week, every month, every, every quarter. How it's going within an environment that is a transparent and it's safe and people can actually share what's going on. Well in there also share what areas need special attention. And so that's an incredible invigorating environment that enables all of this, this innovation, both for everything that's going well, but also for everything that needs special attention because any plan that you have or anything in your life, it's not going to, you're going to always have a plan, but it's always not going to go exactly like the plan. So this is an adaptable way of, of living that based on continuous improvement and service and helping each other.
Joe Hart: 21:09 So working together really faced a a second most called a major test when you took over at Ford, right? I mean, I mean you, you came into Ford 2006 at a time when that company was in short not looking very strong and, and you, you faced a whole range of challenges. Talk about what you faced and how the working together system that you put in place there really impacted the culture and saved the company.
Alan Mulally: 21:36 Joe, you know this really well and I'm sharing with you the working together principles and practices. This is the only piece of paper that I took with me when I left Boeing to answer Bill Ford's call to come join him as a CEO. To your question, Bill is such a neat leader and he's very transparent and he shared with me that they were in real trouble, he shared with me the details. They had become a house of brands over the years. They bought Aston Martin and Jaguar and land Rover and Volvo. They also had become a very regionalized and independent. They operated in every country around the world, but they were operating independently. So they had their own product strategy, their own marketing on sales. And so there was no synergy across Ford now to compete with global powerhouses, especially out of Japan and in Europe. And also they'd become fast followers on the technology where Ford used to be the very best on incorporating technology. And it'd be fun for you and your listeners. Just go see the latest movie of Ford versus Ferrari about Ford going to Le Mans and winning Le Mans against Ferrari, the best racers in the world, and you'll see exactly what I mean. Because the last program that I authorized before I retired from Ford was a new GT. A Ford GT to go back to Le Mans in 50 years, 50 years since we won the first race against Ferrari. We won again with this latest EcoBoost and direct fuel injection and turbocharged GT finest race car in a world that must've been thrilling for you to tell them. My gosh, it was like a highlight of the, of the whole turnaround and creating a viable, exciting Ford. So also we had union agreements where we couldn't size our production to the real demand and so we were losing money on every vehicle. And the show you how I share with you how, how serious it was. Joe, the first forecast I saw when I arrived in Dearborn for the profits for the entire year, and this was in September, the forecast for the profits for the entire year was a $17 billion loss. $17 billion in three months later we achieved it.
Joe Hart: 23:43 Billion with a B.
Alan Mulally: 23:44 And so this wasn't a forecast accuracy issue. This was, we needed a different vision, a different strategy, a different plan. And so one of the most important things about this working together is to deal with the reality of the business and where you are. And so not all the Ford employees didn't know this. I mean, no one shared that kind of data with them and, but they knew it was bad, but they didn't know how bad it was. So I just went, I just introduced my working together principles and practices and we had lots of questions about them, how it was going to work and we went over it and I started the business plan review and clarify. We clarified the expected behaviors and that's where the, it took a while and I was getting very concerned because we had about 300 charts that we're using in the business plan review and they were all green Joe, all green, meaning that everything was on plan. I remember stopping the meeting and saying, you guys, you know, now because the CFO has just shown you that we're going to lose $17 billion, is there anything in any one of your areas of responsibility that's not going well? Maybe just one or two things. Of course eye contact down to the floor because no one was confident enough that they could share a problem. And because in the, in the old command and control school, people would seem to disappear because, you know, the philosophy was he only brought up an issue if you had a solution. That's just the way it is still that way in many businesses today. So we finally make a breakthrough and the leader of North America has an issue with a Edge launch in Oakville, Canada. And he in the business plan review, I've come to this chart and it's the first read that they, that anybody had ever shown. And I started to clap. I said, Mark, that is great visibility. Now what can we do to help? And two or three of the members of the team had suggestions for improvement and next, next week Mark was still there. And a couple weeks later it turned to yellow. And then a couple of weeks later it turned to red to green. And we started delivering all the vehicles around the world. And Joe guessed what the 300 charts look like the following week. They weren't all red, but they look like a rainbow. And we knew now that we are going to what the real situation was and people could be authentic and honest and was safe. Now we could all work together to turn the reds to yellows to green.
Joe Hart: 25:57 What a turning point that must've been.
Alan Mulally: 26:01 I knew I was holding these two emotions. I remember in my hands simultaneously, like I know it works and we've got to get to a place where they trust it enough to share their problems. Like they were a gem and and at that moment I knew no matter what happened to us, whether it was the tsunamis in Asia Pacific or whether it was the financial crisis in the United States, that no matter what happened, that we're going to use this, this process and identify the reds and work together to turn the reds. Yellows agreed and the rest is history went from a $17 billion loss, Joe too. I remember the first quarter of Oh eight we had $100 million profit and we were so excited, $100 million and then the financial crisis hit and we down to five billion we couldn't respond only as fast as we could. We'd lost another 5 billion. Then after that we made 6 billion, 7 billion, 8 billion, 9 billion, 10 billion, $11 billion, and we were profitably growing. We had become the number one brand in United States, number one or number two in all of Europe, fastest growing in Asia Pacific, fastest growing in China, picking up market share because people believe in our products, the best product line of anybody, small, medium, large cars, utilities and trucks, and our employee survey, Joe went from 42% positive, which is kind of typical for most companies around how their employees feel. When I left eight years later, it was at 91% the highest in the world because people felt like they were delivering for the greater good, safe, and efficient transportation. They felt valued and they felt appreciated and they were doing something that was very important.
Joe Hart: 27:34 What an amazing turnaround, financial turnaround, cultural turnaround, product turnaround. I mean it's, if there's a more impressive turnaround, I haven't seen it or heard about it in corporate America, maybe anywhere. How did you inspire great leadership in others and what were the qualities you looked for in, in the people you were working with to know that they, they could be great leaders?
Alan Mulally: 27:58 Very important question in the working together system. Of course the most important part is your belief in people and people working together. And so that what I have found, especially in the leader is the leader is going to set the tone for the culture and and how you work together. Everything about the culture, the process as well as the behaviors. And what I have found in effective, the most effective leaders is a foundation, humility, love and service that they, they're coming at everything from humility, love and service. And two more that I would characteristics I'd add on to that would be courage on the front end and, and discipline kind of on the backend. So courage, humility, love, service and discipline. Now you can see how in the working together environment that from a courage point of view, not everybody's going to agree with following the process. And so it's going to take courage to believe in working together and in those behaviors so that you stand and you stand in tall with them all the time. Also, think of the opposite of humility is arrogance. And so, and it's poison because it means that what you're bringing is you think that somehow you know the answers and you're there to tell everybody what to do. And as you have more and more knowledge workers, the leaders going to know less and the details than anybody else. So always have an always having an interest and being curious and asking questions rather than telling. So important. And the love part is at the highest level these are, these are all human beings and they're fantastic and they need to be appreciated and they deserve to be appreciated. And then on the service side, we've talked a lot about that. And then on the discipline side, it's very hard for a lot of leaders to have the discipline to be the same over and over day in, day out to run the BPR, the business plan review like you doing this, you're doing so successfully to have that consistency of purpose in 45 years of service at Boeing and at Ford, I've maybe missed 10 BPRS in my entire career because you can always call in and for an hour of investment. You now now know the whole plan. The areas need special attention and everybody's working together. And so courage to believe in these principles and practices cause they work in their right and, and on how you treat people to have to come at it with humility, love and service and then have the discipline to operate this way day in and day out. Most important thing I've found and who you are as a person, who you really are as a person on those dimensions I really believe is going to have more to do with your leadership effectiveness than anything else. Anything else?
Joe Hart: 30:47 Who would be somebody, examples of people that you see that you admire, who embodied those? Those principles?
Alan Mulally: 30:52 Well, it's interesting because when I hear people answer those, that question, they're usually people that we recognize as terrific leaders. And I feel a little bit, I feel the same way about those leaders because the great leaders are great leaders. But I have found those characteristics and almost everybody, everybody that I have grown up with and have known, I have learned something from, I've even learned from the people that do not have these characteristics. And I've watched what that means to the organization and to themselves and their happiness and, and others. And so, you know, my parents and my teachers and all the people at my supervisors, at Boeing, all of the employees that the suppliers, customers, everybody, everybody has these characteristics in them. It's kinda like Dale Carnegie said, it's all there. These are human beings and they're fundamentally need. And what we're doing is self creating an environment that the best of them can, can come out. When I think of people I've been influenced by, it's almost everybody. And I've been influenced by, and so the great leaders are the great leaders, but everybody is a leader that you can learn from.
Joe Hart: 32:03 What's really great about what you just said is sometimes people will say, Hey, are leaders born or are they made or whatnot. What you're really saying is that everyone has the potential to be a great leader. Really leadership is a choice, right? It's, it's about courage and humility, love and service and discipline and, and if people will, will embrace those kinds of things, then they can be great leaders, inspirational leaders, and be very happy and successful as well.
Alan Mulally: 32:26 Joe, I completely agree, and what probably the neatest thing about being a leader or being asked to lead and serve is to get a chance to create an environment that enables this to happen. Just think about the color on the, on the plan. And let's say that somebody has an issue and they, they color coded their work where they are as a red. Well, they're not the red, they're the answer and the issue is the issue. But what if I said, really, you know, I hired you. You're the best airplane designer in the world or the best at marketing, and you have this issue with your work. Don't bring me the issue until you have a solution. Well, what color would that chart be next week it'd be green. Would the issue be green? Nope. And the reason is that no one is going to be a victim. And so they're all going to figure out how to survive. They'll laugh or go along to get along, but it won't reflect the reality of what the real situation is. And so now you're managing a secret and you can't manage a secret. And so the whole idea is that that's why their gems and not problems, because somebody shows you they have an issue. You go, thank you. Thank you so much. That's why I clapped when Mark showed his red and everybody thought that was a sign that the two doors behind me were going to open up to large human beings are going to come in there is extract Mark and he'd be gone and the next week he's still there. And so creating that environment that is safe as well as smart, I think is that's what, that's what makes the employee survey go up. That's why the performance goes up. The business performance goes up because you've created a culture where it's safe and it's healthy and it's fun, and then think about the people that you're affecting, not just at work, but when you go home, you know you're, you're a happy, you're a happy person. You're doing the same thing in your personal life. The chance to influence a lot of people is just such a tremendous opportunity.
Joe Hart: 34:18 It's really something to hear this too, because what you're talking about is, is even in a single incident, single interaction, making sure that the leader is maintaining those, those traits and having the discipline, not necessarily duplicate, upset, but to really to think, Oh look, I'm here to serve. How do I help this person? How do I help this employee work through this in a supportive way so that we can get to a, an authentic, true outcome? What advice would you have today? I'm thinking about young professionals, people who are new in their career, they're looking at you and saying, wow, what a phenomenal career impact that Alan's had. What advice would you have for them about things they can do today to be on a great path?
Alan Mulally: 35:01 I think that my advice would be maybe three things. One is this whole notion of service and also the characteristics of leadership. If they're aspiring to everybody will be a leader in one way or the other. But if they're aspiring to accept and desire more and more responsibility is really think about who they are as a person and further develop that over time. So the whole point about humility, love and service for example of where are they on that because the more that they are about we instead of me and and service versus I, then the more effective they're going to be. So that's just one thing. Just to further keep further developing your, your who you are as a person. The next is functional or technical excellence. Whatever it is you're deciding to do in your career usually will be in a function, whether it's engineering, manufacturing, procurement, marketing, sales, legal is really a approach that with lifelong learning and continuous improvement to be the very best you can be as a professional. And then the last one would be is really develop your working together skills cause that is, that is an absolute skill and more and more of the universities are starting to teach that now in a more holistic way in their MBA programs. It's still our main focuses on technical excellence in whatever discipline you have. And when you get the place where you're a leader and you have multi-disciplined is working for you it's going to be even more important that you develop your working together and then your leadership skills. Because as, as Peter Drucker said, as you manage more and more knowledge workers, you're going to know the least than anybody else on your team. And your job now is not to be a technical functional expert, is to learn what would you've been asking about today is everything you can about how do you lead and how do you create a culture that is both smart and safe and high performance. And that's a skill and it can be taught and you can learn it and it is tremendously satisfying.
Joe Hart: 37:04 That's awesome. And it's as you and I've talked about, we've talked about it's may times that it's the people skills. I mean ultimately you could have great technical engineers and you've probably known thousands, tens of thousands. The thing that seems to separate people shortly, it's separated you as this phenomenal people skills that, that that starting from a point of service and being able to bring people together and to work together with people to communicate effectively, those are the skills that are the winning skills.
Alan Mulally: 37:29 And Joe thinks of where that brings us back to Dale. I'm just kind of looking here and I give honest, sincere appreciation. Don't criticize, condemn, and complain. Smile. Wow. There's a biggie. When you're the leader and you have a frown on your face, everybody's running for the hills. I mean, what's wrong? What's wrong? Remember personally, be a good listener. Encourage others to talk about themselves. Show respect for other person's opinions, like, gosh, never say you're wrong. You're never wrong. Beginning of friend way, get the person saying yes, try honesty. Be sympathetic. Appeal to the nobel motives, there, everything we've been talking about, but this compelling vision is all of us aligning with a compelling vision. I mean, that's what Dale Carnegie is about. Talk about a compelling vision. Begin with praise and honest appreciation. Ask really ask questions instead of giving direct orders. Well, that's pretty good. I think he's onto something he said. I think Dale's onto something and I think that you, the Dale Carnegie is very, very fortunate to you as a leader to take a Dale Carnegie flying again for all the customers that you serve.
Joe Hart: 38:41 Well, thank you Alan. I'm humbled to hear you say that you're very kind and I want to thank you for your time. This has been a phenomenal time together. Phenomenal interview and you sharing your wisdom and experience and insights with with me and all of us. Thank you so much. You're awesome.
Alan Mulally: 38:56 You're welcome. And I can't wait to hear the finished product.
Joe Hart: 39:00 I hope you enjoyed this edition of Take Command: A Dale Carnegie podcast. This episode was recorded by Sarah Ventry and edited and mixed by Justin D. Wright of Seaplane Armada. Please consider rating this episode and subscribing to us an iTunes, Spotify, Stitcher, or wherever you get your podcasts.