The man that changed the world as we know it had quite a bit of wisdom to drop on us in his lifetime. He was the originator of the 40-hour work week (previously 48-hour work weeks were standard). He literally doubled the pay of his factory workers to attract the best talent, knowing it would save more money through efficiency. He was a visionary, a masterful business owner, and an ingenious problem solver. Henry Ford said many things in his time that are still quite relevant today.
"The short successes that can be gained in a brief time and without difficulty, are not worth much."
Nothing easy is worth having. No success that comes with a brief amount of effort will be fruitful in the end. This is advice to remind yourself of daily. Constantly remind yourself to look at the long term, and make decisions accordingly. The same can be said for acquisition of service trucks. While steel service truck bodies may save you a few dollars in the short-term, aluminum has been shown to last twice as long at a minimal price differential. Remember that short success in brief time (like saving a few dollars on a steel service body), are not worth much (as they will cost you in the long term.)
"Two classes of people lose money; those who are too weak to guard what they have; those who win money by trick. They both lose in the end."
In business and in life, you must guard your wealth and make carefully calculated decisions to win in the long term. If you happen to acquire money by unethical means, you will almost certainly lose. Be good, and do the right thing. Being transparent and honest in any transaction will set you on a path to win.
"The remains of the old must be decently laid away; the path of the new prepared. That is the difference between Revolution and Progress."
Mr. Ford was a champion of progress. He questioned traditional wisdom, and made changes accordingly. In that process, he built one of the greatest companies of an era, and that the US has ever seen. If we were to throw a service truck jab in, let’s again consider the merits and progress that aluminum service truck bodies provide; lighter weight, longer lasting, wear resistant, fuel savings, etc. That is progress through innovation. Steel truck bodies are a thing of the past, and as old Henry said, “…should be laid away.”
This is key life advice. Don’t be content with good enough. It is a passing feeling. As Henry said, only be satisfied with what lasts. That means going the extra mile for your business or job. It means spending more time with your family, as memories last longer than money. It means being good to everyone. Prosperity is only achieved when it lasts, and when you make an impact. Powerful thoughts, for sure.
"Many people are busy trying to find better ways of doing things that should not have to be done at all. There is no progress in merely finding a better way to do a useless thing."
If you are seeking to innovate, whether in a work process, a method of completing a task, the creation of a product, etc., it better make the task, process or product better. Otherwise, you are just wasting your time doing something that makes no progress. It would be easier at that point to rest on traditional wisdom. Henry Ford is not saying that you should not seek to innovate. Quite the opposite, really. However, if you find that your different manner of completing something does not make the process or product easier, it is best to not reattempt it. We customize service truck bodies, because it makes our customers lives easier by optimizing every cabinet and compartment to best fit their individual needs. If we did not customize specific to customer needs, what would be the point?
"Be ready to revise any system, scrap any method, abandon any theory, if the success of the job requires it."
In contrast from the last quote, Ford also advises to abandon any conventional wisdom associated with a task or job if there is a better way to complete it successfully. This leads to innovation, improvement, and ultimately progress. For example, Ford found that by increasing the hourly pay of his factory workers, he could attract the best talent, and in turn, save money in the long run. The success of the Ford Motor Company can be attributed to the skillful factory workers Ford employed to ensure that he was building the best automobiles money could buy, at the greatest value. Traditional wisdom of the time was to pay factory workers less to optimize profits. Ford rejected this method, and found a more successful way to complete the job and grow his business.
Be constantly improving your business, your skills, and yourself. The person that takes this advice to heart will never have a lack of work, or fall victim to the trappings of industry change. By constantly developing and improving, you are investing in the future of yourself, your family, and the generations to come. It is universally true.
What are you good for?! You must be good for something? This is a question our significant others ask on a weekly basis. Be good for something.
Be a customer centered person. Make your purpose to enrich the lives of others. Recall our previous article on growing your business by referrals. The best way to get what you want in life, and ultimately make your job (and really your life) more enjoyable and prosperous is to focus on enriching the lives of others. Do great things for other people, and everything that you hope for will eventually fall into place (other than winning the lottery, we haven’t quite cracked that code yet).
Without competition, on the job, in an industry, or in life, we would be slackers content with going on simply existing. Competition is woven in the fabric of the human spirit, and it is a driver of industry. Embrace competition, and know that it is necessary to continually improve process, products, and services which consequently leads to progress and making the world a better place. Bright guy, that Henry Ford.