Tag Archive for 'Henry Ford'

Learn how to leverage technology

Henry Ford is generally credited with being the creator of the assembly line. To meet the demand for his Model T automobiles, Mr. Ford knew that just hiring more people wouldn’t be enough to mount the challenge of building Ford Motor Company, it would take technology.

His technology was crude by modern standards, but it did what technology does: leverage the productivity of human beings. During the year Ford’s assembly line was first put in service, he wasn’t just using technology, he was creating it. He was also turning 50.

The list of technology options is long and growing and today is available in features-rich products to support and improve virtually every business task. How much are you adopting technology to help you leverage the humans in your organization?

Yes, some employees don’t want to embrace technology because they think they’re too old, or have gotten too far behind the curve. Hogwash! There is so much point-and-click technological capability these days that you can ramp up on any learning curve within a matter of days, if not hours. And besides, rapid changes in technology means you can catch up with anyone by being prepared to fully adopt the next generation of capability, that’s usually never more than 90 days away. You can literally go from being a technology illiterate to being an application expert within weeks. But you do have to take that first step.

The great Roman statesman, Cato (234-149 BC) began studying Greek at the age of 80. When asked why he would contemplate such an undertaking at such an advanced age, he replied, “This is the youngest age I have left.”

Regardless of your age or level of technological proficiency, learn how to leverage technology. No excuses! Remember, it’s the youngest age you have left.

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Personal Horizons for small business owners

A horizon is such a useful thing; it helps you have perspective.

There is more than one kind, you know: The old standby that meets the sky as you drive down the road or sail on the water; in aviation, there is an artificial horizon that pilots use as one of their gauges to keep the aircraft in the desired attitude when they are “in the soup” and can’t see horizon #1; and then there is your Personal Horizon.

Your Personal Horizon is your perspective on future prospects; where you’re headed in your personal and professional life. Do you see a bright horizon with clearly defined features, or do you see a dark and hazy horizon and are not sure of what’s ahead?

When you’re on the ground if you want a better view, you have to physically move higher in the hopes of gaining a better perspective. But you can improve your Personal Horizon by moving to higher ground in your life through education, new goals, a new attitude – you get the picture.

If you don’t like what you see on your Personal Horizon, what are you going to do about it? I’m not saying personal change is easy, but you have to admit, it is convenient. You don’t have to physically go anywhere to change your Personal Horizon. You can do it right now, right where you are. Here are three Personal Horizon thoughts from three big thinkers:

Renaissance man, Michaelangelo: “The danger is not that you will reach too high and fall short, but rather that you will aim too low and achieve it.”

Twentieth century entrepreneur extraordinaire, Henry Ford: “Whether you think you can, or whether you think you can’t, either way you’re correct.”

And finally, this from English philosopher and author, James Allen: “You will become as great as your dominant aspiration… If you cherish a vision, a lofty ideal in your heart, you will realize it.”

Allow your “aspirations” to become “dominant”. Give your “vision” a chance to work by acquiring a new Personal Horizon. Where do you look for your Personal Horizon? James Allen says it’s in your heart.

Now go aim a little higher.

Small business opportunities - and tractors

The great 20th century entrepreneur, Henry Ford, made a trip to Europe during WWI to try to encourage the combatants to end the war. Before long he was back in the U.S. rather frustrated and disappointed in the results of his mission. But he later made the following observation, “I didn’t get much peace, but I found out that Russia is going to be a great market for tractors.”

By this time in his life, Mr. Ford probably wasn’t surprised when the pursuit of one project (which failed) produced information, if not opportunity, for another. For ourselves, it’s not possible to know where or when the next revelation, discovery or new opportunity is going to occur. For example:

- The next phone call could provide valuable information for our business.
- The next person we meet could become the newest member of our company’s brain trust.
- The next expert’s words we hear or read could trigger some clearer view into a previously murky perspective.
- The next annoying problem we face could turn into a life changing opportunity.

I think Mr. Ford would tell us that none of this happens if we don’t engage the world at least half-way. We must make ourselves available to the possibilities.

Remember, when opportunity knocks it’s often disguised as something else. And if we’re not available when it comes calling, opportunity doesn’t leave a message, it moves on.

How’s YOUR tractor business these days?

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