Left: Henry Ford driving the Twenty Millionth car built by Ford Motors which is a 1931 Model A. Source: blog.hemmings.com Middle: An incredible circle of the most influential people of their times consisting of Henry Ford(Founder of Ford Motors; far left), Thomas Edison(inventor of the light bulb; left), Warren G. Harding(29th President of the United States; right) and Harvey Firestone(founder of Firestone Tires; far right). Source: taringa.net Right: An early Model T Ad. Source: seekingmichigan.org
Ford "In the Ford Motor Company we emphasize service equally with
Motors sales." -Henry Ford in Ford Service Manual(thehenryford.org Henry Ford Quotations
Ford's leadership was best exemplified through the company he built from the ground up, Ford Motors.
Nevertheless, he was not just a successful business leader; he was the successful business leader- the icon of the 20th century. -Keith Grint(excerpt from "The Arts of Leadership p.189")
"Despite the fact that the entire motor industry had lost faith in him, he managed to find another investor to start the Ford Motor Company and the rest is history." Bernard Marr (charterforcompassion.org)
His qualities of independence and thinking of the people's wants instead of the investor's showed just how tenacious he was in doing the right thing.
"A big business never becomes big by being a narrow society looking after only the interests of its organization and stockholders." -"Henry Ford excerpt from Moving Forward."
'"Stock in the Ford Motor Company would increase the cost of the car. I am only interested in reducing the price of our car." -Henry Ford 1935 (thehenryford.org Henry Ford Quotations)
He wasn't a tyrant either though. Ford valued the human nature of Ford Motors in not just getting profits but genuinely wanting to help not only the consumers but also his workers as well.
"The 11-year-old company was willing to spend
"It is our belief, that social justice begins at home. We want those who have helped us to produce this great institution and are helping to maintain it to share our prosperity. We want them to have present profits and future prospects. Thrift and good service and sobriety, all will be enforced and recognized.
The crucial traits as leader of Ford Motors was his self confidence and courage to take risks. He did things that were criticized by the critics of the business world but they were shut down once they made profits.
"This of course. does not mean that a product should never be changed, but I think that it will be found more economical in the end and not even to try to produce an article until you have fully satisfied yourself that utility, design and material are the best. If researches do not give you that confidence, then keep on searching until you find confidence. The place to start manufacturing is with the article." -Henry Ford(My Life and Work p.16)
Ultimately his ability as a innovator led him to be an iconic leader among the many.
"Henry Ford didn't invent anything. All of the technologies already existed, but what he did was to take the next step." -Nick Scheele(President and COO of Ford) excerpt from Orlando Sentinal June 19th, 2003 by Jim Mateja