Workhorses and Show Ponies

June 25, 2010

The Ford Mustang is one of few automobiles to enjoy consistent production and success since inception. 

Innovative incarnations since its 1964 1/2 debut-including the iconic Shelby Cobra, Bullitt, Saleen, and Roush models coupled with the Lee Iacocca 45th Silver Anniversary edition-establish it as a true American workhorse. 

“Once in a while a car comes along that changes everything, and that was the original Mustang,” said Iacocca, the former president of the Ford division and the father of the Ford Mustang.

Long lauded for leadership, Iacocca in his 2007 book Where Have All the Leaders Gone? said,

“I’ve never been Commander in Chief, but I’ve been a CEO. I understand a few things about leadership at the top. I’ve figured out nine points — not ten (I don’t want people accusing me of thinking I’m Moses). I call them the “Nine Cs of Leadership.” They’re not fancy or complicated. Just clear, obvious qualities that every true leader should have.”

Brothers, separate your lodge work horses from the show ponies with Iacocca’s Nine C’s of Leadership criteria:


Curiosity:   Ask questions.  Listen.  No one should think they are such a big shot that they can’t learn something.  We have to figure out what makes others tick.
 Creativity:   A leader has to be creative.  Get out on a limb, be willing to try something different.  You know, think outside the box and think ahead. 
Communication:   A leader has to communicate, talk to people.  Bill Clinton once said, “It’s just plain crazy to stop talking to people you disagree with.  As long as you keep talking, there’s hope.” 
Character:   It’s knowing the difference between right and wrong and having the guts to do the right thing.  Abraham Lincoln said, “If you want to test a man’s character, give him power.” 
Courage:   Swagger isn’t courage.  Tough Talk isn’t courage.  Do they walk the walk or just talk the talk?  Step up to the plate and accept personal responsibility. 
Conviction:   That’s a fire in your belly that shows the desire to really get things done.
Charisma:  It’s the ability to inspire people to stand taller and motivate people to act by appealing to the good in their hearts, not the evil in the heart of others.  It’s being more concerned that others feel good about themselves than they feel about you.
Competence:   Getting results, talk is cheap but what about fixing the problems?  You’ve got to show what’s working and be held brutally accountable for your decisions.
Common Sense:   As my business mentor, Charlie Beacham used to say, “The only thing you’ve got going for yourself as a human being is your ability to reason and your common sense.”

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