Always Blame Bill Clinton First: How "180 In 180" Helped Ford Go 360

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The "180 in 180" plan was FoMoCo's way forward before there even was a "Way Forward." The plan, created by former Clinton pollster Mark Penn and his firm of Penn Schoen & Berland Associates, surveyed 5,000 Ford employees to ask them questions like:

"Who do you think is the leading automaker in the industry today?"
"Do you think Ford is staying ahead or falling behind its competitors?"
"Do you like Bill Ford's hair up or down?"


So, ok, maybe not that last question — but the first two were honest-to-goodness questions the survey asked. But what's interesting to me isn't the responses to those questions — but rather, the hatchet job Dan Howes and the Detroit News do on the "Clinton-era spinmeisters waiting for a change of control at 1600 Pennsylvania Ave." who put together the report. Don't get me wrong, the "Clinton-era spinmeisters" put together a really stupid poll — but what really unnerves me is that while simultaneously giving Clinton-haters the reach-around, Howes and the News absolve FoMoCo of the stupidity of asking said spinmeisters to put together a report that would do nothing more...

...than tell management what they already knew. I mean, come on, the article's even headlined "How political pros retouched Ford's image" — shouldn't it have been titled something like "How Ford hired political pros rather than fixing their own problems?" The problem with consensus-building of solutions via survey is that it allows senior leaders to focus on the survey itself rather than coming up with and implementing the solutions necessary to get the company's problems solved? Shouldn't that have been the focus of the article, rather than the righties over at the News shifting the focus to Clinton attack-dog mode for election season? You know — like perhaps attacking the real sources of FoMoCo's problems — and the reason why a "180 in 180" got them back to where they started — the management of the company, perhaps?

How political pros retouched Ford's image [Detroit News]

Dan Howes: "Top GOP Leaders To Big Three: Drop Dead"; Breaking! Ford's Way Forward 2.0 [internal]


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