Henry Ford
Leadership Case Study

Henry Ford Leadership Case Study is a part of Leadership Stories, a series of biographies of great leaders in history that have impacted the world in a huge way.

Henry Ford Leadership
Who was He?

Henry Ford is the founder of the Ford Motor Company and also the inventor of the modern day assembly line method of production for his Model T cars.

He is also an inventor who has been credited with over 100 patents. During his time, he was one of the richest people in the world.

Today Ford Motor Company has dealerships all over the world, and is one of the largest car manufacturers in the world.

A Short History

Henry Ford was born in July 30, 1863 in a farm in Detriot, Michigan into a family of six.

In his youth, he showed extraordinary capiblity of putting things together and taking things apart. He would be able to repair and dismantle a pocket watch that his dad gave to him, earning him a reputation as a watch repairman.

Although he lived in a farm, his passion always laid elsewhere. At the age of 16, he would move to the city of Detroit to start work as a machinist.

He first started the Detroit Automobile Company in a bid to create an automobiles for the masses. It wasn’t successful and the company eventually shut down.

Eventually he would start the Ford Motor Company with several other investors. His first model, the ‘999’, would be the car that would rocket the Ford brand throughout the United States. His company would also pay its workers extraordinarily high wages for its time, drawing much talent and ability to his company’s operations.

His breakthrough came when he successfully designed the Ford Model T. This model would be priced so low that a majority of American drivers soon learnt how to drive the Model T. It would be so successful that in 20 years since its first production, its total output amounted up to 15 million.

Eventually the Ford Motor Company would also expand across international borders, opening up businesses all over the world that the United States had diplomatic relations with.

He would also open up another company called the Ford Airplane Company, which was set up during the World War I to support the United States in their aircraft production. It would eventually be shut down during the Great Depression due to poor sales.

He would hand over the company to his grandson in September 1945 in ill health, and eventually he would pass away in 1947, at 83 years of age.

Henry Ford
Leadership Lessons

1. Value your workers

Henry Ford valued his workers a lot and he showed that by giving an extremely high pay for all his works in the assembly lines. As a result, he drew talent from all over the region to work in Ford Motor Company.

Whatever you do as a leader, if you can show that you value each and every person on your team, you will attract talent from all over the place. More than just their salaries, people want to work in an environment where they feel that they are valued and an essential part of the organization.

Strive to give your team this sense of value, whether by means of salary or by recognition. You can be sure that in the long run, you’ll be drawing strong people into your organization.

2. Self-Belief is essential

Henry Ford had tremendous self-belief and he constantly preached on it. He would hire workers don’t know understand the meaning of impossible and would keep pushing the limits of their imagination.

Your self-belief as a leader is infectious as well. What do you believe about yourself? What do you believe about your ability? What is possible and what is impossible? Your willingness to try the impossible will inspire your team push the limits as well.

3. We are created for work

Henry Ford understood the importance of work. He saw that work was an essential part of us as human beings and our fulfilment as people will come as a result of us using that potential in us to work. To him, it was not about when he could retire. In fact, retirement was never in the question for him.

You have to see that work is a part of life, and a large part of life in fact. The moment you decide to retire, your mind begins to deteriorate and your body begins to grow weaker. No matter how old are you or how young are you, remember that work is always a part of life and work hones and moulds us as people

Related Books on
Henry Ford Leadership

Best Quotes from
Henry Ford Leadership

A business that makes nothing but money is a poor business.

If there is any one secret of success, it lies in the ability to get the other person's point of view and see things from that person's angle as well as from your own.

If you think you can do a thing or think you can't do a thing, you're right.

Life is a series of experiences, each one of which makes us bigger, even though sometimes it is hard to realize this. For the world was built to develop character, and we must learn that the setbacks and grieves which we endure help us in our marching onward.

A market is never saturated with a good product, but it is very quickly saturated with a bad one.

There is joy in work. There is no happiness except in the realization that we have accomplished something.

You will find men who want to be carried on the shoulders of others, who think that the world owes them a living. They don't seem to see that we must all lift together and pull together.

An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.

Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.

There is no man living that can not do more than he thinks he can.


There is one rule for the industrialist and that is: Make the best quality of goods possible at the lowest cost possible, paying the highest wages possible.

I cannot discover that anyone knows enough to say definitely what is and what is not possible.

I do not believe a man can ever leave his business. He ought to think of it by day and dream of it by night.

Money is like an arm or leg - use it or lose it.

The man who will use his skill and constructive imagination to see how much he can give for a dollar, instead of how little he can give for a dollar, is bound to succeed.

There are no big problems, there are just a lot of little problems.

Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.

Wealth, like happiness, is never attained when sought after directly. It comes as a by-product of providing a useful service.

When everything seems to be going against you, remember that the airplane takes off against the wind, not with it.

Whether you believe you can do a thing or not, you are right.


It has been my observation that most people get ahead during the time that others waste.

It is not the employer who pays the wages. Employers only handle the money. It is the customer who pays the wages.

Before everything else, getting ready is the secret of success.

Coming together is a beginning; keeping together is progress; working together is success.

Competition is the keen cutting edge of business, always shaving away at costs.

Don't find fault, find a remedy.

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.

I am looking for a lot of men who have an infinite capacity to not know what can't be done.

Video on
Henry Ford Leadership

This is a video of the Ford Model T:

Other Links

Wikipedia: A highly detailed account of Henry Ford's life
TheHenryFord.org: The Official Site of Henry Ford

Other Business Leaders

» Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon is the current CEO and chairman of JP Morgan Chase & Co, the second largest bank in the United States by assets.

» Steve Jobs
Steve Jobs is the Chairman and CEO of Apple Computers Inc. and arguably one of the world’s most successful businessmen today.

» Ray Kroc
Ray Kroc is the man behind the multimillion dollar fast food empire, MacDonald’s. In his life, he has built the fast food chain from a simple hamburger restaurant to a multi-billion dollar franchise that has reached almost every part of the world today.

» Andrew Carnegie
Andrew Carnegie was the father of modern steel and was one of America’s richest men. He started the Carnegie Steel Company, which later merged with Steel Company to become U.S. Steel.

» Walt Disney
Walt Disney is the famous founder of Mickey Mouse, the loveable cartoon character that has permeated almost every country and culture in the world. He is the co-founder of Walt Disney Productions and one of the most influential motion picture producers in the world.

» Henry Ford
Henry Ford is the founder of the Ford Motor Company and also the inventor of the modern day assembly line method of production for his Model T cars. He is also an inventor who has been credited with over 100 patents. During his time, he was one of the richest people in the world.

» Sam Walton
Sam Walton is the founder of Walmart, the international discounting retail giant. He is a model business leader who has changed the way big business is done.

» Donald Trump
Donald Trump is an American business magnate and television personality. He is the Chairman of the Trump Organization, a US-based real-estate developer. To date, Donald Trump has accumulated wealth of up to US$2.7 billion, primarily through his real estate investments.

» John D Rockefeller
John D Rockefeller is an American Oil Magnate and the first billionaire in the history of the world. In today’s dollars, Rockefeller is still considered the richest man in modern history. He was also one of the first few philanthropists in the world, giving back a huge portion of his wealth to the community.

» Warren Buffet
Warren Buffet is one of the world’s richest men, with assets totally up to US$50 billion in 2011. His main source of wealth comes from his company Berkshire Hathaway, a conglomerate holding company headquartered in Omaha, Nebraska, United States. His philosophy of value investing and prudence and influenced many investors worldwide.

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