Wednesday, May 15, 2002

Two managers

American Heritage is featuring an article inspired by Enron about "why the boss needs a boss". Henry Ford was used as an example.

Some years back I read David Halberstam's book "The Reckoning", which compared the histories of Ford Motor Company and Nissan. It described some of Henry Ford's management practices, which were, uh, unconventional (which is no surprise if you've read much about Ford).

For one, he hated accountants. He was known to go to the accounting department and just fire everybody there. It got to the point where people would stack invoices on a scale and weigh them to get an idea of how much was owed. You know, to balance the books.

Then Alfred P. Sloan arrived at General Motors. He proceeded to invent much of modern management as Peter Drucker watched and took notes. The result was some of the best management literature ever seen, and each man gave his name to a prominent business school.

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