Ford has a Better Idea

Ford announced two milestones this week. The first is a new CEO coming from outside the company, in this case Boeing. The second is a restructuring plan that everybody knew was coming. We just didn’t know how deep, or how far they would cut. This company is very quickly becoming a case study at Business School for how NOT to run a company.
The company has a management team that has been asleep at the switch for at least 25 years. You would think they woke up this morning for the first time, and said we have to cut everywhere.Let’s start with what’s missing from the plan, the MASTER plan that Ford is now proposing. I have reviewed all publicly disseminated documents and this is what I conclude. I don’t see a word anywhere talking about “LET’S MAKE CARS OF HIGH QUALITY THAT PEOPLE WANT TO BUY.”The only thing these guys talk about is financial engineering. They’ve blown it, they’ve blown it so bad, that the question is, are they so far down in the hole that they can’t dig themselves out. They may be at that point. Let’s deal with reality. America is NOW a high cost producer of just about anything that involves manufacturing. In 1900, half our population was involved in agriculture. Think, half of us were farmers, or farming related.With the continued industrialization of this country, we moved from the farm to machines, to manufacturing. America was a manufacturing powerhouse for decades. The latest census shows that we are a 75% service society, and about 4% agriculture. The rest is manufacturing, and that sector will continue to decline.Automobile manufacturing is the tip of the problem. We will come to a point perhaps, where there will be little to no car manufacturing in this country. It’s sad, but it is what it is. We have to deal with it. Ford has not wanted to deal with it for decades. They wait till now to say, we have a problem, “Hello, anybody home, are you listening.”I was talking to an individual recently who has sold Lincoln cars (owned by Ford) for 25 years. He told me about a woman that bought a Ford Navigator, and drove immediately from the dealership on a trip to Florida. The horror show began in New Jersey. Windows started to open and close on their own. Internal lights went on and off. By the time she made it to Maryland, she had to leave the car at a Ford dealership.Two weeks later, the company decided to give her a new car. Apparently while building the car, a worker put some kind of sharp tool through the wiring harness in the engine compartment. The shorts were everywhere, and affecting every major electronic component of the vehicle. This is not an isolated incident. Ford use to advertise, “Where quality is number 1.” Had they put quality in their cars through the years, they wouldn’t have a problem today.What do the people who run Ford drink at night? What do they smoke? Do they think everyone else outside their company is functioning in the same manner that they are. The Japanese continue to set a high standard. The standard may be so high that we Americans may not be able to reach it anymore. Is that a reason for Ford not to try?Ford has 75,000 hourly workers in the United States. The company has offered to buy out all of them. If you have a FULL year on the job, you get a $100,000 buyout, and healthcare benefits for 6 months. If you have either 30 years on the job, or you are age 55 with 15 years or more on the job, you get $140,000 to leave immediately. You also get to keep your pension, but you give up retirement health care coverage.Workers are also being offered college benefits with 8 other options. These are people who in a good year are use to making a $100,000 with overtime. Where do we stand now? You have a 100% UNHAPPY workforce. You know how a car spins its wheels in the snow. You are going to have every worker at Ford spinning his wheels, do I take the deal, do I not take the deal. They will be flipping coins trying to figure it out. Meanwhile the executive ranks are going to be saying to themselves, “What am I doing here.”The whole game plan is about as disruptive to a corporation as disruptive can be. How is anything going to get done including manufacturing well designed cars that people are comfortable buying?Wait, there’s more?This whole deal has been announced before the new CEO, Alan Mulally of Boeing takes over in the next couple of weeks. Is their any reason why this announcement couldn’t wait two weeks for the new man to come in? Ford made a CONSCIENCE decision to announce immediately. They didn’t want their new CEO to take the pubic hit for adverse public reactions that are going to come from the latest restructuring plan.Can Ford come back?It’s really a good question. The answer is that it’s going to be tough under all scenarios. The best bet they have going for them is bringing in an OUTSIDER. Einstein once said, “The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them.” I believe this is a cardinal rule of management as well. The problems of a company cannot be solved by the same executives who were there when the problems were created.The executives now in charge at Ford are part of the problem. They in fact are the problem. They have too much invested in an old way of thinking, an old management style that is no longer appropriate for the 21st century. In fact, it hasn’t been appropriate for 25 years, which is why the Japanese are eating Ford for lunch. It may still be too little, too late, and what about QUALITY and DESIGN, still not a word from Ford.

Do I Need To Become The Guardian For My Disabled Or Elderly Loved One?

Most people have heard the recent news regarding Casey Kasim and the dispute as to who has the legal right to make decisions for him, specifically which family members get to see him. Obviously everyone hopes that they will never end up in a situation like Mr. Kasim. Nonetheless, such situations are common and situations involving caring for a loved one are even more common.When an individual whom you love requires assistance, whether such assistance is required because of disability or age, it is always a stressful and challenging time. The stresses are usually increased as the caretaker role is undertaken and questions begin to arise regarding what rights and limitations the caretaker may have to make decisions on behalf of their loved one. The rights and limitations vary depending upon the legal documents which your loved one has previously executed and the types of decisions which need to be made.Many competent adults, at some point in their life, execute an estate plan. Depending upon the type of estate plan which they have prepared, and who prepares the documents, the estate plan may contain a durable power of attorney for health care decisions and/or a durable power of attorney for financial decisions. A Nevada durable power of attorney for healthcare is designed to allow a competent adult to identify an individual who can make medical decisions on behalf of the adult in the event the adult is unable to make such decisions on their own behalf. The Nevada financial durable power of attorney is designed to nominate someone to make all financial decisions, for example the payment of bills, on behalf of the competent adult executing the document. Obviously both of these documents are very powerful and serious consideration should be given to whom one authorizes to act as their agent when executing the documents. Nonetheless, the execution of these documents allows the nominated agent to take broad action on your behalf and may avoid the need to resort to having a guardian appointed.Despite the power of these documents and the potential for such documents to allow those caring for their loved ones to avoid getting guardianship of their loved one, in some situations guardianship remains necessary. The most common situation in which guardianship is necessary is when neither, or only one type, of durable power of attorney has been executed prior to a loved one being deemed incompetent. In that situation, without an applicable durable power of attorney, and decisions which must be made, guardianship will be necessary. Additionally, in some situations, even when durable powers of attorney have been executed, guardianship is necessary, usually based upon the circumstances and decisions which need to be addressed. For example, when there are concerns regarding potential abuse by the agent nominated, when a third party requests that an individual be appointed as guardian prior to providing services to your loved one, or when there is a dispute regarding who can have access to your loved one, like the case of Mr. Kasim.If you find yourself in the situation where you need to obtain guardianship of a loved one than the legal process to obtain guardianship will require court action. Obviously this can be moderately costly and time consuming. Additionally, it can be embarrassing for your loved one if they understand that they are involved in a court proceeding to have them deemed incompetent and have someone appointed to act on their behalf. Nonetheless, if a guardianship is necessary because of the circumstances your loved one is in, the legal process is not so onerous as to be avoided at the cost of your loved ones well-being.