This week the Futurist Hub is keen to propose a post written by Patrick Henz, who is sharing with us some pieces of business wisdom from the Ferrari craftmaker Enzo Ferrari to the… future.
If we want to shape and determine the future, we have to understand the past and present. This is true, as technology and knowledge have incredibly advanced the last 5000 years, but the human being itself with his needs and behaviors is still very similar than in the beginning of this time-frame. This is true for all aspects of life, including business. What was nearly a hundred years ago progressive and successful, still not lost anything for today. This I used as a starting point to write my book “Business Philosophy according to Enzo Ferrari – from motorsports to business”.
Born 1898, he was clearly a leader of the past century. But nevertheless his life stays relevant, as big parts of his business philosophy are shared by today’s leaders as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates or Richard Branson. Interesting here is that these people not only live and lived nearly half a century later than Enzo, but furthermore have and had been active in complete different cultural regions and types of business.
Today Millennials are leaving schools and university to become each day a bigger part of the workforce. This generation is used to their independence and often do not want or can concentrate on just one task at a time. They are used to a “Second Screen”, as tablet or smart phone, and in many cases do not use anymore linear television, but see their preferred programs via stream, whenever and wherever they want. Patience in general is not their strength. For this they need flexibility, but also a special approach to make them part of the work-team. As employers depend on these highly skilled experts, they must offer an attractive environment. On the first look it might be an impossible task to create a work team with strong individualists, but Enzo Ferrari’s legacy shows, that it is reachable. If you analyze it, Millennials already existed in the last century, as their characters are similar to race drivers. Thanks to his emotional intelligence, Enzo Ferrari mastered integrating his drivers, varying between different leadership styles, creating a myth and values, implementing unifying symbols and used for each employee the adequate motivator, independent if plant worker or race driver. The star was not the individual, but the whole organization. Sometimes this was complained by the drivers, but at the end let to the situation that nearly each driver’s dream is not only to win the championship, but to do this with a Ferrari car.
Enzo Ferrari understood himself as artist and his goal was to create a perfect work, the perfect race car, “a car that can fly”. “I should like to put something new into my cars every morning.” As child, before getting the idea to become a race driver, he wanted to be an opera singer. Still later he comprehended manufacturing as the art to build hand-made cars. Until the 1960’s hardly one of his cars had been identical to an earlier one. This as the company tailored them after the individual client’s order, but also Enzo always included new ideas to build better cars. For this it is understandable that he never became a friend of the automated factory production. He understood that it was the necessary next step for the company, but as it was not inside his nature, he searched for a partner and found it in 1969 with the Fiat Corporation.
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Enzo never became a friend of industrial production. Ironically is that today’s and tomorrow’s production seems to give his approach a comeback:
- Content is liberated from physical storage mediums as CD, DVD, books and newspaper. This means that content does not have to be static, but can be in a flow to be adapted when necessary. Articles at news portal can be rewritten as soon as new information is available. With this tablets have an advantage against printed daily newspapers. Even if here the effect is most obvious, it affects also other media: books can printed on demand and musicians do not have to create a whole album, but can release continuously their songs.
- New production possibilities, including 3D-printers, but also in business administration as artificial intelligence, give small scale companies & production a possibility to compete with the mass producers. A good example is today the electric car manufacturer Tesla, but can go much further than that.
- Needs and wishes from today’s and tomorrow’s generations create new solutions to old topics. Often these ideas come from companies outside the traditional market. Apple revolutionized the music sector, Uber takes on the established Taxi business and online sales is slowly replacing the established department-stores.Some established companies will not be able to change and adapt, but for the consumer it is a change to see again more diversity. This offers new perspectives for artists, startups and craftsmen to challenge the big global players.
Enzo Ferrari underlined the quality of his complete work force: “What we do here is elite work.” This mentioned “elite work” is not just a sign of respect from the employees to the employer and the other way around. Furthermore it is a sign of respect of the whole company towards its clients. Respect is the key to business success; yesterday, today and tomorrow.
These are only a few of the aspects, which make his life an inspiration for today and tomorrow, to be to discovered on more than 270 pages, including many photos of his famous creations.
Henz, Patrick (2016): Business Philosophy according to Enzo Ferrari: from motorsports to business
272 pages, 4th edition, aix books, book & ebook
contact: Twitter: Patrick_Henz