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Robert Brown on Go Further

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 Ford  V.P. of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Shares Thoughts on the Importance of Building Rapport and Achieving the Company’s Go Further Goal

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DEARBORN - This week, Ford Vice President of Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering Robert Brown shared his thoughts with @Ford Online on the company’s Go Further global brand promise.  Below is an excerpt from that discussion.
Q. How do you describe Go Further to your team?
A. Within the context of One Ford, the way we discuss the brand promise is first of all that we align it with the four pillars, which are Quality, Green, Safe and Smart.  The pillars define our priorities across our product and corporate portfolio.  We reinforce that with the global brand promise, which really communicates our commitment collectively as a team and as a company.  And it is a very powerful statement when you think about it.  Go Further.  What does that imply?  It implies a willingness or intention to build a rapport amongst ourselves within and across skill teams, across business units, with our union partners, our dealers, our customers and the communities in which we live and work, as well as governments and non-government organizations.  And so in that regard there’s a high level of integrity that we expect not only of ourselves, but amongst one another.
Q. Can you give some examples of ways your team has already ‘gone further’?
A. Let me frame it in terms of what I’ll call global transportation systems.  When I think of transportation systems, I tend to think of societal, environmental and economic drivers as the three cornerstones for sustainable development.  In addition to that, I view economic, technological and infrastructure as separate themes.  And activities within those three themes can either progress or restrain progress against our social, environmental and environmental goals.  It’s in that area, the themes of infrastructure, technology and policy, that our team, with support from other skilled team members, can truly engage in helping to move Ford further. 
Q. Are there specific actions that your group has taken to Go Further?
A. Over the past 15 years, members of the SE & SE (Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering) team not only here in the U.S., but even in Europe and now Asia more recently have communicated events where they are assisting the elderly, packaging medical supplies or donating funds for events such as golf outings to various charitable organizations.  But more importantly when it comes to the three themes I mentioned earlier – policy, infrastructure and technology – we, the members of SE & SE, are on the forefront of working with government and non-government organizations to ensure that we’re actually progressing policies and technology deployment in a way that is helpful to achieving social and environmental goals.  But it’s also important to understand that economic goals are important as well, because if we don’t develop wealth, we cannot achieve our social and environmental goals.
Q. How do you believe the Go Further promise distinguishes Ford from its competitors?
A. We are in a unique position when you think about it.  The entire history of our company has involved the Ford family.  And because of that, we have more of a commitment to ensure that we maintain as well as continue to support the legacy that Henry Ford once had. When you think about it, he wanted to share the mobility concept with the masses.  We have to share our experiences.  We need to communicate with one another. And if we do that in a meaningful and positive way, that leads to caring. And then from caring we develop trust.  And the more trust we have in one another, the quicker we can arrive at some very difficult decisions. –For instance, it’s with respect to where the investment dollars should go, product decisions or even decisions around communications or public relations.  Again, I think we’re in a really unique position in that regard.  We are building on a really powerful foundation that has been  part of the company as long as it has existed – not a lot of companies can say that.
Q. How do you feel Go Further contributes to the transformation of Ford? 
A. I think it’s integral to the One Ford plan because again, if you think about our overall objective which is to accelerate profitable growth for all, the only way we can do that is by working together as a team with a single focus.  And that’s really where the trust comes in.  How do you develop trust?  Well that willingness and intention to build rapport is essential to that.  I see it all as a single system and it’s all connected. It may not be connected in a straight line.  In fact, it’s not. There are a number of moving pieces.  Nonetheless, especially if you look at what we’ve achieved together over the last five years, I would have to say we’re making tremendous progress and the commitment that we have to one another with our partners, our communities, our governments, etc. is growing day by day. 
Q. Anything else you would like to share with the Ford team?
A. I would like to take this opportunity to thank each and every one of the Ford employees – our partners in the union, the dealers, the people that we work in our plants, and within the community and government– because it really does take all of us working together to make progress toward our social and environmental goals.  I think Ford is certainly a leader in that area and we’re respected for our willingness to be honest, be progressive and work in a positive way. 




6/14/2012 6:30 AM