July 18, 2004

155,000 People Waiting for a Decision

A great interview with Harry Stonecipher about the basics of running a business right. The polished marketing and the associated fluff, may all have their place in this business-as-media-entertainment age, but first things should always come first:

AP: What are the major differences between your leadership and Phil Condit's approach?
STONECIPHER: I think Phil was more deliberate, more patient, more thoughtful. He's one of the smartest people that I've ever known, and tends to be very deliberate - a consensus-builder, I would say. I tend to be pushier, more decisive.
I touch a lot of (Boeing managers) and I constantly tell them that we have 155,000 people that are waiting on us to make up our mind where we're going and what we're going to do. So don't wait on all the lights to turn green - they rarely all turn green. Get the data that you think you need to make a good decision because the only reason you are a leader and a manager ... is you are paid for your judgment. So use it.
And this
AP: How are your relations with the unions now?
STONECIPHER: Very good. A lot better than before. ... People talk about me being anti-union and so forth, (but) I used to have breakfast every morning with a guy who had one of those little contracts in his pocket, whether it was United Mine Workers or United Auto Workers. My father was a member of the unions. I loved him very much. I'm not anti-anything. I tell people sometimes, the only thing I'm anti- is stupidity and dishonesty.