Willie Jolley
Motivational speaker and Authr

Willie Jolley

Award Winning Speaker and Singer, Best Selling Author and host of "The Willie Jolley Motivational Minute" daily on WUSA-Channel 9 and WHUR-FM and The Willie Jolley Show, weekends on XM Radio, Channel 169.

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Revved up and ready

Q: U.S.-made cars are now held in higher regard by American consumers than Asian-made vehicles -- a significant turnaround in public opinion. Is this the result of negative publicity about Toyota or have Ford and other U.S. carmakers made the changes needed to change the perception about their vehicles? How hard is it to transform a person or product's reputation once it's set in people's minds?

Webster's dictionary defines the word opinion as "a view or a judgment formed in a person's mind about a particular issue or product." Today, Ford Motor Company is changing the opinion of the world on the quality of American-made cars.

For many years, the world has seen U.S.-made cars as second rate to vehicles produced in Europe and Asia. Today, however, these negative opinions of American craftsmanship are steadily being changed for the better. The secret behind Ford Motor's improving reputation among consumers around the world is Ford's commitment to obtaining an attitude of excellence.

For years I have spoken on the ability of people and organizations to turn setbacks Into comebacks. In 1999 I authored a book entitled "A Setback Is A Setup For A Comeback" and last year recorded a PBS Special with the same name. Ford Motors stands as a company that has embraced this idea, with stunning results. Today, we stand as witnesses to the stunning comeback of an American icon. I am thrilled and honored to have played a small part in Ford's comeback!

Throughout 2006, Ford struggled with losses of market share and overwhelming internal costs. In the fall of 2006, my office received a call from Ford, requesting my services. During the months of October and November 2006, I traveled from city to city, speaking to Ford's workers about the power of an attitude of excellence.

In 2007, I was invited to Ford's Headquarters in Detroit to record television spots on the subject of excellence. These were later played in Ford's manufacturing plants to motivate and encourage Ford's staff throughout their workdays. In 2008, I commenced a second round of tours to Ford manufacturing plants.

Ford workers took my message to heart and began to forge a new era of Ford Motor Company with an improved outlook and attitude. Simultaneously, Ford's CEO, Alan Mulally, and the Ford team created pioneering ideas for improving the company's products, along with designing innovative marketing strategies to promote the company's new and exciting developments.

By 2009, Ford Motor Company was strong enough to reject a government bailout! As well, within the first quarter of 2010, Ford posted a billion-dollar profit margin! Today, Ford Motor stands as a stellar example of a company that successfully turned a drastic setback into an amazing comeback.

Today's question is "How can one change a person or product's reputation?" My answer is that excellence is always the best way to change a tainted opinion or perspective. If you develop an attitude of excellence and create actions of excellence, I believe you can transform negative opinions into positive ones.

This situation of change is akin to a sports team that has had a reputation as a perennial loser. Examples include the modern-day New Orleans Saints and the Cleveland Cavaliers. But when they decided to pursue excellence with fervor and determination, they transformed their image in the eyes of the world.

Today, Ford Motor Company is doing exactly that, and I believe it is well on its way to winning the "Super Bowl of Comebacks" through its unwavering attitude of excellence.

By Willie Jolley  |  April 26, 2010; 8:58 PM ET  | Category:  Comeback attempts Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Decafdrinker, you say you have owned 2 subarus since those 2 fords. In other words, it has been what - 6, 10 years since you owned a Ford? So you really have no relevant experience with Ford's *turnaround* as opposed to the way Ford *used to be*.

Thanks for playing.

Posted by: JoeSchmoe06 | April 28, 2010 10:51 AM
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The last three Ford products I have owned have been outstanding as to reliability. 1989 Lincoln Town Car 178,000 miles, 1997 Mercury Marqui 135,000 miles and another Town Car 105,000 miles. Neither of these autos had any major repairs needed. I want a new Taurus! Go Ford!

Posted by: donniejl1 | April 28, 2010 10:09 AM
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All the comments seem to suggest that the only Japanese car manufacturer is called Toyota. In fact, they seem to assume that car choices are simply "US or Japanese." Both assumptions are horribly mistaken.

Toyota has suffered a serious set-back in its quality repute. But Ford and GM have suffered (at least) their shares of similar safety issues over time - recall the rolling SUV in Ford's line, only a few years ago?

But there are high quality cars made by other Japanese, Korean and European companies (often manufactured in the US) which have NOT suffered as Toyota's problems.

Too much of the US car company line up is centered on the most profitable vehicles, which are pick-up trucks and SUVs. GM and Ford cannot make a car like the smaller Japanese or Korean cars, except at a loss.

Granted that, over time, the quality of US cars has improved. One could add, "thank God" since it was a national disgrace at one point some years ago. But whether they have closed the gap, much less taken the lead, is a very doubtful proposition.

Posted by: micolpaneur | April 28, 2010 9:10 AM
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I had the misfortune of owning 2 Fords. Both had problems that Ford could not diagnose and repair until after the warranties had expired. Ford also refused to provide a loaner car, even though I had bought a policy that provided one...some nonsense about whether the problem was covered under the regular policy or the extended policy I purchased. I was then stranded in Philadelphia. End result: have since owned 2 Subarus w/virtually no problems and no time spent waiting at the dealership for misinterpretations of warranties.

Posted by: DecafDrinker | April 28, 2010 8:17 AM
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