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Lee Iacocca, The Man With The Plan Print
Lee Iacocca, the son of a poor immigrant, has become one of America's most respected business men. From lowly beginnings and through many adversities, he worked his way up to President of the Chrysler Corporation.

Just out of college, he began working for the Ford Motor Company as a student engineer. On the assembly line, he learned every aspect of how automobiles were put together.

Although he was awkward and bashful, Lee was promoted to a salesman. It was there that he met a man who took him under his wings and taught Iacocca how to be the best salesman he could.

In 1956 sales were slumping at Ford. Iacocca suggested offering a new 1956 Ford for a modest down payment, followed by three years of $56 payments. The "56 for 56" idea took off like a rocket.

After 10 long years of hard work, Lee had become an "overnight success."

Soon he was promoted to work as manager for Ford's national truck marketing, then another promotion to head the company's car marketing.

Not stopping there, Iacocca set out to develop his own style of car. In 1964 Ford introduced the Mustang. Ford dealerships were literally mobbed with people wanting to buy the car and a new yearly sales record was established.

In 1970, Lee was promoted to the ultimate position, President of Ford Motor Company, second in command under Henry Ford II.
Never wanting to stop at success, he kept coming up with innovative and cost cutting ideas.

But, trouble lay ahead.

Ford was in control, like it or not, and he liked to exercise that control whatever the consequences might be. Ford began to worry about this "son of an immigrant" taking over the family business.

It was salami slicing time at Ford. And Henry did it one slice at a time. Finally, Lee learned through a friend that he too had gotten the axe.

Under the terms of resignation, Iaccoca was given an office until he found a job. It turned out to be in an obscure warehouse. A little cubicle with a small desk, one telephone, and cracked linoleum on the floor.

For Iaccoca it was like being sent to Siberia.

It wasn't long before he was offered the Presidency of Chrysler Corporation. Not exactly a cushy position. Chrysler was in trouble, big trouble. The same day Chrysler announced the hiring of Lee Iaccoca, they also announced their worst deficit in history.

The internal affairs at Chrysler were a mess. This was a company that was going to the dogs, and going there fast.

Rolling up his shirt sleeves, Lee went to work trying to bring some manner of cohesion to the upper level management. Then he hired a top notch public relations firm to get back customer confidence.

Things still didn't get any better. To make matters worse, the world economy in 1979 was falling apart. Gas prices were doubling and the fuel efficient import cars were taking over domestic sales.

Chrysler got hit hard.

Iaccoca's company was going under and he knew it. There was only 1 course for him to take. He went to the US Government seeking loans for a bail out. Congress was not impressed, but Lee had done his homework. He argued that if Chrysler collapsed it would cost the country $2.75 billion dollars alone in unemployment benefits.

His speech before the US Congress was so convincing, that Iacocca and Chrysler got their loans.

In his fight for survival, Lee cut his own salary to $1 a year. Everybody in management got a salary cut except for the secretaries, who Iaccoca believed deserved every cent they made.

Next he took on the union and said: "Look boys, I've got a shotgun to your head. I've got thousands of jobs at seventeen bucks an hour. I've got no jobs open at twenty."

The company began an all-American ad campaign to promote their new fuel efficient K-car. The car soon began to sell like hot cakes.

His persistence and "never give up" attitude and his willingness to do whatever measures it took to ensure the viability of the company worked. Chrysler paid back the loans a full seven years ahead of their due date.

Lee Iacocca had become a roaring success.

His thoughts are:

"Apply yourself. Get all the education you can, but then, by God, do something! Don't just stand there, make something happen. It isn't easy, but if you keep your nose to the grindstone and work at it, it's amazing how in a free society you can become as great as you want to be. And, of course, also be grateful for whatever blessings God bestows on you."

Copyright © 2001, Dave Cole http://choosetoprosper.com/

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