If Ferrari can change, can’t the rest of us?

When it comes to Formula 1, there’s one car marque that carries more weight than any other. Ferrari has the history, the record and an iconic status that epitomises motorsport greatness. So, being so completely blown away by Mercedes over the last few seasons must have been pretty tough to take.

Last season was supposed to be different, with great promises made at the start of the year, but Ferrari failed to win a race. A year later and things seem to be different. Three races into the season and Ferrari has won two of them. So what changed?

Sergio Marchionne, CEO of Ferrari, got involved.

He began a full investigation into how things worked at Ferrari’s Maranello factory. He personally interviewed many staff, not just the bosses, wanted to know their thoughts on why Ferrari could not compete with the best British-based teams, and asked for an explanation about why they had a reputation for lack of imagination and innovation in F1 design.

Marchionne decided the design department needed to be restructured, to free up some of the more creative minds and make a less top-down structure.

He identified, he has said, about 20 key “high-potential individuals” to promote and harness. Management was reorganised; the format of meetings, too.

The idea was to make design more flexible, to ensure all ideas were discussed and make the group more open to suggestions. And to encourage a greater sense of ownership and responsibility among a much wider array of people, to avoid the usual Ferrari problem of people keeping their heads down so they could not be blamed for failure.

From BBC Sport

Looking in from the outside, I see Ferrari as a car company that has great traditions that mark them out from many other manufacturers. The problem is when those traditions stopped them from succeeding in the things they want to achieve. Formula 1 being one of them.

It can’t have been easy to have meetings reformated, or the design team restructured. I’m sure there were individuals, who had been giving their all for the success of Ferrari, that were moved to the side, or out of the door. It’s probable that some of those given a voice hadn’t been around in the company for very long and probably didn’t do everything in the ‘Ferrari way’. But, they were what was needed to make the Ferrari Formula 1 team a success again.

I think this is a pretty good illustration of where structures needed to change, and new voices needed to be heard, in order to achieve a different result. I wonder where else this illustration could apply?

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