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A Better Idea is a 1991 nonfiction book intended to showcase the success of the Ford Motor Company in the 1980s by explaining lessons learned by business practices before and after Donald E. Petersen, a coauthor, joined the company. Peterson eventually became president of Ford.
The main theme of the book is that management oversight had grown too temperamental, punishing employees for making decisions and refusing to let anyone make suggestions for improving productivity. Petersen helped to change the balance of power in the company, allowing lower-level employees more say in day-to-day business and forcing territorial management to accept and consider ideas from all areas of the company. Other themes include the incorporation of team-based problem solving, accountability for quality control, proper recognition of accomplishments throughout the employee system, and the implementation of the Golden Rule: "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you." This last allowed all members of the company to feel as if they were a valuable, necessary part of the company, instead of a disposable clock-puncher.
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