During an interview on NBC's Today show Tuesday morning, Ford's executive chairman, Bill Ford Jr., answered questions about how the company is responding to the Covid-19 pandemic and looking for creative ways to help. His answer is exactly what every leader should be thinking about right now.

There are actually a few lessons here, but maybe the most important is that answer: "When you're in a situation like this, you do anything you can." Right now, we could all use more thinking like that, and Ford certainly isn't alone. Here's what Ford says the company is focused on.

Four Efforts

"We actually have four big efforts," said Ford. In addition to producing face shields, and 3-D printing N95 masks in-house, the company is working with others to increase their capabilities. Specifically, that includes working with GE to produce ventilators, working with 3M on air-purifying respirators. 

A lot of companies have stepped up to donate products, or--in some cases--reconfigure their facilities to produce needed medical supplies. That's incredibly helpful, but I think it's worth noting that in addition to doing that, Ford is leveraging its capabilities to increase the ability of other companies to do what they do. Ford isn't in the business of making masks, but 3M is. Ford isn't in the business of manufacturing ventilators, but GE is. 

Right now, Ford is modeling what every leader should be doing: figuring out how to use their expertise to quickly solve problems. "We're just going as fast as we can. Nobody's talked about the financial implications because this is a national emergency, we'll sort all of that out later," said Ford, when asked whether the company was making a profit or donating these services.

"You do anything you can."

Looking around, it isn't hard to find opportunities where you can help. You just might have to be a little creative about finding ways to serve your customers, employees, and community. Ford isn't the only company setting this example. There are plenty of businesses stepping up to do the right thing and help.

In Ford's case, we should expect nothing less. As Ford puts it: "We've been around 117 years. We were the arsenal of democracy during two World Wars, we built iron lungs for polio victims. Whenever we're called on, we're there." Right now, we're all being called on.

Published on: Mar 24, 2020
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.