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Unconventional Leadership: What Henry Ford and Detroit Taught Me about Reinvention and Diversity

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What does it take to lead the successful turnaround of four consecutive organizations? What does it take to run a $4 billion business in Detroit as the city struggles to emerge from municipal bankruptcy and its worst ongoing crisis ever? What does it take to be a female CEO who has come up against discrimination and personal attack? It takes Unconventional Leadership, a st What does it take to lead the successful turnaround of four consecutive organizations? What does it take to run a $4 billion business in Detroit as the city struggles to emerge from municipal bankruptcy and its worst ongoing crisis ever? What does it take to be a female CEO who has come up against discrimination and personal attack? It takes Unconventional Leadership, a style of leadership based on confronting reality and leading headlong through adversity. In this inspiring story, Nancy Schlichting, the CEO of Henry Ford Health System, reveals her unique strategies that drive success: maintaining a focus on people, creating a culture of innovation and reinvention, and embracing diversity as a key strategy for growth. The book describes a leadership paradigm that will motivate, inspire, and drive new thinking in today's disruptive business environment where traditional modes of managing are no longer working. In Unconventional Leadership, Schlichting weaves together three themes that explain how she has become one of the most powerful individuals in healthcare today: (1) deftly conquering the immense challenges within the healthcare industry itself—consolidation, new models of delivery and financing, increasing government regulation and oversight, changing customer expectations, and pressures on cost and quality (2) the exciting and panoramic backdrop of Henry Ford and Detroit—Ford’s legacy of invention and innovation combined with ongoing attempts to restore and renew a city in deep decline; and (3) forging a career path and excelling as a female CEO in a world typically dominated by men. An abiding fan of the underdog, Schlichting reveals, above all else, the sheer grit and determination required to lead through adversity and create a successful legacy of leadership.


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What does it take to lead the successful turnaround of four consecutive organizations? What does it take to run a $4 billion business in Detroit as the city struggles to emerge from municipal bankruptcy and its worst ongoing crisis ever? What does it take to be a female CEO who has come up against discrimination and personal attack? It takes Unconventional Leadership, a st What does it take to lead the successful turnaround of four consecutive organizations? What does it take to run a $4 billion business in Detroit as the city struggles to emerge from municipal bankruptcy and its worst ongoing crisis ever? What does it take to be a female CEO who has come up against discrimination and personal attack? It takes Unconventional Leadership, a style of leadership based on confronting reality and leading headlong through adversity. In this inspiring story, Nancy Schlichting, the CEO of Henry Ford Health System, reveals her unique strategies that drive success: maintaining a focus on people, creating a culture of innovation and reinvention, and embracing diversity as a key strategy for growth. The book describes a leadership paradigm that will motivate, inspire, and drive new thinking in today's disruptive business environment where traditional modes of managing are no longer working. In Unconventional Leadership, Schlichting weaves together three themes that explain how she has become one of the most powerful individuals in healthcare today: (1) deftly conquering the immense challenges within the healthcare industry itself—consolidation, new models of delivery and financing, increasing government regulation and oversight, changing customer expectations, and pressures on cost and quality (2) the exciting and panoramic backdrop of Henry Ford and Detroit—Ford’s legacy of invention and innovation combined with ongoing attempts to restore and renew a city in deep decline; and (3) forging a career path and excelling as a female CEO in a world typically dominated by men. An abiding fan of the underdog, Schlichting reveals, above all else, the sheer grit and determination required to lead through adversity and create a successful legacy of leadership.

30 review for Unconventional Leadership: What Henry Ford and Detroit Taught Me about Reinvention and Diversity

  1. 4 out of 5

    May Ling

    Summary: Less about the turnaround and more about Nancy Schlichting IMO. It's an interesting enough story though. After having read Ford's autobiography, I'm not 100% sure how this book followed Ford's dictates. This may just be the writing style. But for example. P. 14, she writes "Partner for renewal. And this is where she references Ford. But she references the things Ford is saying as relates to paying well. She's talking about how the hospital is a resource for the community. That's not qui Summary: Less about the turnaround and more about Nancy Schlichting IMO. It's an interesting enough story though. After having read Ford's autobiography, I'm not 100% sure how this book followed Ford's dictates. This may just be the writing style. But for example. P. 14, she writes "Partner for renewal. And this is where she references Ford. But she references the things Ford is saying as relates to paying well. She's talking about how the hospital is a resource for the community. That's not quite what Ford was doing/saying. (a stretch). Perhaps she should have just sited what he said in his book about choosing to create the hospital. Weird. p. 43, she uses the Baldridge criteria. I'm surprised. Ford actually had very specific criteria in his book that would have fit better with her whole thesis. Sad. p. 65 - Another missed opportunity. No one was more innovative than Ford. Why not take the chance to draw tighter parallels instead of talking about saying yes? Possibly the best parts of the book have to do with her saying NO to two other opportunities and why. I found that insightful. I also thought it was pretty amazing how she had responsibility at such an early age. At 25, she was already thrust into a role managing a lot of people older than her. Focus on that stuff! Autobiographies are tough. I think she's super remarkable. Overcame a lot and accomplished even more than if she's started out with every advantage. Would have loved to have written her story for her.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Illana

    The author, who I have had the pleasure to both have met and work at the organization she leads, gave great insight into how once you again you do not have to take the clear path to advance your career and goals in life. Great read, I especially enjoyed getting a behind the scenes look at things going on at HFHS.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Codi Limm

    Not a page-turner as it’s not particularly interesting or well-written. Nancy has a lot to be proud of in her career, and her leadership and story are certainly very inspirational for a young, female minority in healthcare administration like myself. However, I feel that this book was more for her to get her thoughts down on paper (essentially a therapeutic journaling exercise) than it is informational on HOW to be an unconventional or effective leader.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Adi Diner

    This review is for the audible version, the narator is not a good fit, she does not comunicate the strength of the writer. I was disapointed as I was expecting more insight into dealing with the chalanges of unconventional leadership.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Corissa

    An interesting read. I was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed this!

  6. 5 out of 5

    Marco Montes de Oca

    A very well written book on how to be a true leader. Nancy M. Schlichting gives a master class on how to be a leader when the things are not ideal. Or even when they are truly going south.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Alysa Medina

    I was hooked just from the title. Unconventional leadership is somewhat taboo in a world that seems to be running at high speeds every day. Nancy's thoughtful approach to leadership is inspiring and able to cross many sectors - this book will be a continuous resource myself as well as for individuals everywhere to gain an understanding of how to be a people-centered, mission-driven and success-focused leader among their peers and colleagues. Nancy makes everyday leadership seem fun again, she ad I was hooked just from the title. Unconventional leadership is somewhat taboo in a world that seems to be running at high speeds every day. Nancy's thoughtful approach to leadership is inspiring and able to cross many sectors - this book will be a continuous resource myself as well as for individuals everywhere to gain an understanding of how to be a people-centered, mission-driven and success-focused leader among their peers and colleagues. Nancy makes everyday leadership seem fun again, she adds enthusiasm to the turnaround process in difficult situations and her ability to mobilize and inspire massive groups, individuals and companies is a lesson that should be being taught to all ranks of leadership in all industries. Bravo!

  8. 5 out of 5

    Linda Donohue

    I received this book through a Good Reads giveaway and would like to thank the author for making the book available. First, the book is a quick read about 135 pages. The author was very fortunate to have worked with leaders who helped nurture her career as woman leaders in the 1980s were few and far between. The book is worth the read to see how she approached her challenges many of which health care leaders are still facing today. Read it for the gems she shares.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Marla Rowe Gorosh

    This was a clear and yet personal journey through high stakes leadership requiring courage and fortitude which I witnessed as I had an opportunity to work at HFHS under Nancy's leadership. The HFHS Equity book group is welcoming Nancy Schlichting to our meeting next Wednesday Sept 28. Let us know if you are coming at the Equity book group site on GoodReads. This was a clear and yet personal journey through high stakes leadership requiring courage and fortitude which I witnessed as I had an opportunity to work at HFHS under Nancy's leadership. The HFHS Equity book group is welcoming Nancy Schlichting to our meeting next Wednesday Sept 28. Let us know if you are coming at the Equity book group site on GoodReads.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Suzette

    I am an employee at Henry Ford Hospital and respect our outgoing CEO, Nancy Schlichting, even more after reading this book. She is such a strong woman and leader. She offers great lessons on turning around struggling health care systems. We will miss her!!

  11. 5 out of 5

    Deborah

  12. 5 out of 5

    Sheri

  13. 5 out of 5

    Tor Martinsen

  14. 5 out of 5

    Melissa

  15. 4 out of 5

    Yasir

  16. 4 out of 5

    Michelle Junod Wallace

  17. 4 out of 5

    Jenai Jackson

  18. 5 out of 5

    Sanjiv Jha

  19. 5 out of 5

    Winston

  20. 4 out of 5

    Trini

  21. 5 out of 5

    Sharon Quiroz

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jason

  23. 5 out of 5

    Becky

  24. 4 out of 5

    Preeti

  25. 4 out of 5

    Paulina Clarke

  26. 4 out of 5

    Hil

  27. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  28. 5 out of 5

    Rob Jefferies

  29. 5 out of 5

    Triguna Saideep Chillara

  30. 4 out of 5

    Arion Williams

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