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Posted on August 17th, 2012, by

Enzo Ferrari was the founder of the Scuderia Ferrari Grand Prix motor racing team and the Ferrari car manufacturer. His company became the world’s leader in manufacturing of sport cars, while the brand of Ferrari is recognizable worldwide. In this respect, the role of its founder and the true leader of the company was particularly important. In fact, Enzo Ferrari had to overcome a number of obstacles on his way to success. He was a very charismatic leader who attempted to take control over the situation, regardless of the circumstances and challenges he faced. To put it more precisely, the creation of a car manufacturing company can be viewed as one of the final stages of the work of Enzo Ferrari as a leader, but, first of all, he was the leader of the Ferrari team. It is important to underline the fact that Enzo Ferrari was keen on races and sport cars. He dreamed of the creation of his own sport team and this goal guided him throughout his life and work.

Enzo Ferrari was insistent in his efforts to create a Formula 1 team that was able to win. He closely cooperated with Alfa Romeo and he managed the development of the factory Alfa cars, and built up a team of over forty drivers. At this point, he meets von Clausewitz’s maxim, according to which the leader should employ all the forces which he can make available with the utmost energy (Case 3), because Enzo Ferrari had managed to create a team having nothing but his enthusiasm and knowledge in the field of car manufacturing and sport. Due to his enthusiasm he united people in the team and found financial resources to fund his project.

Enzo Ferrari proved to be able to have power over other people and his used this power to achieve positive results of his sport team and later of his company. For instance, he managed to reach positive results in Formula 1 after one year of participation in the competitions (Laban, 2002). In this respect, Enzo Ferrari meets another maxim of von Clausewitz according to which the leader should follow up success with the most energy (Case 3). Enzo Ferrari increased his efforts after the first victory to make his team and company stronger. He used all his energy to make the first win as the first step on the way to Ferrari’s championship. As a result, Ferrari’s team became one of the dominant team in Formula 1. Moreover, he was a maximalist and expected that his drivers could achieve the top results in the competition. No wonder he managed to engage in his team such outstanding drivers of the epoch as G. Campari, T. Nuvolari, J.-M. Fangio and others (Laban, 2002).

At the same time, Enzo Ferrari created a positive atmosphere within a team and within his company. What is meant here is the fact that Enzo Ferrari put objectives of the organization he led, either team or company, as the major priorities for all people working within the organization. He was totally concentrated on the achievement of the objectives and demanded other people to be as concentrated on the achievement of the organizational objectives as he was. In such a way, he created the team spirit which strengthened his organization in the most difficult moments.

For instance, Ford Motors offered Enzo Ferrari to buy his share in Fiat, but he refused because he put the goals of his team above material benefits he could gain from the deal with Ford (Schleifer, 1992). The creation of a team spirit had a dubious effect. On the one hand, he managed to unite people in such a way, while, on the other hand, people clearly saw objectives they needed to achieve and worked together for their common objectives.

In such a way, Enzo Ferrari could overcome challenges through the internal power of his organization. However, it is obvious that without Enzo Ferrari the entire team and, later, his company could hardly survive because it was Enzo Ferrari who actually created and maintained these organizations. It was his idea to create the team and the company.

At the same time, the reputation of the company was of the utmost importance for Enzo Ferrari. For instance, after the war he changed the name of his company to Ferrari because his Auto-Avio Construzioni (the name of the precursor of the Ferrari) was associated with collaboration with fascists during World War II. At this point, Enzo Ferrari practically follows the example of von Clausewitz who did not lose time, since by rapidity many measures are nipped in the bud and public opinion is gained in the leader’s favor (Case 3).

Thus, it is possible to define the following characteristics which typical for Enzo Ferrari’s leadership:

  • The charismatic leadership uniting people
  • The passion to sport and cars which made irrelevant material obstacles to the achievement of ultimate objectives of organizations headed by Enzo Ferrari
  • The creation of a team spirit
  • The concerns with the positive public image of the company

In fact, the team spirit and the passion to sport cars persist in the Ferrari till the present moment because, in spite of numerous financial problems and challenges the company have faced since the death of its founder and leader, it still keeps producing exclusive sport cars, maintaining its traditions and principles developed by Enzo Ferrari

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