I love my lunch time chats with coworkers and I know they are anything but typical. We get into some interesting subjects and I always seem to take away at least one thing every lunch hour. Somehow the topic of Ferrari’s came up a few months ago and after doing some fact checking I found what they told me to not only be true, but also inspirational and amusing. I wasn’t aware Ferruccio Lamborghini started his career building tractors. He had a passion for sports cars and Mr. Lamborghini wasn’t satisfied with the quality and performance of his Ferrari so he requested a meeting with Mr. Enzo Ferrari himself. I love the story of Mr. Ferrari and Mr. Lamborghini meeting because it helps demonstrate why leaders need to listen and respond to the feedback they are provided. If you fail to listen you leave the door wide open for others to stop telling you and to start showing you what they want. In some instances what is requested is in fact a better way of doing things and if those who were trying to give you feedback to help you stop telling you and start showing you, they can become your most fierce rival.
Below is an extract from Wikipedia of what happened in the meeting with Mr. Ferrari and Mr. Lamborghini:
“The exchange between Ferrari and Lamborghini is often cited as the latter’s inspiration for founding a carmaker in the first place, but it is as much the stuff of legend and myth as it is a factual occurrence. In the 1991 Thoroughbred & Classic Cars interview, Lamborghini said that after the clutch problems endured, “I decided to talk to Enzo Ferrari. I had to wait for him a very long time. ‘Ferrari, your cars are rubbish!’ I complained. Il Commendatore was furious. “Lamborghini, you may be able to drive a tractor but you will never be able to handle a Ferrari Properly.’ This was the point when I finally decided to make a perfect car.” Later re-tellings of the story center around several basic points: Lamborghini visited Ferrari; proceeded to challenge, demand improvements, or deride Ferrari; and finally was dismissed as a mere tractor manufacturer. Whether the industrialist’s spite was enough of a reason to enter the carmaker business, or if the exchange inspired further business interests or merely served as an anecdote, is unknown. Sackey writes that the economic motives for entering the high-profit-margin sports car business far outweighed Lamborghini’s personal sentiments. In the T&CC interview, Lamborghini notes that “Ferrari never spoke to me again. He was a great man, I admit, but it was so very easy to upset him.”
Long live the Lamborghini…