Maybe the above reminder of what really matters in the world needs to be stenciled on the clipboard or screen-saver of every manager in the auto industry.
God knows, there have been more than enough dismal incidents of sexism, racism and cultural intolerance in the industry lately to justify some forceful reminding.
Most recently, Asian workers at Ford Motor Co.'s Dagenham plant in England say they have been subjected for years to a daily barrage of racist taunts, assaults and even death threats. One worker claimed at an industrial tribunal in September that he had been forced by supervisors to work in a spray booth without protective clothing.
The tension has led to several walkouts and a near riot that caused hundreds of thousands of dollars of damage to vehicles on the line.
Ford's answer to the problem was to parachute CEO Jac Nasser directly into the fray late last month. The intended message: 'We take this seriously.'
That may be seen as commendable in some quarters but, ultimately, it was the wrong message to send.
Sending in the CEO says, 'This problem is too hot for the locals. This problem can be solved only at the highest level of the company.'
The place to try to solve problems such as Dagenham, of course, is at the lowest levels of the company - at the individual level. And the solution, an attitude of mutual respect, has to be fostered actively and nurtured by local line management.
Our question: Where was local management when all this was happening? The incidents reported at Dagenham should have been stamped on by local management months ago. The problem should have been spotted in its very earliest stages and stopped. Instead, the sore has been allowed to fester, ultimately infecting the entire plant.
Following Nasser's meetings with union leaders late last month, Ford agreed to implement new anti-racism measures at its factories. It will appoint a manager to oversee such issues and will set up committees at each of its U.K. plants to hear disputes and monitor compliance.
At the same time, the company and unions will set up a joint national equal opportunities committee.
The measures are intended to ensure equality of treatment and opportunity in the workplace and guarantee that all workers are free from harassment of any kind.
This formalization and codification of what should be standard behavior may have been necessary, but it's still more than a little sad. Surely 'equality of treatment' is the basic right of all workers, no matter what their color, creed, culture, gender or sexual orientation.
Ford insists it has had a zero-tolerance policy on racism, as any automaker surely does. But Dagenham illustrates yet again how policy can get diluted by the time it reaches the shop floor.
Ford obviously needs to invest more time in training junior managers to spot people problems early and deal with them quickly and effectively. They could start with this premise:
Sure, we build vehicles for a living, but we're only as good as the people who make them. It's all about respect!