What was the relationship between Charles Rolls (1877-1910) and Henry Royce (1863-1933), of Rolls Royce fame, that is an enduring model for organisational excellence today?

Answer: Charles Rolls was a wealthy, aristocratic sportsman. In the early years of the 20th century he was a balloonist and a pioneering aviator. He was a family friend of the British Royal family, and thus extremely well connected.

Henry Royce, on the other hand, was a dour, UK Midlands electrical engineer who was described as a ‘meticulous engineer’.

Royce was a workaholic. It was not uncommon for his workmen, when they arrived in the morning, to find him in his engineering shop lying asleep over a piece of machinery. He was known to have worked for four days non-stop in his factory without going home.

Rolls Royce today, of course, is perhaps the most famous car name in the world.

These two men had very different, but complementary skills.

Rolls, the marketer, who knew all the right people, could not produce the car.

Royce, the meticulous engineer, had few, if any, selling skills.

One plus one came together. Not to make two. But to produce a star. To create a magical, high quality, stand out team.

They were a brilliant team with different but mutually enhancing balancing skills. Until Rolls’ untimely death in an aeroplane crash in 1910.

Source: The Rolls Royce Story by Reg Abbiss

More at: History

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