The Patriots are like Toyota?

Unbeaten Patriots see room for improvement – NFL – Yahoo! Sports

The above headline blew me away this morning. The Patriots have basically been perfect this year. Tom Brady is completing 80% of his passes. They’ve won every game by about 3 touchdowns. Experts think they will 16-0.

Yet the coach says:

“It could be better.”

Is that the key to their success? Do they have an attitude that pushes them toward the pursuit of perfection?

Isn’t this very Toyota-like? Recognize, “yeah, we’re good,” but never rest on that, always try to get better.

That was the story my GM plant manager told us in 1996 — we are going to get better with Lean (I mean “competitive manufacturing,” don’t say Lean!!), but Toyota is still getting better. They have the lead. We have to improve faster than they are improving, if we’re going to catch them.

Toyota never stops improving. They are their own harshest critics. Pretty amazing, huh? They aren’t perfect, they are first to admit that, if you listen to their executives.

I think that attitude is one of the hardest things to copy when we’re trying to get Lean.

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Mark Graban's passion is creating a better, safer, more cost effective healthcare system for patients and better workplaces for all. Mark is a consultant, author, and speaker in the "Lean healthcare" methodology. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. His most recent project is an book titled Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also the VP of Improvement & Innovation Services for the technology company KaiNexus.

2 Comments

  1. Ron Pereira says

    Yeah, most teams would be 16-0 when they cheat by recording their opponents hand signals!

    Wait… maybe they were using TPS principles of video to study the process… you know how Toyota studies changeovers, etc.

    Nah… they were cold cheating.

    And just wait till old Romo lights them up for half a hundred in a couple of weeks!

    Ha! Just kidding. I could care less about the NFL. It’s all about college football!

    GO BUCKS beat Meatchicken for the 6th time in 7 years… but first beat Purdue on the road in a night game. Yikes… this one if gonna be a tough one.

  2. Bob Graban says

    Yeah, I was going to say they need to improve their method of stealing opponents defensive signals (competitive benchmarking?) now that they don’t have real-time video, but Ron beat me to that one.

    Maybe they can improve in the area of ethics and awareness of the rules (“we didn’t know we couldn’t do that”)

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