Toyota Leadership Right From Akio Toyoda
Afternoon post planned for today — initial reflections on my reader survey. Thanks to those of you who gave your feedback. Come back or check it out tomorrow. Now this morning’s post:
Which looks more like a team? I’ll take the Toyota image any day.
So to the CEO’s speech:
Toyoda immediately brings up an aspect of Toyota that many don’t know about — their committment to their role in society. And, guess what, that role goes beyond making money.
“Contributing to society” at Toyota means two things. First, it means, “to manufacture automobiles that meet the needs of society and enrich people’s lives.” And second, “to take root in the communities we serve by creating jobs, earning profits and paying taxes, thereby enriching the local economies where we operate.”
Toyota is, of course, currently losing money and Toyoda addresses the way the company has always faced challenges:
So, Toyota has overcome many challenges during its seven decades of business. What has made this possible is the way we make our cars under our “customer first” and “genchi genbutsu” principles.
Rather than re-inventing, Toyoda says it is a time for the company to recommit to its principles. Is that an admission that the company has strayed, or a message to double down and keep doing what has worked before?
Toyoda says he wants “product-focused management” but what he describes sound more customer focused, really.
Rather than asking, “How many cars will we sell?” or, “How much money will we make by selling these cars?” we need to ask ourselves, “What kind of cars will make people happy?” as well as, “What pricing will attract them in each region?” Then we must make those cars.
The final part of his speech touched, again, on people:
At the press conference in January, I talked about my desire to become “a president who is closest to the frontlines, or genba.” I believe that the essence of management lies in the genba, and Toyota employees play a vital role there.
The word “gemba” often gets printed or translated as “genba.” I’m not the expert on Japanese language, but I’ve been taught by Jon Miller that they mean the same thing.
A company’s competitiveness increases when its employees have a chance to develop and improve. There is a phrase we have always had at Toyota that says: “build quality in at each work process.” When each of our employees strives to do that, the result is high-quality cars. So, I believe that the basic principle of management is to think together and develop together with employees so we truly build quality into each stage of our work.
That seems the key to what Toyota often describes as the “Thinking Production System.” Developing people — their problem solving skills, in particular — leads to greater success for Toyota.
These are all principles that can (must?) be applied in healthcare organizations, don’t you think?
- Gemba — *all* leaders go to gemba
- Develop people
- Be customer (patient) focused
- Serve the community
- Be a true leadership team
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