Notes from a Toyota Georgetown Tour


Construction Executive Lessons from the Toyota Visit :: Reforming Project Management

Great post on the Reforming Project Management blog, notes on a TMMK visit, 23 good points and notes about the Toyota Production System.

Here is one that mirrors what I saw at NUMMI, where I saw Toyota with large quality mottos hanging from the rafters:

“Don't hesitate to display banners, mottos, and team improvement projects across the project work site.”

I saw plenty of mottos and slogans posted and hanging on large banners at NUMMI. Considering the influence that W. Edwards “Mr. Eliminate Slogans, Substitute Leadership” Deming had on Toyota, I'm surprised that Toyota uses motivational slogans to such an extent.

At least we would suppose that Toyota isn't relying “only” on slogans. To what extent would you take the Deming teachings? Eliminate “all” slogans or the ones that demotivate people?

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Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.

  1. curiouscat says

    I think the damage of using slogan for Toyota might be minor. In general slogans are bad for several reason including: demotivating employees, stopping management from taking actual action to improve and making management look stupid. Since Toyota actually stand behind their slogans with significant and sustained action (a rarity) these problems may be small. Still I think slogans are a bad idea – risky with very little actual benefit (the way they could be claimed to be a benefit is to focus people’s minds, but only if they are a part of a system of improvement…).

    Most managers using slogans are much more likely to be like Dilbert’s pointy haired boss than Toyota.

    Deming and Dilbert on Slogans (I really do find it annoying that web sites don’t follow the web pages must live forever rule so the dilbert strip is a broken link).

  2. Karen Wilhelm says

    I’d eliminate all slogans coming from an anointed group of people sitting in a conference room somewhere.

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