Doofus and Leanie Cartoon #4 – GM vs. Toyota


It has been a while since I've collaborated with artist Ed Butler on a “Doofus and Leanie” cartoon (Ed was also the artist for Wii Lean and the satirical “Lean Sensei” app. The recent reactions of GM (layoffs) and Toyota (no layoffs) to the production shutdowns caused by parts shortages caused by the Japan earthquake and tsunami  couldn't be any more polar opposites of each other. Hence the following cartoon.

Cartoons can be accessed via, which forwards to its own blog with its own RSS feed if you want to follow them specifically. As always, click for a larger view.

Text by Mark Graban, Artwork by Ed Butler:

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Great article about Toyota utilizing people during the plant shutdowns:

    “Mr. Cho told me, ‘Always remember that management should work for team members, instead of team members working for management. We should always show respect for every individual, and we need to make sound decisions locally because no one knows what’s best for your team members in your own culture better than you,'” James recalled. “And I’ve never forgotten that, and I’ve patterned my management style to demonstrate my belief in that simple truth.”

    and more practically:

    And during production lulls, Toyota kept employees busy by offering additional training, devoting time to continuous-improvement projects and providing them paid time off to volunteer in the community, James said.

    “We also used the downtime for environmental, OSHA and diversity training as well as improving problem-solving skills and standardized work,” James said.


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