Become a Learning Organization

May 4th, 2009

The adage that “you get what you measure” is in a sense true at Toyota as well. Toyota long ago realized that the key to organizational learning is to align objectives of all of its employees toward common goals. The underlying value system of Toyota’s culture does that to a great degree. But to get […]

May 3rd, 2009

Believing they can get any behavior they can measure, companies wishing to emulate Toyota’s system often ask me about its metrics. To their inevitable disappointment, they learn that Toyota is not particularly strong at developing sophisticated and common metrics across the company. Toyota measures processes everywhere on the factory floor, but prefers simple metrics and […]

May 2nd, 2009

Teamwork never overshadows individual accountability at Toyota. Individual accountability is not about blame and punishment, but about learning and growing. A key to learning and growing, not only within Toyota but in Japanese culture, is hansei, which roughly means “reflection.” Hansei is a bit of Japanese culture that Toyota recently has been working to teach […]

May 1st, 2009

At Toyota, a five-why analysis is often used as part of a seven-step process they call “practical problem solving.”  Before the five-why analysis can begin, “practical problem solving” requires you to clarify the problem or, in Toyota terminology, “grasp the situation.” Trainers who teach this methodology within Toyota have found the most difficult part to […]

Apr 30th, 2009

An integral part of kaizen is Toyota’s famous five-why analysis. I recall interviewing Yuichi Okamoto, a former Toyota Technical Center vice president, about the secret to the success of Toyota’s product development system. I was expecting a description of a sophisticated process similar to the TPS. Instead, he answered with an underlying tone of sarcasm, […]

Apr 29th, 2009

Unlike most companies, Toyota does not adopt “programs of the month” nor does it focus on programs that can deliver only short-term financial results. Toyota is process oriented and consciously and deliberately invests long term in systems of people, technology, and processes that work together to achieve high customer value. “Systems” are not information systems […]