Create a Constancy of Purpose and Place in History

When I think about Toyota and how it operates, I keep on coming back to quality guru W. Edwards Deming’s famous edict: “Constancy of purpose.” Constancy of purpose explains why, in any given year, if you bet Toyota will make a profit, you will probably win. If you bet that its sales will grow over the year before, you will probably win. You will not see huge growth spurts from one year to the next or major shifts in strategy. You will not see boardroom coups where a new regime takes over and remakes the company. Rather, you will see a slow and steady movement forward year in and year out. This is “constancy of purpose,” as I believe Deming envisioned it, that goes beyond short-term profits and enriching a few executives. The Toyota Way is about adding value to customers, employees, and society. It provides a framework for Toyota to make short-term and long-term decisions, and it rallies employees around a shared purpose that is bigger than any of them.