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Become a Learning Organization

Process vs. Results Orientation: The Role of Metrics

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 […]

Hansei: Responsibility, Self-Reflection, and Organizational Learning

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.” […]

“Practical Problem Solving” in Seven Steps

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 […]

Getting to the Root Cause by Asking “Why?” Five Times

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 […]

The Principle: Identify Root Causes and Develop Countermeasures

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, […]