Principle #1 of Toyota Way: “Base your management decisions on a long-term philosophy, even at the expense of short-term financial goals.”
The first and perhaps the most important principle of Toyota is the hardest one to implement as it need the whole company to be engaged on a cultural-based change.
Most companies and organizations don’t have a long-term philosophy because they are simply trying to survive in the current moment. It’s really difficult to do lean if you have no money and you have no customers to serve. Survival in the immediate term has to be the priority. Who cares about six months down the road if you’re not sure you’ll last through the week?
Long-term plans may take years to implement to the fullest extent, but their purpose is to create a foundation for long-term growth and sustainment. And sometimes that means doing so at the sacrifice of short-term wins that did not fit with the plan.
Example: The Board of Directors of an important automotive TIER1 company decide to start the design and implementation of a program to assess and develop their employees. With this long-term program they want to boost motivation and therefore the operational results besides fulfilling their employees needs in both professional and personal areas.
The program will consist in a first self-evaluation done by all the employees which will be the starting point for the management team to know the idea their associates have about the reality of the company.
After the first point, there will be a thorough communication from management to the whole company about this program, where is our goal?, how are we going to reach the goal?, once we reach this goal, then what? how will I be rewarded? which will be the benefits for the employees and company? how is it going to be followed-up?
Afterwards, visual management will be displayed throughout the company so as all the teams are able to check on a daily basis the different Key Process Indicators.
Short starting meeting will be held in order to speak about corrective, preventive action together with lessons learned, success stories and safety issues.
Every quarter, an hour meeting will be maintained with each employee to follow-up their personal result and give light about the global situation of the company even giving information about other departments. The aim is to engage the employee and being transparent in order to avoid gossiping or time-loosing activities such us thinking about uncertainties.
These kind of programs are widespread all over the industrial companies and delivering great results on those whose Managers give the exact importance it has for the development and sustainability of the company.