As the ex Senior Vicepresident of Toyota Motor Manufacturing stated within the Toyota Way Book: “Until executives give aside their ego and arrogance, get integrated within their teams and lead them, they will keep on wasting their employees extraordinary capabilities. In Toyota we give a top value to our team members and do great efforts to listen to them and to incorporating their ideas in our planning processes.”
All the Toyota principles explained before are quite important but the current one speaks about the importance of delivering highly excellent teams which are motivated and developed. As companies are not superior entities but the result of the sum of all their employees, the current principle will be of superior importance.
At the present time, companies aiming to treat employees as customers (as it should be in all of them), it is more and more common to find assessment, training and development programs tailor-made for each employee. This sort of programs are based on:
- Initial interview to understand the context and current conditions of the employee, ambitions, mid and long term personal and professional targets, how the employee thinks about his/her competencies.
- Detection by the employee manager training gaps which are needed for the excellent performance within his/her position.
- Creation of personal indicators which will be followed-up quarterly/biannually. It is crucial not to skip the meetings and revisions as the employee could think that his/her manager does not give importance
- Creation of an assessment, training and development plan tailor-made.
- Creation of a meetings’ routine where indicators and other qualitative issues are spoken and reviewed.
Companies on the whole and their leaders will find progress when objectives are aligned and people work together to solve common goals.
The best place to start having everyone’s targets aligned is by creating a core group philosophy (speaking about vision, mission and values) and verifying the philosophy is shared, lived, understood, and maintained. The previous statement has to be steered by the top of the pyramid, the Top Management or, otherwise, it will never work.
Having said the basics, we can get to the Principle #9 of The Toyota Way.
“Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others.”
This is one distinct difference between Toyota and nearly every other company, leaders genuinely live the philosophy and have the capability to teach it either by direct methods or by leading by example.
Other huge multinational companies such as Amazon, have created a strong culture with owned principles which are believed an delivered by each manager and they do not stay only in the written. Every day, principles are practiced and by using top-down meetings they are remembered and internalized.
As an example, the fifth Leadership Principle of the Amazon Way is:
Hire and Develop the Best
Leaders raise the performance bar with every hire and promotion. They recognize exceptional talent, and willingly move them throughout the organization. Leaders develop leaders and take seriously their role in coaching others.
That is considerably different from most companies, who hire top talent and hope the new group of top employees will adopt the company philosophies. It’s not that these companies will be unsuccessful when trying to grow and prosper but if the company is focused on building a solid philosophy they would better base their strategy in hiring new fresh faces at the front line level and promoting from within after workers have been part of the company philosophy for an extended period of time.