The Toyota Way - 14 Management Principles - by Jeffrey Liker
The Toyota Way - 14 Management Principles - by Jeffrey Liker

The Toyota Way, explains Toyota s unique approach to Lean management the 14 principles that drive Toyota s quality and efficiency-obsessed culture. You’ll gain valuable insights that can be applied to any organization and any business process, whether in services or manufacturing. You’ll discover how the right combination of long-term philosophy, processes, people, and problem-solving can transform your organization into a Lean, learning enterprise the Toyota Way.

Principle 8. Use only reliable, thoroughly tested technology that serves your people and processes

Use technology to support people, not to replace people. Often it is best to work out a process manually before adding technology to support the process. New technology is often unreliable and difficult to standardize and therefore endangers flow. A proven process that works generally takes precedence over new and untested technology.

Conduct actual tests before adopting new technology in business processes, manufacturing systems, or products. Reject or modify technologies that conflict with your culture or that might disrupt stability, reliability, and predictability.

Nevertheless, encourage your people to consider new technologies when looking into new approaches to work. Quickly implement a thoroughly considered technology if it has been proven in trials and it can improve flow in your processes.

Principle 9. Grow leaders who thoroughly understand the work, live the philosophy, and teach it to others

Grow leaders from within, rather than buying them from outside the organization. Do not view the leader’s job as simply accomplishing tasks and having good people skills. Leaders must be role models of the company s philosophy and way of doing business.

A good leader must understand the daily work in great detail so he or she can be the best teacher of your company s philosophy.

Principle 10. Develop exceptional people and teams who follow your company’s philosophy

Create a strong, stable culture in which company values and beliefs are widely shared and lived out over a period of many years.

Train exceptional individuals and teams to work within the corporate philosophy to achieve exceptional results. Work very hard to reinforce the culture continually.

Use cross-functional teams to improve quality and productivity and enhance flow by solving difficult technical problems. Empowerment occurs when people use the company s tools to improve the company.

Make an ongoing effort to teach individuals how to work together as teams toward common goals. Teamwork is something that has to be learned.

Principle 11. Respect your extended network of partners and suppliers by challenging them and helping them improve.

Have respect for your partners and suppliers and treat them as an extension of your business.

Challenge your outside business partners to grow and develop. It shows that you value them. Set challenging targets and assist your partners in achieving them.

Principle 12. Go and see for yourself to thoroughly understand the situation (genchi genbutsu)

Solve problems and improve processes by going to the source and personally observing and verifying data rather than theorizing on the basis of what other people or the computer screen tell you.

Think and speak based on personally verified data.

Even high-level managers and executives should go and see things for themselves, so they will have more than a superficial understanding of the situation.

Principle 13. Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly (nemawashi)

Do not pick a single direction and go down that one path until you have thoroughly considered alternatives.

When you have picked, move quickly but cautiously down the path.

Nemawashi is the process of discussing problems and potential solutions with all of those affected, to collect their ideas and get agreement on a path forward. This consensus process, though time-consuming, helps broaden the search for solutions, and once a decision is made, the stage is set for rapid implementation.

Principle 14. Become a learning organization through relentless reflection (hansei) and continuous improvement (kaizen)

Once you have established a stable process, use continuous improvement tools to determine the root cause of inefficiencies and apply effective countermeasures.

Design processes that require almost no inventory. This will make wasted time and resources visible for all to see. Once waste is exposed, have employees use a continuous improvement process (kaizen) to eliminate it.

Protect the organizational knowledge base by developing stable personnel, slow promotion, and very careful succession systems.

Use hansei (reflection) at key milestones and after you finish a project to openly identify all the shortcomings of the project. Develop countermeasures to avoid the same mistakes again.

Learn by standardizing the best practices, rather than reinventing the wheel with each new project and each new manager.


Here’s hoping one of the 14 principles resonated with you.

For a recap on the first 7 principles, check out part 1

For another collection of business principles, check the 8 part series on Brian Tracy’s 100 Unbreakable Laws of Business Success

Part 1: The laws of life

Part 2: The laws of success

Part 3: The laws of business

Part 4: The laws of leadership

Part 5: The laws of money

Part 6: The laws of selling

Part 7: The laws of negotiating

Part 8: The laws of time management


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