10 Leadership Mantras to Make Agility and High-Performance a Reality in Your Company

At Actio Global, we had the good fortune to learn from renowned leader, Isao Yoshino about The Managers Role at Toyota. Within these learnings we recognized many of the pillars that continue to sustain our Leadership development practice in high performance organizations over the past fifteen years.


These pillars are:

1. Bad news first! If we don’t face problems, they’ll never be solved.

Transparency is vital to become aware of what customers really need and expect from the company.


When problems are covered up it is the same as withholding knowledge from the rest of the team. It creates a false sense of comfort and control that everything is working as it should.

2. Its not about personal failure, it’s about system failure.

Stop looking for a scapegoat. Pointing fingers at teammates compounds the problem. Instead, seize the opportunity to facilitate constructive teamwork in service to uncovering the systemic root of the problem. Finding out together what, how, when and why the process failed is essential to prevent recurrence.


The goal is to develop collective intelligence about how and when to act, rather than bearing the insecurity of making a wrong decision.

3. A Leadership position means taking responsibility and guiding the team to achieve meaningful objectives.

Many leaders confuse responsibility with power, thinking that the role of a leader is to set demands on the team without setting an example themselves.


A humble leader who understands that to achieve the company’s goals the work of each and every team member counts will far outpace and outperform arrogant management.

4. Good system inherently leads to good results.

There is no true flexibility or agility without a stable, solid management system, developed by the team, which is continually improved in the untiring pursuit of delivering ever better products to customers.


High-Performance is impossible on a value-creation system that is not continuously analyzed and improved by the teams.


The A3 is an excellent method for developing collective intelligence and teamwork.

5. To Solve Each Problem: Execute, Measure, Analyze, and Learn.

Having the analytical skills to recognize and determine how and why something is not working as it should is essential, but it is just the first step.


Falling complacent to analysis and understanding is a trap. Take a step further to execute ideas that enable you to find a way to solve the problem at its root.


Introduce every problem into the continuous cycle of execution, measurement, analysis and learning.


Honoring this cycle of experimentation moves the organization toward agility and high performance.


Learn more about what does experimentation really mean at High-Performance Organizations. 

6. An organization is as good as its members.

Invest in developing your team to strive to offer ever better products and services to customers. Recognize and cultivate talent within your company.


Your associates need to feel that they can grow within your organization and achieve even beyond their personal and professional goals.

7. Being an example is the best speech of a leader.

You simply can’t demand of others what you’d never do yourself.


A leader teaches by experience how to accomplish self-development and the development of others. The quickest way to earn your team’s sincere respect is to authentically lead by example and become the living proof that you do what you say.


Find out what’s behind High-Performance Leadership

8. To perpetuate good results, the team must believe in what it does and why it does it.

There is a prerequisite for this: the company’s culture matches the values of the team members.


There is nothing more harmful to agility and high performance than dissonance between what you do, what you think and what you feel.


When building a team, ensure that the members hearts and minds are harmoniously aligned with the values of the organization.

9. Lead where the important activity is going on: at the Gemba..

Data and facts are an inseparable pair in agility and high performance.


Use the direct experience and reality at the Gemba to understand, together with your team, the current situation- and improve it. Use agile tools to innovate based on a shared understanding of the problems, their causes and the best measure to be tested.


Learn more how to lead at the Gemba, what it is and why it is important 

10. A Leader has two responsibilities: (1) meet the objectives, (2) develop the team to meet them as well.

If the innovation that develops great solutions and products for your customers is the same innovation that grows the team members, you will succeed.


Help your team improve and find better ways

to unleash their full potential.


Now it’s your turn to take matters into your own hands and start working with the fundamentals that define these principles, agility, and high performance in your company to realize initial gains quicker than you think.



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