The Toyota Way – Principle 10

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

«Respect for people and constant challenging to do better—are these contradictory? Respect for people means respect for the mind and capability. You do not expect them to waste their time. You respect the capability of the people. Americans think teamwork is about you liking me and I liking you. Mutual respect and trust means I trust and respect that you will do your job so that we are successful as a company. It does not mean we just love each other».
Sam Heltman,
Senior Vice President of Administration Tyota Motor Manufacturing, North America (one of the first five Americans hired by Toyota)

When talking to someone from Toyota about the Toyota System you can hardly avoid being told about the importance of teamwork. All systems are there to support the team doing its value-added work, but it´s not teams who do value-added work, it´s the people who do it. Teams coordinate work, motivate and learn from each other. Teams suggest innovative ideas, control even by peer pressure. However, for most people, it is more efficient to do the actual work necessary to make the product. Teams can coordinate in meetings but, in most cases, you cannot get a lot of detailed work done if people spend all their time in meetings.

Toyota assumes that if you make teamwork the foundation of the company, people will put their hearts and souls into making the company successful. The Toyota System was originally known as “respect for the humanity system. When you´ll read about this topic, you will notice that the Toyota Way has little to do with lavishing goodies on people whether they earn them or not, in fact it is about challenging and respecting people at the same time.

Subscribe to get the weekly abstract of the 14 principles of the toyota way

In the Toyota Way, those who perform the value-added tasks are the ones who are most familiar with the real work and the real problems that affect the work. Since Toyota aims to add value to its customers and it is the team members who do the value-added work, so it´s the team members who are at the top of the hierarchy. The rest of the hierarchy is there to support them. In the next line of action are the team leaders, employees who work in the line but have the possibility of a small promotion. The team leader cannot take disciplinary action, but is there to support the team members. The front-line supervisor is the group leader, responsible for leading and coordinating various groups.

Satisfy lower level needs and move employees up the hierarchy toward self actualization.Job security, good pay, safe working conditions satisfy lower level needs. Culture of continuous improvement supports growth toward self actualization.
Eliminate “dissatisfiers” (hygiene factors) and design work to create positive satisfiers (motivators).5S, ergonomics programs, visual management, human resource policies address hygiene factors. Continuous improvement, job rotation, and built-in feedback support motivators.
TAYLOR’S SCIENTIFIC MANAGEMENTScientifically select, design standarized jobs, train, and reward with money performance relative to standards.All scientific management principles followed but at the group level rather than individual level and based on employee involvement.
BEHAVIOR MODIFICATIONReinforce behavior on the spot when the behavior naturally occurs.Continuous flow and andon creates short-lead times for rapid feedback. Leaders constantly on the floor and providing reinforcement.
GOAL SETTINGSet specific, measurable, achieveable challenging goals and measure progress.Sets goals that meet these criteria through hoshin kanri (policy deployment).
Continuous measurements relative to targets.
Source: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the
World’s Greatest Manufacturer, Jeffrey K.Liker

The ActioGlobal team recommends you to read Jeff Liker’s bestseller, The Toyota Way. Following the reading, experimentation on the Gemba will provide the real learning.

Have a video Call when it suits you best.


Discover tailor-made transformations by ActioGlobal®


We give you the 14 keys to promote a lean culture in your organization.