Tuesday, April 1st, 2008
How Toyota Became #1 was an enjoyable book because it helped me understand how to improve my role as a work happiness writer. There were so many great ideas throughout the book that I contacted the author and asked for a short interview.
David Magee kindly responded with two great answers.
Toyota has a knack for encouraging their employees to stay engaged by empowering them to improve the company. Why do you think American companies struggle to implement such a process?
American companies tend to adopt top level down management where the CEO issues mandates and stressed managers push downward to get them implemented. Toyota fosters more of a grass roots employee contribution whereas the objectives are clearly established and understood company-wide and the tools in place are designed to allow workers of all levels to contribute to these. The result is a downward up system of contribution that provides a power base at the grass roots corporate level.
In your book you write that Toyota thinks about long term instead of short term gains. How do you think American companies can change their culture to embrace the long term value instead of quarter to quarter success?
We are caught up in a CNBC world of business in this company where every blip is seen as critical to a company and it creates more and more of a short term business environment. Every little thing that happens at a company should not be considered “breaking news” and it is contributing increasingly to this shorter term, quarterly attitude where all that matters is what you put on the bottom line today…not what you are doing to build the business long term, into the future. I don’t see this changing any time soon. In fact, I see it getting worse until some CEOs and board members have the courage to work almost solely for the long-term. You are seeing this some now at General Electric..which is positive…and we need to see more.
I hope you enjoyed the short interview and are convinced you to read the book. I suggest you visit you’re local library or buy it at Amazon.
Check out yesterday’s article “How Toyota Became #1 and a Peek into the Short Interview with the Author”