Sunday, October 7, 2012

Toyota and Taking Action!

"We place the highest value on actual implementation and taking action.  There are many things one doesn't understand and therefore, we ask them why don't you just go ahead and take action; try to do something?  You realize how little you know and you face your own failures and you simply can correct those failures and redo it again and at the second trial you realize another mistake or another thing you didn't like so you can redo it once again.  So by constant improvement, or, should I say, the improvement based upon action, one can rise to the higher level of practice and knowledge.  - Fuijio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation, 2002" (Liker, 2003)

I love this line from Fuijio Cho, coincidentally it's the first quote in the first chapter by Jeffrey Liker's book "The Toyota Way".   Learning through cool is that?  I am anything but a patient person, and the struggle I fight everyday is people afraid to make a decision.  This comes from both sides of the wall (more like every way you look).  Customers afraid to make a decision on a spec, employees afraid to make a decimation on a part or piece, managers afraid to make a decision on occurs constantly.

Now, is this always the wrong thing, is it always bad to not make a decision...of course not.  But not making a decision causes waste.  It's waste for an employee to ask a manager or another employee, it's waste for a manager to ask a director, it's waste for a director to defer to a higher power.  Whats more wasteful (and i'll say the most) is being 100% sure, what's it cost to be 100% sure? A lot!

I'm definitely guilty of all this, and what I watch from observing myself (80% of the time) is that I know what decision I want to make, but i'm looking for reinforcement.  It doesn't matter in the end, the decision was either right or wrong, but having that backup or that sign off or that email we can use to eliminate any personal wrong doing at a later date is important to us.

Going back to the quote, we need to fail...we need it!  We need to be yelled at (in my opinion) or know that we made a bad call.  What i've noticed in a great employee vs an "Ok" one, the good one's make more decisions, and are confident in their ways.  Do they make bad decisions  absolutely  but we trust them to make more and when they screw up take the honest feedback.

So the art of failing is absolutely critical! Do it often