TOYOTA’S TEAM CULTURE
Many companies proudly promote their team culture. At Toyota, the promotion seems sincere. Team work is one of Toyota’s core values, along with trust, continuous improvement, long term thinking, standardization, innovation and problem solving. The firm’s value statement says the following “To ensure the success of our company, each team member has the responsibility to work together, and communicate honestly, share ideas and ensure team member’s understanding.” So how does Toyota’s culture reflect its emphasis on teamwork? First, although individualism is a prominent value in Western culture, it is deemphasized at Toyota. In its place is an emphasis on systems, in which people and products are seen as intertwined value streams and people are trained to be problem solvers so as to make the product system leaner and better. Second, before hiring, Toyota tests candidates to ensure they are not only competent and technically skilled but also oriented towards teamwork – able to trust their team, be comfortable solving problems collaboratively, and motivated to achieve collective outcomes. Third, not surprisingly, Toyota structures its works around teams. Every Toyota employee knows the adage “All of us are smarter than any of us”. Teams are used not only in production process but also at every level and in every function: in sales and marketing, in finance, in engineering, in design, and at executive level. Fourth, Toyota considers the team to be power center of the organization. The leader serves the team, not the other way round. When asked whether he would feature himself in advertisement the way other automakers had, Toyota USA’s CEO, Yuki Funo, said, “No. We want to show everybody in the company. The heroes. Not a single person.” Questions:
a. Do you think Toyota has succeeded because of its team oriented culture, or do you think it would have succeeded without it?...
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