We Place the Highest Value…

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.

~~Fujio Cho, President, Toyota Motor Corporation, 2002

I just started reading The Toyota Way by Jeffrey K. Liker one more time.  This quote is at the beginning of the first chapter and it really jumped out at me this time.  It probably should not be too surprising that the President of the company that defines Lean Thinking would speak this way.  It’s clear to me that Fujio Cho embraces the Deming Cycle (PDCA) and understands what it means to be a learning organization.

Do you think that there are many companies that support and encourage reasonable risk taking?  Do you see many companies that really have the patience to live the Deming Cycle and to be a learning organization?

Please share your thoughts and experiences below.


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About Christian Paulsen

Christian Paulsen is an Executive Consultant with 20 years of Lean Manufacturing. Chris adds value to organizations by driving process improvement and bottom line savings. Chris intends to help others by sharing the lessons learned after a quarter century of operational leadership, marriage, parenting, and even longer as a Cubs fan. Your comments on this blog are welcome. You can also connect with Chris via LinnkedIn, Twitter, and Facebook in the right sidebar. Chris welcomes your comments. Christian's professional services are available by contacting him through LinkedIn (right side bar)
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2 Responses to We Place the Highest Value…

  1. Mark Welch says:

    Interestingly enough, Cho’s quote, if taken out of context, might appear to be endorsing what you dubbed “The Silly Cycle,” or “Do Do Do Do.” Or more appropriately in this case, “Do Check, Do Check, Do Check.”

    Sadly enough, though, my experience has been that it’s the rare organization that truly has the patience to thoroughly PDCA because of Management ADD, which is focused on short-term ROI and doesn’t want to take the time to do it right. Too much MBO. Too results focused (just get me good results) and not enough interest in becoming a learning organization and learning to solve problems the right way. I’m sorry to say that this perspective, in my experience, pervades manufacturing, where I spent 13 years, and healthcare, where I’ve been for over 6 years. I’ll bet some of you reading this have read Liker and Hoseus’ “Toyota Culture” as well. In Chapter 1, page 21, they point out that United States culture is significantly short-term focused as compared with the rest of the world. It’s no surprise then, to see most American organizations not having the patience to PDCA well – to become learning organizations. There’s not enough immediate gratification.

    • You are right, Mark. I hadn’t thought of it because it was all very much in context within The Toyota Way. I would think that he gets it after all those years at Toyota. You commentary on American management is all too accurate. Thanks for you comments. It’s always good to hear your thoughts.

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