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Creative Execution: What Great Leaders Do to Unleash Bold Thinking and Innovation by Eric Beaudan

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Toyota’s Rise to Power

The story of Toyota, in many ways, parallels the history of Japan. For centuries, Japan had remained an isolated country that strictly forbade its citizens from trading with the West. Then in 1853, Commodore Matthew Perry led an expedition of five steam-powered ships to Japan with the aim of convincing the Japanese emperor to conduct limited trade with the United States. The Japanese, who had never seen a steam-powered ship, thought Perry’s vessels looked like “giant dragons puffing smoke.”4 Perry spent six months anchored in Edo Bay off Tokyo, pressing his demands for Japan to enter into a commercial relationship with the United States and refusing to deal with lesser officials. When the emperor finally sent his personal ...

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