The contradictions drive Toyota to a state of disequilibrium, propelling it away from its comfort zone and instilling healthy tension and instability within the organization. This tension becomes the catalyst for movement forward, finding new solutions beyond contradiction, not in compromise or balance, but in higher levels of performance, as we have emphasized repeatedly. The first step to emulate Toyota is to recognize that contradictions, opposites, and paradoxes are a way of life within the company. Toyota relentlessly pits opposing forces against each other to realize continuous innovation and constant renewal.
Should you emulate Toyota's extreme performance model? We think you should, because it is a very human model of business management where each employee forms a vital part of the organization whole. Being human, it is an incomplete model. Being incomplete, there is room for change and renewal. Toyota's extreme performance model is the closest business management model that mirrors human life. Charles Handy says the following about life, which applies equally well to the extreme model we postulated: "Life will never be easy, or perfectible, or completely predictable.... To make it livable at all levels, we have to learn to use the paradoxes—to balance contradictions and inconsistencies—as an invitation to find a better way."
Be forewarned. Living with contradictions, opposites, and paradoxes is not easy. However, once you pass the threshold, you will ...