2.1. Forces of Expansion

"This is how we do things here," is a common refrain in every organization with its own operational momentum. Preordained practices help a company keep moving along planned trajectories with routine methods that are known to have worked in the past. These methods become standardized and create efficiencies that prevent reinvention of the wheel. Over time, they become part of the corporate culture. Those methods can also lead to rigidities that interfere with necessary modifications or the adoption of new practices that could improve operations.

Such rigidities are challenged by the pressure exerted on an organization to reach new customers as well as new market segments and geographic areas, not to mention the challenges of competitors, new ideas, and new practices. Toyota embraces these pressures to instigate continuous change and improvement, resulting in expansion and diversification of its activities into even more layers of complexity. The company grows by deliberately subjecting itself to expansive forces for change (Figure 2.1).

Impossible Goals

Impossible goals infuse the organization with the motivation to break free of established routines and try new things. This is usually what starts a cycle of evolution at Toyota and is normally expressed as a social value. When Kiichiro Toyoda, the founder of the Toyota Motor Corporation, decided to enter the automobile business, his goal was to produce automobiles independently, without relying on an overseas ...

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