8.3. Power in Teamwork

Individual self-actualization is emphasized at Toyota as a function of teamwork. The exemplar employees who serve as teachers and mentors are not seen as hotshots separate from the group but as a reflection of the group in which leadership is distributed. "Toyota is not the kind of company where a select few shine," said Human Resources General Manager Teruo Suzuki. "It is not considered appropriate to have a select few running the company. Instead, Toyota depends on all the workers in the company bringing their strengths into play to demonstrate their power as a team."[]

A car is built through the efforts of a lot of different people with different expertise. "Every single person is the main actor on the stage," said Watanabe.[] This mindset is central to up-and-in human resource management and based on one of the founders' philosophies described in Chapter 6 that everybody should win. Everybody wins, but only in so far as their contribution strengthens the whole team, assuming that strength arises from the interaction of the different perspectives. "Every single person takes a lead role on the stage, but as an organization you want to create a situation where one plus one equals three or even five, not two. That's what I call a team," said Watanabe, adding that creating the environment for this kind of teamwork is the most important task of managers.[] Toyota's simultaneous promotion of self-realization of the individual with the team transcends the paradox ...

Get Extreme Toyota: Radical Contradictions That Drive Success at the World's Best Manufacturer now with the O’Reilly learning platform.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from nearly 200 publishers.