Chapter 3. The Force of Impossible Goals

Like the navigators of early times who grew restless when at port too long, Toyota is restlessly in pursuit of new horizons and conscious of the ship's potential to run aground. This explorer spirit dates back to Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyota's parent company, Toyoda Automatic Loom Works. He was fond of saying, "Open the window. It's a big world out there."[] This expansive pressure stimulates employees to set goals that seem difficult or even impossible to achieve, pushing them beyond conventional practices and driving Toyota's continuous self-reinvention and growth.

Eiji Toyoda and Shoichiro Toyoda, fourth and sixth presidents of the company, opened the window to overseas markets during Toyota's early history, while in recent history, senior executives have been looking out the window exploring new frontiers to create the company's next big jump. Senior Toyota Advisor, Yoshio Ishizaka, pondered out loud the initiatives of Toyota's most recent presidents Hiroshi Okuda, Fujio Cho, and Katsuaki Watanabe:

[When] Okuda-san became president we were talking about "harmonious growth."[] Even though [the 1990s] was the lost decade in Japan, we managed to get out the Lexus, and around the middle of 1990s, we took on the challenge of the hybrid car. All this in just 10 years. When Cho-san took over, we were talking about "Global Vision," to capture a 15 percent [global market] share by 2010. And in the Watanabe era, I believe we will continue ...

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