Chapter 6. The Founders' Philosophies

What prevents Toyota from fracturing at the edges or spiraling out of control under the expansive forces that drive its growth? The power of the founders' philosophies is the glue that binds employees, dealers, and suppliers and connects their aims. It acts as an integrative force in concert with Toyota's two other binding forces, the nerve system and up-and-in human resource management, which we deal with in subsequent chapters.

The founders' philosophies are the linchpin of integration and are ingrained at Toyota globally. The company's relentless pursuit and dissemination of the values expressed in these philosophies by people like Shotaro Kamiya, Taiichi Ohno, and others (see Figure 6.1) has effectively aligned the core values of Toyota employees, dealers, and suppliers. We have identified the following founding philosophies that have served over the years to pull together the organization and its various external constituents:

  • Tomorrow will be better than today

  • Everybody should win

  • Customer first, dealers second, and manufacturer last

  • Genchi genbutsu (go and see things for yourself, firsthand)

Each of these statements of philosophy functions within the company to align the values of executives, associates, partner companies, and the rank and file.

Figure 6.1. The Founding Proponents of Toyota's Philosophies: (a) Sakichi Toyoda, who created the parent company Toyoda Automatic Loom Works; (b) Kiichiro Toyoda, the son of Sakichi and founder ...

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