Keeping “People” Front and Center in People, Process, Tools

Over my career, I’ve seen the gamut of ways that companies administer their human resources. As a new hire at Toyota I was required to read 35 books on subjects ranging from the Toyota Production System* to how cultivating a rice paddy symbolized Japanese culture, and I was tested on my comprehension of these books. Later I was sent to Japan for further training, all to make sure that I understood the company’s culture.

I’ve seen a wide array of boss types, including the smooth and consummate gentleman; the pure politician; a couple of tyrants who complimented the people above them and punished those below them; a servant leader; and a genius who was probably insane. Managing ...

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