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Friday, August 2, 2013

Lean Quote: Humility Shows Respect Toward Other People

On Fridays I will post a Lean related Quote. Throughout our lifetimes many people touch our lives and leave us with words of wisdom. These can both be a source of new learning and also a point to pause and reflect upon lessons we have learned. Within Lean active learning is an important aspect on this journey because without learning we can not improve.

"Humility is considered the quality of being modest, unassuming in attitude and behavior. It can also be taken as a feeling or showing respect and deference toward other people." — President Kiichiro Toyoda, June 1950

Foster a corporate culture that enhances individual creativity and teamwork value, while honoring mutual trust and respect between labor and management. A "Lean" culture is characterized by two learning elements: Humility and Respect.

Learning begins with humility.  The more you strive for Lean, the more you realize how little you know, and how much there is yet to learn.  A sure sign of impending failure is a manager who claims to "know it all" or says "we have tried that…"

Respect is to make every effort to understand others, accept responsibility, and build mutual trust.  Respect for people is the second pillar of the House of Toyota and means recognizing the value of your people through developing them. 

Leaders need to be mindful of their role in creating culture change.

Taiichi Ohno stated:
“In order to lead a large number of people in work, you have to be tough. But I think this is basically not a matter of giving orders or instructions, but a game of wits with subordinates.”
  • When you give orders or instructions to a subordinate you have to think as if you were given those orders yourself.
  • The attitude of “You’re the expert, so go figure it out” is not acceptable.
  • Need to have not only the awareness of the problems but the ability to think about how to solve the problems yourself.
  • Leaders have to think about the problem and struggle together to solve the problem with subordinates.

Achieving a Lean culture with humility and respect requires constant demonstration over a long period of time.  Remember the shop floor is a reflection of management.  You can't listen and learn if you don't go to the Gemba.

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