Trust: Respect for People

Respect for People [the broken link was removed*],

Respect for People has always been important to Toyota, and nowhere is this more evident than in the relationship among Toyota associates.

There has been only one exception to this rule throughout Toyota’s entire history. In June 1950, during a postwar period of great hardship in Japan, the company was forced to choose between corporate restructuring or risking complete collapse. Then-President Kiichiro Toyoda battled for months for the sake of his employees, but ever-worsening conditions showed the company to be unsustainable without significant change.

Management then vowed that this would be the first and last time such an event would come to pass at Toyota, and, in a gesture of respect to former employees, Kiichiro resigned from his position as president of the company.

A bit different than laying off tens of thousands of workers and then taking huge bonuses [the broken link was removed]. And in case you don’t know, I think Toyota’s approach is more honorable and what should be aimed for (I wouldn’t say the president always should resign but it should be a significant admission of failure).

Does this mean no workers ever come into conflict with Toyota management? No. But Toyota’s respect for workers is qualitatively different than that of most companies.

* sadly Toyota falls into the same short term thinking and failure to understand usability of internet technology trap that so many other organizations do. Many of those others fail in so many ways failing again isn’t so surprising, it is sad that Toyota can’t even follow basic long term thinking and web usability principles though.

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