Extreme Toyota | Emi Osono

Summary of: Extreme Toyota
By: Emi Osono


Embark on a journey to explore the unique approach Toyota takes in managing their business as we unravel ‘Extreme Toyota’ by Emi Osono. Discover how Toyota embraces conflicts and contradictions to drive improvements, leveraging them to tackle seemingly impossible goals. Delve into their innovative, employee-centric culture, and uncover the expansive and integrative forces at the heart of Toyota’s success. Throughout this summary, you’ll encounter the eight-step problem-solving process, the importance of localization, and the role of the company’s core axioms in fostering a thriving environment.

Embracing Contradictions at Toyota

Toyota’s management utilizes internal contradictions to drive growth and surpass expectations, unlike other firms that aim to eliminate the lesser force. The company’s leaders embrace complexities and consciously exploit their energy to drive improvement. Toyota challenges its employees to overcome these contradictions to attain higher goals and reach performance levels previously considered impossible. The Lexus design team was challenged to incorporate both power and fuel efficiency in luxury cars, unlike traditional designs that focus on one goal. Toyota’s success is attributed to a mix of “expansive forces” to foster growth and a set of “integrative forces” to hold the company together.

Toyota’s Impossibly Achievable Goals

Toyota’s approach to goal setting involves setting seemingly unattainable objectives to move individuals beyond their comfort zones and break conventional thinking patterns. These extreme goals are a vital part of Toyota’s leadership strategy, pushing people towards higher levels of accomplishment and penetrating complacency. Despite being unfeasible in some instances, high-level management support these goals, which often yield impressive outcomes through a process known as “Plan, Do, Check, Act.” Shotaro Kamiya, when setting Toyota’s goals for entering the US market, knew that the initial effort would face setbacks but trusted that his team would learn and improve. And they did.

Toyota’s Approach to Failure

Toyota’s culture encourages learning from mistakes and taking risks to improve performance. The company’s eight-step problem-solving process and A3 reporting process provide employees with the tools to experiment boldly and drive innovation. When faced with setbacks, Toyota’s executive team takes responsibility and allows teams to continue working without pressure. Ultimately, the company’s commitment to learning and improvement has resulted in groundbreaking innovation and continued success.

The Balancing Act of Toyota

Toyota’s global efficiency goals often clash with the need to understand local issues. However, the company’s commitment to listening to its employees and encouraging experimentation has led to a motivated workforce that finds solutions to local problems and shares them with everyone. Toyota’s approach has resulted in products like the Scion, which was tailored to the needs of young Japanese drivers who like personalization. To cater to the German market, engineers had to create more options for customization beyond what they predicted. Toyota’s experts study local markets before creating products tailored to them, using their learnings worldwide.

Toyota’s Core Values

Toyota’s corporate culture is founded on bedrock principles introduced at the company’s start and refined over time. The company’s culture rests on four axioms, including putting the customer first, and going to see things for oneself. These ideas are used daily to guide decision-making and actions, enabling Toyota to excel in its industry.

The Toyota Way of Learning

Discover the secrets behind Toyota’s successful communication and learning culture. With over nine million cars produced each year and hundreds of thousands of employees worldwide, the company’s leaders emphasize intense listening, face-to-face meetings, and encourage their staff to act as the nervous system of the company. Their communicative culture showcases five main features: open and lateral dissemination of know-how, freedom to voice contrary opinions, frequent face-to-face interaction, making tacit knowledge explicit in the Toyota Way, and formal and informal organizational support mechanisms. Toyota believes that modern technology cannot replace personal communication, resulting in its vibrant learning culture.

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