Extreme Toyota | Emi Osono

Summary of: Extreme Toyota
By: Emi Osono


Are you ready to explore the driving forces behind the success of one of the most innovative and world-renowned car manufacturers? In ‘Extreme Toyota’ by Emi Osono, you’ll dive into the unique business model of Toyota and learn how its leaders consciously use contradictions, expansive and integrative forces to achieve higher goals, surpass conventional expectations, and reach for unthinkable performance levels. The summary of this book offers a fascinating glimpse into the intricate internal workings of a company that has made its mark on the global stage. Get ready to enhance your understanding of Toyota’s incredible journey and the way its culture, experimentation, localized customization, and human resource practices contribute to its unending pursuit of greatness!

Embracing Contradictions

Toyota’s success lies in its ability to embrace internal contradictions and use them to drive improvement. While most companies try to eliminate opposing objectives, Toyota’s leaders consciously exploit these complexities. For example, instead of focusing solely on power or fuel efficiency, Toyota challenged its Lexus design team to incorporate both objectives, resulting in the creation of a powerful brand. Toyota uses contradictions to create challenges for employees to overcome, allowing them to reach for performance levels once considered impossible. The company’s leaders rely on a mix of expansive and integrative forces to foster growth and hold the company together. According to the book, Toyota’s success may contradict established practice, but it is the key to its achievements.

Toyota’s Unconventional Success

Toyota’s management style involves setting seemingly unattainable goals that push teams beyond conventional thinking and towards incredible accomplishments. These extreme goals are not just for show, but rather a means to break through complacency. Despite being unfeasible at times, high-level management at Toyota offers support for these ambitions. Toyota’s success in the US market began in 1957, despite knowing their vehicles were not up to par. Shotaro Kamiya, then head of sales in Japan, recognized the team’s willingness to learn from setbacks and improve through the “PDCA” model – Plan, Do, Check, Act.

Toyota’s Culture of Bold Experimentation

Toyota’s corporate culture embraces imperfection and failure as catalysts for innovation. Rather than blame others, Toyota’s executives take accountability for mistakes and empower employees to act on their knowledge, even if incomplete. This approach led to the creation of the International Multipurpose Vehicle (IMV) platform, which presented numerous obstacles in meeting different countries’ regulations and driving challenges. Toyota’s executive vice president, Akio Toyoda, allowed the IMV team to work without pressure, emphasizing that even a failure presents a learning opportunity. Toyota employees utilize an eight-step problem-solving process and the A3 reporting process to communicate essential information efficiently. Toyota’s culture of experimentation and willingness to take risks pushes its employees to new heights of performance.

Toyota’s Efficient Global-Local Balance

Toyota strives to efficiently operate globally while adapting to local issues in its plants and markets. Managers encourage employees to experiment, leading to highly motivated teams who find solutions to local problems and share knowledge across the company. For example, Toyota designed the Scion to cater to the customization preferences of young Japanese drivers. While sales managers predicted similar demand in Germany, the customization market in the U.S. was relatively smaller, leading to more options for the Scion in Japan and Europe. Toyota’s experts study local environments, creating market-specific products and leveraging knowledge globally.

Toyota’s Core Values

Toyota’s culture is founded on basic principles that founders inculcated since its beginning and developed over years. Employees use these concepts each day to simplify their actions and decisions. The company’s culture is based on four axioms outlined in The Toyota Way 2001 or the Green Book: “Tomorrow will be better than today,” “Everybody wins,” “Customer first, dealers second, and manufacturer last,” and “Genchi genbutsu,” which means observing things for yourself first hand.

Toyota’s Culture of Communication

Discover how Toyota maintains a thriving learning culture across hundreds of thousands of employees and global locations, producing over nine million cars a year. At the core of their communicative culture is intense listening, face-to-face interactions, and encouraging their staff to be the company’s nervous system to transmit knowledge with lightning speed. While modern technology is utilized, it cannot replace person-to-person contact. Toyota’s culture of communication is driven by open and lateral dissemination of know-how, freedom for contrary opinions, frequent face-to-face interaction, making implicit knowledge explicit using the Toyota Way, and supportive organizational frameworks.

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