Whilst having a rare flick through the FT the other day, we happened across a book review for “Managing to Learn Using The A3 Management Process to Solve Problems, Gain Agreement, Mentor, and Lead” by John Shook. Not the most enticing of titles! However, the FT article was entitled “The Toyota mindset revealed”, which got us interested straight away.

The review is here if you’d like to see it for yourself.

However, if you can’t be bothered to read it, here’s some bits that we thought were great and we wondered how many people were going to be brave in these challenging times and see if they could take advantage of these simple, but powerful ideas (or make more from them if you’re already doing it!).

Western managers think their job is to get results. Toyota thinks managers’ job is to design and sustain processes that generate these results as a matter of course. Western managers think they employ workers to do a job. Toyota employs workers to learn how to do the job better – to keep improving that process, and therefore the results. Western managers think management is about knowing the answers and telling other people what to do. Toyota disagrees again: if managers tell staff what to do, they take responsibility away.

The manager’s job is to help staff learn problem-solving skills and work out what they need to do for themselves. Real organisational leadership is about doing both – improving operations and developing people – at the same time in such a way that they are mutually supporting
.”

Highly simple, highly effective ideas. Very in keeping with the PlanetK2 view of things in relation to eliteteam concepts and very clear that if you ultimately want high performance that is culturally dependent and not reliant on individual leaders, then these kind of ideas are the way forward… especially when the performance demands are higher than ever.