Fast Company’s December edition had a fascinating article about Toyota’s institutional obsession with improvement.  There is a lot in it that just begs to be disected (if something can beg to be cut up!).  Let me give you three reasons to jump over and take a look for yourself:

  • "You can’t solve problems unless you admit them.  Perfection is a fine goal, but improvement is much more realistic, much more human.  Not a 15% improvement by the end of the quarter, a 1% improvement by the end of the month."  What if that became part of the fabric of your operation?  Asking what is the 1% imrovement that we could make today that will change the effectiveness TODAY?
  • "By constantly questioning how you do things, by constantly tweaking, you don’t outflank your competition next quarter.  You outflank them next decade."  I know many of us don’t think about competition.  But we need to.  Even if it is carefully evaluating what or who the competition actually is.
  • "The work is really threefold: making cars, making cars better, and teaching everyone how to make cars better."  What if we thought that way?  Could we?  You bet.  But it would take a new perspective about what it is that we do and how we do it.

It is a great article.  You can read the whole thing right here.

Learning to be Disatisfied