Developing Leaders the Toyota Way

Its commitment to its employees is long-term

By Charles Waldo

Organizations vary widely in their methods of identifying and raising leaders.  Some take the “Learn on the job, sink or swim” approach, where it’s up to  individuals to develop themselves.  At the opposite end of the development spectrum are those organizations which use long-term, elaborate processes that might even include several, fully-paid years off earning a graduate degree.  Generally, the larger the organization the more formalized the development process.

Where do you turn to for guidance on leader identification and development?  Fortunately (or confusingly) there are hundreds of “how to” books and magazines; thousands of independent trainers and coaches; zillions of seminars and training events; scores of universities; and so on. How do you select the leadership development method that is best?

One proven method is to identify organizations which have been highly successful over the long haul, the assumption being that to be successful they have had and do have effective leaders. Then find out what leader development methods they use and evaluate which your organization might adopt or adapt. Identifying long-term, successful organizations is not so hard, but getting “inside” them to discover their leadership development strategies can be another story.

Toyota is either #1 or #2, depending upon how measured, in worldwide car sales.  Toyota is pushing to be #1 in the U.S. with almost 2.5 million unit sales in 2016; directly employs about 136,000 associates in four U.S. final assembly plants and numerous parts supply plants; and is indirectly responsible for hundreds of thousands of other Americans employed by suppliers. Quality levels, especially as measured by J.D. Powers, are almost always at or very near the top of ratings charts. Toyota is surely doing something (or a lot) right.  But what and how does one find out what that is?

Fortunately, Toyota is very open about how it does The Toyota Way – its operating philosophy, culture, and strategies.  Dr. Jeffrey Liker, professor of management at the University of Michigan, has studied Toyota intensely since the early 1980s and, with co-authors, has published eight very detailed books about various aspects of Toyota, especially Toyota USA.   One such book is The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership: Achieving and Sustaining Excellence Through Leadership Development (2012, co-authored with Gary Convis, former Managing Director of Toyota USA). Here are a few key principles and practices.

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Social Media: Business vs. Personal

It’s important to keep them separate 

Social media can be a very personal communication medium. And, it can serve as a powerful business-building tool. Yet, there are areas where people blur the lines between business and personal on social media, and this is a dangerous line to cross. If you are a small business owner, you may have both business and personal social media accounts. You may use your personal social media accounts to post on behalf of your business. How is a business owner to know what is appropriate and what is not in the new world of social media? And what are the best ways to keep your business and personal matters separate?

Start with Yourself

To leverage social media from a business standpoint, we must first start by setting up, reviewing and getting comfortable with your personal social media profiles. Most people have set up at least a basic profile on LinkedIn for networking and job searching, and a Facebook or Twitter profile for connecting with others and viewing local, industry or national news and happenings. Social media sites allow you to set up an individual profile in addition to a business profile. By first taking the time to get to know the social media channel you’re planning to use for business, you can better understand how to maximize the channel for your business. Some ways you can do this include joining groups, adding friends or connections, and following other relevant individuals, companies and organizations. Start noticing the information coming across the daily news feed. Pay attention to the advertisers using the social media channel and their messaging. Once you have become familiar with the social media platform, the benefits of using it, and the typical style of posts, you can focus on your business account.

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OneZone Chamber of Commerce

One of the main reasons people often join their Chamber of Commerce is the networking opportunities. Especially if your target customers are other businesspeople, it’s hard to beat an organization that exists to serve the business community.

In an effort to better meet that need, the Fishers Chamber (back when it was called that) started a group called REACH some four years ago. I wasn’t there for the first meeting but I didn’t miss too many before I started attending regularly. As the Fishers Chamber evolved into OneZone the REACH program continued and we still meet every first and third Wednesday morning of the month.

I can’t say that I’ve ever gotten any business directly from my relationships at REACH. But, of course, that isn’t what networking is about. Rather, the idea is that you get to know a dozen or so people well enough that they become your fans, they help get the word about you and your business, and you all grow together. It’s not for everyone but if you are willing to stick with it these relationships can really help develop your business, so here’s your invitation to join us. There is no charge…it’s a benefit of belonging to the OneZone chamber.

As it turns out, I will be leading the group for the next year so I want to let you know about some changes that may help get you interested.  We spent part of last year refining our one paragraph biographies, what are traditionally known as elevator speeches. They are now all compiled in a single document. Each week we will put our business cards in a hat and draw one out. Whomever you draw is who you introduce. It’s not a test…you are welcome to read the biography off the sheet if you want…but it is a way to help us get to know our fellow chamber members better.

We will also be inviting non-REACH members to come speak to us. Each session I would like to have two or three businesspeople (both new and seasoned chamber members) spend 5-10 minutes telling us about their business, and another 5-10 minutes answering questions. And this group always has questions. They enjoy being in business, learning about other businesses and helping other business people get better at what they do.

So I hope you will join us, if even just for one week. It’s every first and third Wednesday at 7:30 am in the OneZone conference room. You don’t need to RSVP if you just want to attend (and you don’t have to introduce others if you are a guest) but if you want to be a presenter and tell us about your business, let me know and we’ll work you in. If you find you like it, and you are a OneZone member, you are welcome to join the group.

Take a look at the Toyota Way for your Organization by Charles Waldo

Can The Toyota Way Become Your Way?

Does the name “Dr. Jeffrey K. Liker” ring a bell with you? Probably not. How about “Toyota Motors?” Just about everyone knows that name and you could be one of the millions of consumers driving one of its brands (Prius, Camry, Lexus, and so on).

The Toyota WayDr. Liker’s “claim to fame” is as one of the world’s foremost researchers, writers, and consultants on The Toyota Way-- the philosophies, culture, and practices that have led Toyota to its position as a premier, mass automobile designer, producer, and seller. In 1982 Dr. Liker joined the University of Michigan’s business school as a junior professor, just when the U.S. automobile industry was in serious turmoil in the midst of a national recession. U.S. automakers pointed their fingers at “Japan, Inc.” as a major cause of their troubles. Dr. Liker was invited to join a team of UM profs beginning to study the relationship between Japanese car makers’ very high quality, especially at Toyota and Honda, and their sales successes. He has been at it ever since, authoring or co-authoring eight books on how – and why – Toyota does things, beginning with The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles From The World’s Greatest Manufacturer, published in 2004, which is what this article briefly looks at.

“But, whoa,” you might say. “My organization is not a manufacturer, we don’t do automobiles or auto parts, we’re less than twenty-five employees, and we’re certainly not Japanese.

We’re not anything at all like Toyota. Why should I spend time on this article, much less on the full book?”

Valid questions. But the truth is The Toyota Way can be universally applied since it deals with universal principles of human and organizational life. Many organizations, just as varied as yours, have already done just that. These are management “best practices,” period. They can help make any organization better.

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Sorting Out Social Media by Susan Young

Which Sites are Right for Your Business?

Sorting out Social MediaYou may have started to or wanted to jump on the social media bandwagon, but are still unsure of whether you're making the right decisions. The good news is that you don't have to participate in all social media sites to make an impact. You just need to find the right social media sites to reach your target market. Here is an overview of your main options.

LinkedIn​: Great for B2B, Hiring

LinkedIn is known to be the social media site for the business-to-business (B2B) audience. It is like an online resume, where individuals can post their career profiles (essentially an online resume), and talk about their personal brand and career goals. The value of a LinkedIn profile is that it’s searchable for companies looking to connect, hire or do business with that person. The more connections you have, the more business opportunities.

Start with building your own profile and adding connections from clients, colleagues, and others you know. If you have sales people, they need to be active on LinkedIn if they sell to other businesses. Individuals can share business-related or industry news and information. They can recommend or ask for recommendations from others, which serve as good reviews for your business. People can also use second-degree connections to get introductions into previously unknown companies or prospects.

You can create a business page and build up a following. Individuals can create custom content articles or blog posts to share on their newsfeed, which is seen by all their connections. Advertising options can help build a following. Since people on LinkedIn are interested in advancing their careers, this social media site is great for job postings and HR-related activities.

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Funding the Gap - Guest Column by Ann O’Hara

Legacy Fund seeks out and serves the county’s most pressing needs

Since 2007, I have had the privilege of serving on the Board of Directors of Legacy Fund, Inc., the Hamilton County community foundation. In 2016, the Board awarded more than $500,000 in grants to Hamilton County charitable organizations. While directly impacting Hamilton County, Legacy Fund’s mission and role is not always understood. One of my goals as incoming Chair of the Board of Directors is to raise awareness of Legacy Fund’s strategic focus to the Hamilton County community.

Legacy Fund, Inc. is a nonprofit, 501(c)(3) corporation formed in 1989. It is a “community foundation” meaning it is exclusively dedicated to benefit the individuals and their families living in Hamilton County.

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Management & Motivation Principles By Charles Waldo

30 One-liners with some smiles

Extraordinary professor, author, and consultant to top leaders Dr. Peter Drucker published  Management: Tasks, Responsibilities, Practices in 1973.   Although Dr. Drucker (died in 2005) authored over sixteen other books and scores of articles that appeared in all the notable business magazines,  Management was his giant…..all 803 pages.  I read this tome from cover to cover but must confess that, while I found it interesting, especially his historical and international perspectives on organization and national business development, not much of it “stuck” – just too much and too deep.

Over the years I’ve found that for me (and many of my business students and consulting clients) the KISS principle (Keep It Short & Simple) works a lot better for imparting management and motivation principles that seem to sink in and stay.And, if a little humor is added, so much the better.   How about you?

For your consideration and use here are thirty quotes from a wide variety of authors, including the infamous “anon” (anonymous), that have been around for years and repeated many times. Despite their briefness – or, perhaps, because of it – they can help anyone become a better manager, employee, spouse, parent, or friend. Why not try a few on “for size?”

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Signs You’re Failing at Social Media By Susan Young

(And What to Do About It)

There are plenty of columns these days about how to get started in social media. In fact, as I was researching this column, I found that the previous columnists have done a great job of introducing the topic, relaying important trends and providing industry insight into how social media works. By now, most of your businesses have probably created social media pages, and may be regularly posting content. But have you evaluated how successful your social media marketing has fared thus far? Here are the top signs that your company is failing at social media, along with some advice on how to turn the tide:

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The Rule of 100 by Dr. Charles Waldo

It’s all in how you frame the deal

Many HCBM readers run “sales promotions” of various kinds for their businesses, often involving pricing issues. Maybe it’s “Buy one, get a second at 50% off.” Perhaps it’s “$5 off the regular price,” or, “10% off the regular price.” Whatever the “formula,” the seller wants to move product. But what pricing strategy will best do that?

Dr. Jonah Berger, Marketing Professor at the Wharton Business School (University of Pennsylvania) offers some useful insights on this question in his book Contagious: Why Things Catch On (Simon & Schuster Publishing, 2013). The book is chockfull of findings from the behavioral sciences explaining why consumers act as they do – sometimes in ways that appear on the surface as irrational. One strategy Berger describes is the……

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Is The Office Obsolete by Robby Slaughter

We Need a Remote-Work Revolution

If you work in an office today, there’s a strong possibility that you would get a lot more done if you didn’t have to work in that office. It turns out that, although we think of glass towers containing cubicles and filing cabinets as the places we go to accomplish something, the “office” as most of us know it, is a terrible place to get anything done.

The primary reason, as entrepreneur Jason Fried notes in an editorial for CNN.com, is that “the modern office has become an interruption factory.” Fried is painfully correct. Workplaces aren’t like school libraries, where silence is golden and quiet intellectual pursuit is the foundation of progress.

Instead, our offices are buzzing with conversation, ringing phones, shuffling papers, whirring copy machines, squeaky hinges and clunking footfalls. If you are lucky enough to have your own walls, you can escape some of the chaos by closing your door, however most of us work in cubes and must battle dozens of interruptions per hour.

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Stepping into the New Year: What to Look For in Fitness Devices by Michael Bauman

Excerise Devices for 2017As the snow begins to fall and the world wraps itself up in a blanket with some hot chocolate by the crackling fire, thoughts begin to turn to Christmas, carols, and presents. With January, and the lines of people with their signed New Years Reso-lutions in hand right around the corner, you might have considered looking at some of the fitness devices that are out there as a stocking stuffer or a gift for a friend. But with all the options to choose from, how do you know what will fit their style and preference? Here are some factors to consider.

All day vs Training

Any tool that can be used for motivation or to help facilitate more movement throughout the day is a “step” in the right direction. But what should you look for in a fitness device? It really depends on what you are using it for and what you want to track.

There are two main types of fitness devices: the all day trackers (for general fit-ness and health) and the training trackers (primarily for training for a specific event or sport). Most fitness devices track steps, stairs, calories, and quality of sleep. The training trackers do all of the above but also typically include your heart rate, and have GPS features to give you data about distance, speed, pace, and your route. They are usually waterproof, and sync with your smartphone to show texts, calls, and emails.

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What Qualities move Employees Up?: These “Common Core” Attributes will Improve your Career Prospects by Charles Waldo

What are the qualities exhibited by “employees on the move,” especially managers? Those who “make things happen.” Those always in the right place at the right time doing the right things. Your “when the going gets tough, the tough get going” people. Those who get frequent calls from headhunters. Are those qualities – if they can be identified – common to all “shakers and movers” or are only some qualities needed for success in some organizations or under certain conditions but not in others?

This is not an academic question since finding the answer(s) can lead to better hiring practices, better human resource development practices, better placement and promotion decisions, and better individual and group performance. The answers can also serve as your self-development checklist since no one will be more interested in your professional development than yourself. If you don’t take your development seriously, who should – or will?

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What Are Your CSFs?: Are you Measuring what Really Counts? by Charles Waldo

Years ago, when just out of Saint Louis University’s B-School, I worked for a mid-sized, publicly-traded company in St. Louis. My desk happened to be near the office of the president, an imposing, rather gruff character. He had the habit, when walking through the building, of randomly stopping at an employee’s desk to ask “What was yesterday’s stock price close? Was it up or down from the day before?”

CFS FactorsI don’t believe anyone ever got fired for not knowing the answers but they did get “the look.” Employees (including me!) were terrified of being asked and not knowing so most everyone kept their eyes focused on these two figures. The president even had bulletin boards all over the building with the two figures updated every morning, so there was no excuse for not knowing.

I asked my boss, a division general manager, why the president did that. He said the president felt the most common corporate performance denominator all employees could relate to was the stock’s daily price. He wanted all eyes focused on it all the time. One could argue about the validity of his view but the daily stock price was THE primary Critical Success Factor for him and, therefore, for us. At my initial low level entry position I had almost no effect on the stock’s price but, nevertheless, was focused on it. As time passed and promotions came I saw the potential usefulness of CSFs, came up with several for my units, and tried to get all eyes trained on them. They seemed to work.

How about you? Do you have Critical Success Factors that you focus on constantly? What are the “make it or break it” results for your organization? For your part in it? What about for your personal life? What spells “success?”

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Keeping an Eye on Social Media: Good Trends to Embrace…Bad Trends to Avoid by Kristen Fettig

Social sharing and personal publishing with blogs and new media have led to a virtual stream of information noise. It’s important to filter out the negative and hone in on the positive. Learning what adds value to your life instead of just wasting your time is best practice. On the other hand, learning about things to be wary of will help you and family avoid falling victim to unscrupulous cyber creeps.

Be wary of these New Trends

There is a new app that is very popular with tweens called Musical.ly and a spinoff, Live.ly (which aims to compete with Facebook Live and Twitter’s Periscope). It’s a creative venue to post and share music and perform live lip-syncing with other “Musers”, but there is a dark side. It has been criticized for overtly sexual overtones in dress and music, making it a place for sexual predators to find fresh prey. Kids have access to all songs, including inappropriate ones for tweens. There is also a location feature that can pose a safety hazard if it is enabled. To make sure this is safe for your tween, keep tabs on their “friend” list, and only accept other kids they personally know, hide the location settings and make the account Private.

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Dr. Franklin's “Thirteen Virtues:” Timeless advice for business and life by Charles Waldo

Benjamin Franklin was an American original, a true Renaissance man. Born in Boston in 1706, at age seventeen and with only a rudimentary education, he left his family and headed to the fledgling city of Philadelphia to seek his fortune in the printing and publishing industries. This he did very successfully and, along life’s way, also became a militia commander, a representative from Pennsylvania to the second Continental Congress, was a member of the select committee that wrote the Declaration of Independence, was a long time Ambassador to France, being instrumental in getting French support for the American Revolution, and was a key architect and signer of the initial Constitution.

Franklin was also a noted scientist and inventor– ever hear of the Franklin Stove? Or the lightening rod? He helped found the first Philadelphia Fire Company, the first fire insurance company for the common person, the nation’s first free public library, and what is now the University of Pennsylvania. Plus he became the U.S.’s first Postmaster. He was called “Dr. Franklin” by many although the title was honorary, given to him by several illustrious universities such as Harvard and Yale for his many contributions to American – and world – society.

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