By Jon Miller | Post Date: October 2, 2006 3:47 AM | Comments: 5
One of the expressions I've come across working with and reading the writings of Toyota people is "Protect your own castle" 「自分の城は自分で守れ」. You could also say "You are responsible for protecting your castle." At first this sounded like a bit of common sense advice on taking personal responsibility until I checked with one of my teachers one day and he corrected my understanding.
Like in many companies, Toyota will send people to assist a department that is struggling to keep up with the workload or having problems. In this situation would you send the best performer from your unit to help? Would you send your worst performer? Someone in between?
At Toyota the idea of "Protect your own castle" means sending the best performer to another department to assist. The result of this is that the remaining team is "weaker" if you will, and they all need to band together, come up with ideas and "protect their own castle" during the absence of their best performer. In this way it creates an opportunity for people to develop their skills.
In the long view, sending the best performer probably solves the problem quicker and reduces the impact on other departments (since we are all serving internal and external customers) so that you prevent the negative spiral that can happen if problems persist too long.
In addition, the department that receives the help from your department will be glad to return the favor in the future and send their best performer to help you. This is quite a different way of thinking about management and problem solving than the typical approach where everyone is looking after their own interests. Instead of a silo or stove pipe mentality of doing what's best for my department it creates a flow-oriented or value stream mentality of doing what's best for the overall process all the way to the customer.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.