By Jon Miller | Post Date: January 10, 2007 1:47 PM | Comments: 3
I came across a new quote from Taiichi Ohno recently. It was in Japanese, and may not be new to the world, but I can't recall seeing it in English before. I think it nicely captures the idea of kaizen and respect for people, which are at the heart of the Toyota Production System.
"I think it ruins people when there is no race to get each person to add their good ideas to the work they do within a company. Your improvements make the job easier for you, and this gives you time to make further improvements. Unlike in the [Charlie] Chaplin movie where people are treated as parts of a machine, the ability to add your creative ideas and changes to your own work is what makes it possible to do work that is worthy of humans."
This is from the book ズバリ現場のムダどり事典 ― トヨタ生産方式の実践哲学 (Encyclopedia of Shop Floor Waste Elimination - The Practical Philosophy of the Toyota Production System) by Hitoshi Yamada, a former journalist who knew Taiichi Ohno. Yamada now is an author with a successful consulting practice mimicking the message and demanding style of his teacher. For what it's worth, here is the original Japanese:
The race or competition to get each person to add their good ideas (いかに知恵をつけさせるかの競争) is not a race between workers for good kaizen suggestions, it is a race with the managers and their workers on one side and the competitive forces in the world on the other side. It is a competition about how quickly you can get each person to use their minds creatively to improve their work. It's a race to get people to think.
Ohno is making a powerful statement here that if you do not challenge people to use their minds and improve their work, you are dehumanizing them. No wonder he was famous for yelling at managers who were slow to change.Comments are moderated to filter spam and inappropriate content. There may be a delay before your comment is published.