Toyota – A Legacy of Successful Leadership

Toyota Logo



Toyota’s methods and influences in Leadership and Management Development are to be studied, observed and referenced continually.


Especially for those that want to pursue excellence in how they lead and manage their organisations

Their whole ethos, based in the principle of “Respect for People” provides a powerful foundation for everything Toyota does to create successful, self sufficient and supportive leaders in the organisation.

If you visit a Toyota plant or non manufacturing facility you will not see how Toyota has developed and grown its leaders, but you will see the results of their influence


Here is some of the thinking from Toyota that runs through the veins of their leaders and managers


Sakichi Toyoda, the father of Toyoda defined the core thinking and principles of Toyota in the early 20th Century. The Toyoda Precepts are five tenets that can be traced back to the convictions of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. Originating from a period of rapid expansion for the Toyoda company, the precepts were compiled by his son Kiichiro and members of the Toyoda management, who sought to educate and unite a workforce around core principles. and these moral standards became the official guidelines for all Toyoda operations.


Sakichi Toyoda, studied many journals and text from western business culture, one in particular was Samual Smiles and his book Self-Help, and it is this that caused his thinking towards a responsibility for developing the people who worked for him. He believed that people should learn to be self reliant, resourceful and responsible.


Five Main Principles or Precepts


  1. Be contributive to the development and welfare of the country by working together, regardless of position, in faithfully fulfilling your duties;
  2. Be at the vanguard of the times through endless creativity, inquisitiveness and pursuit of improvement;
  3. Be practical and avoid frivolity;
  4. Be kind and generous, strive to create a warm, homelike atmosphere;
  5. Be reverent, and show gratitude for things great and small in thought and deed 


Take a look into your own organisation and think, is this how our people think and act?

This is how Toyota has built its family of members who think for the company, because the company is thinking for them.


Sakichi Toyoda was a holistic thinker and his insights to business thinking predate much of what we now know as Balanced Scorecards.

Sakichi Toyoda believed a business has responsibilities;

To sustain itself as a business – To the people who work there – To society and local communities – To the customers who, without which there would be no business


His thinking was:


  1. A company must make profit to exist
  2. Employees must be developed and be capable of performing and be satisfied in their work
  3. What we do must benefit society as a whole
  4. Customers must get value from what we do


It is these precepts and the main principles that have underpinned what Toyota has become as an organisation today


In 2001 Toyota defined and communicated it’s Toyota Way. A very simple but also a powerful message that this is how we do business, how we think, lead and work

It is only two pillars but both focus on People and Process



Respect for People

Respect & Mutual Trust – Leaders are responsible for creating an environment of trust and confidence, respecting the capability of everyone and developing people so they are more capable

Teamwork – The power of teams is in the collaboration and creative thinking that solve problems and enable improvements. Teams can lift people and performance higher than individuals


Continuous Improvement

Challenge – Always ask WHY, why do we do this this way? Everything can be improved and it is our duty to find a way to improve something, through experiments and trialing potential improvements

Kaizen – Small incremental improvements, every day, everyone contributing and taking responsibility for looking for and making changes that improve their processes

Go & See for Yourself – No assumptions, understand the reality, the truth, search out for what is all around a situation to deeply understand it and what is happening