Bob Bennett from Sage Payment Solution Division recommended “The Future of Management” and also send me a copy to read. It is an interesting read and the book compares the management practices of the yesteryears to what is needed now to build an innovative/high performance organization. Management Innovation is called out repeatedly touting empowered employees in a self managed, transparent organization where peers hold each other accountable to build a high performing organization.
Truly, at the end of the day an organization success is a direct product of the people it employs. I like the example of Toyota’s TPS (Toyota Production System) fondly known as “Thinking People System” is a good example of how it can be a differentiator in tough industry environment. It is keeping Toyota healthy despite all the challenges within the automobile industry.
A team from Detroit once took the tour to Toyota to find out the difference. Initially, success was attributed due to the Japenese culture and different work ethics resulting in Toyota (and similar other Japanese auto marker) an edge over its Detroit counterparts. It soon got belied as Toyota expanded its manufacturing base in US. Now, even within the same cultural context and country Toyota continues to make the difference that has made it famous.
The key to the success, as people find out, is the constant change that happens at Toyota – mostly driven by its employees who are always looking to optimize or making things better. It is widely touted as “Kaizen“. Contrast this with other companies where change is induced from the top when the need is drastic and employees resist change resulting in half hearted adoption akin to too little too late. Thus companies struggle to remain agile and difficult to keep up with the market need.
In mature market and competitive industry landscape where margins are hard to acheive and average growth remains minimal – it is such a boon for Toyota where employees bring gradual change among themselves ensuring organization to remain current with the need. Also, it fosters a culture of team work, collaboration, and change that thrive to remain agile. Essentially, Toyota is successfully reaping on the bright brains it employs.
Learning here is no different for other industries including enterprise software. Key to success remains empowering employees who regularly reflect on day’s work and adapt; fostering a cross functional team environment; and an environment where peers hold each other accountable for the joint success.