Before we build cars we build people.


A common phrase heard around Toyota is ‘Before we build cars we build people’.


The leader’s goal at Toyota is to develop people so they are strong contributors who can think and follow

the Toyota Way at all levels in the organisation.


The leader’s real challenge is having the long-term vision of knowing what to do, the knowledge of how to

do it, and the ability to develop people so they can understand and do their job excellently.


The payoff for this dedication is more profound and lasting to a company’s competitiveness and longevity

than using a leader merely to solve immediate financial problems, make the correct decision for a given

situation, or provide new short-term solutions to bail a company out of a bad situation.


If we look at all of the great leaders in Toyota’s history we see they share several common traits:


- Focused on a long-term purpose for Toyota as a value-added contributor to society.

- Never deviated from the precepts of the Toyota Way and lived and modelled themselves around this

   for all to see.

- Worked their way up doing the detailed work.

- Saw problems as opportunities to train and coach their people.


A company growing its own leaders and defining the ultimate role of leadership as ‘building

a learning organisation’ lays the groundwork for genuine long-term success.


Source: The Toyota Way, Jeffrey K. Liker