January 14, 2008
Building Reputation to the “T”
Did you know about T-type people? I did not at first. However, I was reading an interview with the CEO of Toyota, Katsuaki Watanabe in the Harvard Business Review (July-August 2007). I had heard about it so I made sure to add to my pile of reading and luckily got to it this weekend.
Toyota says they are in the business of developing T-type people. The vertical stroke stands for the fact that employees must dig deep into their behaviors and understand how and why they do things. The horizontal stroke represents the need to learn other jobs and stretch their abilities far and wide. Watanabe says that training T-type people is a full time job and one in which they dedicate many resources. He knows what he is talking about because he also says that it takes about 20 years to train a T-type person in the Toyota Way and Toyota Production System (TPS). That is a long-term investment. Interestingly, this wise CEO also says that T-type individuals must develop communications skills and demonstrate the ability to sense other people’s feelings, especially cross-culturally.
Thought it was very smart to use the “T” in Toyota in such an illustrative way.