In the second half of our two-part closeup on Toyota's new management, President Koji Sato and his team share the lessons imparted by Chairman Akio Toyoda and their thoughts on running things together.
After focusing on the new team members’ personalities in the first part (aired on April 19), this week was all about their management perspectives. Once again, President Koji Sato visited the studio, along with Vice Presidents Hiroki Nakajima and Yoichi Miyazaki.
New words of wisdom?
Host Yuta Tomikawa first queried the trio about their views on management, asking each to compose their own version of a well-known haiku: “If the little cuckoo doesn't sing, wait until it does.”
One response truly did have the ring of greatness—perhaps even triggering a hint of jealousy in the other two.
Watch the program to see who penned these words of wisdom.
Carrying on the genchi genbutsu spirit
Since Toyota announced a change at the top on January 26, President Sato has taken various opportunities to emphasize a key theme: Inheritance and Evolution.
Naturally, inheritance refers to the foundations laid by Chairman Akio Toyoda during his 13-year presidency. Part of this is the genchi genbutsu concept, which encourages employees to see things for themselves.
Upon becoming president in 2009, Chairman Toyoda vowed to be “the most genba-oriented president.” Since then, he has been ever-present on the frontlines, visiting production plants, dealerships, and racetracks on countless occasions to communicate directly with employees and pinpoint challenges.
Akio’s mindset remained unchanged throughout his term as president. In March 2023, one month before becoming chairman, he visited Toyota’s Kamigo Plant.
As then-President Toyoda listened to employees outline various efficiency improvements, he had no idea of what lay in store.
Toyota’s three new leaders have also watched closely and learned from Akio’s every action. In the studio, they each shared their thoughts on genchi genbutsu.
Suppliers and dealers meet the new team
In February, Toyota held its Global Suppliers Convention, followed by the National Toyota Dealership Representatives Meeting in March. On both occasions, the new team took center stage.
Reflecting on the two events, President Sato said that they “once again brought home the fact that we need to value our carmaking partners.”
Knowing that others are working hard with you on the frontlines enables a certain type of carmaking. They saw that, as well. This once again keenly brought home the fact that we need to value our carmaking partners.
Just how did the new team look in the eyes of those who attended?
How would you sum up “team management?”
President Sato stressed that the carmaking team includes the suppliers and dealers. Together with the vice presidents, we asked him to sum up what it means to manage as a team.
This segment brought startling responses from two members who, just days earlier, felt they were out of step with each other. Make sure to check out the answers that set the studio buzzing.
The program also includes footage from the internal and external policy briefings held on April 3 and 7. To really get inside the minds of this new team, make sure you don’t miss a second of this episode.