Continuously mowing better at Toyota

Toyota turned into a lawn mower 

In a fine article on “The Toyota way”, Howard Artrip, a Toyota manager in the assembly area examplifies his habit of constant improvement:

“When I’m mowing the grass, I’m thinking about the best way to do it. I’m trying different turns to see if I can do it faster.”

This constant drive to do things better and smarter is what distinguishes the best workers at the best companies.

Constant improvement is what happens when being on level 5 of CMMI.  Reaching level 5 means you must pass levels 2, 3 and 4. For all of these levels CMMI sets specific goals, and that seems to differ from the Toyota way.

As John Shook (“a widely regarded consultant on how to use Toyota’s ideas at other companies”) states in the article, “… Managers keep trying to make their management objectives. They’re moving forward, they’re improving, and they’re looking for a plateau. As long as you’re looking for that plateau,it seems like a constant struggle. It’s difficult. If you’re looking for a plateau, you’re going to be frustrated. There is no ‘solution.'”

“Once you realize that it’s the process itself–that you’re not seeking a plateau–you can relax. Doing the task and doing the task better become one and the same thing,” Shook says. “This is what it means to come to work.”

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