Driving Towards Change Using Toyota.


Charmaine Joy V. Zhang

4HR2 October 3, 2013


Driving Towards Change Using Toyota.

Students have been bombarded with too much theoretical information that they sometimes take it for granted; they began to not see beyond the thick pages or the pixel data they download. Student leaders especially, should be able to see and understand the real life application of what they study, or at least find connection with them. As a Human Resource (HR) student, studying culture change and the roles of an HR in a company, I feel the urgency of need to apply these concepts in order to test them out and see them work first-hand. What better outlet I can use than with my own publication. As an editor, among the many change concepts I’ve read in my HR-student lifetime, the Toyota way is the most applicable concept I find very useful. The three main concept I’ve come up with out of the Toyota’s way are: To Never Under steer, To Never Over steer, and to always Apply the Neutral Handling.

  1.  Never Under steer- Under steering means applying not enough force to the wheel and in turn would drift the car off the road course as it missed its intended turn. As an editor, I see among the others the need to apply Toyota’s Kaizen. Kaizen according to Toyota’s definition is the continual improvement. Our writers need to continuously study and improve their craft in order to become even better and competitive writers. Likewise, for me as an editor is an even more need to further harness my skills. Otherwise, we would see ourselves drift from being a college publication to type writing monkeys. It is a must to apply the right amount of force to maneuver our wheels towards improvement.
  2.   Never Over Steer- contrary to under steering according to motor jargon, over steering is applying too much force to the wheel causing it to make a sharp turn and ending up making a round trip spin back to where they started. While it is important to continue to harness one’s skills one may need to put into mind the need for it would also mean that weaknesses would surface in order to overcome it. Otherwise, if one would take the heed- for- improvement too seriously and not seeing past the mistakes, they may take it negatively instead of constructively hence to never over steer. Toyota teaches us to apply Hansei. According to Toyota, this means to self reflect, it is an attitude to reflect on the mistakes committed and positively make an effort to change and make up for it. This I find difficult to apply, as sometimes in an organization, mistake is not an option. But since most of the time mistakes are inevitable (even with all the measures conducted to avoid it), I try to study these mistakes and take it as positive reinforcement to correct myself. Let us not over steer our gear thinking we won’t need these improvement.
  3. Apply The Neutral Handling- Neutral handling driving is when you neither over steer nor under steer. Do you want to know what happens when neutral handling the steering wheel? Do you? Then go find out.  Watch, observe, and understand in order to know. That brings me to my last point, the Genchi Genbutsu. According to Toyota system’s creator Taiichi Ohno it means to Go and see the actual situation to understand. This concept means that you need to actually engage yourself to understand if you have problems over steering or under steering. How would you know when your skills need power steering or manual steering when you don’t understand your problem in the first place. It’s better to share something you know because you have experienced it first-hand than knowing it from books or from other people’s mouth. A similar case whenever I edit new articles, even though I have trust that my news writers gather their data from credible sources, I would still immerse myself with the actual data gathering to confirm the facts. Publishing credible facts is our business. So it is very important. To add another example. Since our publication also serves as an organization, sometimes internal conflict occurs. In order for me to present the problems we have at hand to the Editor-in-Chief, I need to engage myself, step back, and observe to understand what the problems are, why they are occurring, and how to propose solutions. That’s Genchi Genbutsu. So always remember that whenever you see problems under steering and over steering, go neutral handling. It’s safer.

With all said, these concepts would seem simple and easy to apply. However, it is undermining these concepts is what makes it harder to implement.  Put a break to ego and try to strictly implement these very simple concepts. A way towards visible change is to stick to the plan with integrity. It’s all the same banana in any other change theory books. But basically it’s all about gearing towards improvement, self improvement, and innovative solutions. Never Under Steer your wheel, always exert the right amount of effort towards improvement to get yourself on the right track, Never Over Steer, give the right amount of attitude towards change seeing past the mistakes committed to avoid spinning your wheel back to where you started, and lastly Apply Neutral Handling, put yourself out there, feel the track yourself and understand which curb is the right turn.