Motivating employees is not easy. In previous posts I described that the carrot and the stick approaches don’t work very well. What in my experience works best to improve the system is Respect for People!
This is actually a very important aspect of the Toyota Production System, and Toyota puts in lots of effort to show respect to all people. This includes not only employees (the focus of this post), but also customers, suppliers, neighbors, and pretty much everybody else it comes in contact with. At Toyota, it is actually called Respect for Humanity (人間性尊重, ningenseisoncho). Unfortunately, all too often I find this lacking in Western lean implementations.