Job Relations (JR) is one of the modules of the original Training within Industry (TWI) program. It was actually developed at Harvard using case studies, and for its time was groundbreaking in its idea that leadership can be learned! Like most TWI modules, it is sensible and useful. As with most TWI programs, it is focused on the front lines of the shop floor, and designed for first-line and second-line supervisors. The module is about good shop floor leadership.
While the program dates from World War II, it has lost none of its relevance, and can still help modern-day shop floor managers in becoming better leaders. The steps are not rocket science, but good common sense, and described with a clarity and brevity unusual for a management book. Below is a summary, mostly condensed from the “Job Relations 10 Hour Sessions Outline and Reference Material.” This is the third in a series of five posts on TWI. Continue reading JR: Training within Industry – Job Relations
Training within Industry – or TWI for short – was a US program during World War II. It significantly improved industrial production and helped the Allies to win the war. While the ideas date to the 1940s, they are still very relevant. In my view, they are pure gold if you have to manage a shop floor. It is to me the best overarching system for training and managing workers, and it significantly influenced Toyota.
While technology has changed a lot since 1945, people have not. The methods of TWI still work, and can really help you to improve. Even better, the original US government documents from 1945 are all in public domain. Let me introduce you to TWI. This is the first in a series of five posts on TWI. Continue reading Training within Industry – TWI – Oldies but Goldies
Heroes save the day. Heroes turn around the disaster and rescue the puppy from the burning building. Heroes are admired, and everybody wants to be one. Everybody wants a hero when they need one.
But what about the people who prevent the need of a hero? What about the people that make sure the disaster never happens? What kind of people do you really need in your company? Continue reading Heroes, Firefighting, and Corporate Culture
The Japanese work ethic is pretty amazing, and their work standards are among the best of the world. In previous posts I have often written very favorably on these standards. Yet, not all is right in the Japanese working world. In fact, a lot is wrong and troublesome, and this superior work performance comes at a significant cost of work-life balance. Continue reading The Dark Side of Japanese Working Society
Like most companies, Toyota conducts an annual evaluation of the performance of their employees. Recently I got a chance to look at these evaluation sheets and take notes. There are some surprising differences in the evaluation by Toyota in comparison to the evaluation by most other companies. Continue reading The Toyota Employee Evaluation System
Perhaps you’ve heard of the Japanese word monozukuri (sometimes written as 物作り, but most often written as ものづくり). Literally translated, it means to make (zukuri) things (mono). Yet, there is so much meaning lost in translation. A better translation would be “manufacturing; craftsmanship; or making things by hand.” However, this translation also does not give justice to the weight and influence this idea has in Japan. Let me take you on a tour of the Japanese culture of monozukuri. Continue reading Monozukuri – Japanese Work Ethics
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. Continue reading Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 4: Respect for People
Motivating employees for change is tricky. What often helps is respect, but in reality the opposite is common. While managers claim that of course they respect their people, the employees feel very differently, and quite often there is a lack of respect. In this post I want to talk about this lack of respect and why it happens, before showing how to do it better in the next post. Continue reading Employee Motivation and Lean Implementation – Part 3: Lack of Respect