Toyota and Lessons on Leadership


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The total number of recalls for Toyota is growing and it is currently at 5.3 million cars. The recall was precipitated due to one critical error of the accelerator pedal – it was getting caught on the edge of the floormat, as well as getting stuck without due cause. It created the possibility of the car accelerating out of control.

By stopping the production and sales of 8 models, Toyota took the risk of losing billions of dollars to get it fixed. But more than the money, their reputation of having the best quality and dependability was on the line.

This is definitely bringing back memories of Johnson & Johnson Tylenol recall back in 1982.

As new information is slowly coming out, it has been discovered that Toyota has been trying to cut cost. Therefore, their suppliers have been using cheaper materials, which lead to the decrease in quality.

Now, they are scrambling to come up with a new pedal design and replacing all the models with the defective accelerator pedals.

There are some leadership lessons from this situation:

1) Cutting corners can be disastrous. So often, leaders are all about the bottom line. But we have to remember that sometimes how we get to the bottom line is just as important, if not more, than the bottom line. The steps that we take can either glorify God or glorify ourselves. At the end, we have to remind ourselves that it is not about us.

2) Yesterday success is no guarantee for future success. It is easy to sit back and think that things are going well because of all the things that we have accomplished. How tempting it is to back through the rearview mirror and forget to look ahead. Things change. God moves in different ways and it is crucial that we have the faith and obedience to follow Him on a daily basis.

3) Trust is everything. In ministry, we have a “trust account.” We are either making deposits or we are making withdrawals. The math is simple – the more withdrawals than deposits, we will go bankrupt. We have to do everything possible to make sure that we are in the black when it comes to the trust account.

4) Be willing to pay the price to make things right. A lot of things in leadership are about sacrifice. We have to set the example by giving our time, talent, and treasures. But we also have to be willing to sacrifice our pride and self-centeredness, especially when we are wrong. No matter what the price, if we are willing to take up the cost of rectifying things that are not right. Then, we will earn a greater respect from those we lead.

Spiritual ENTREPRENEUR, Church EQUIPPER, Leadership EDUCATOR, Ideas EXPERIMENTER & Global EXPLORER who is trying to transform lives and transform the world.
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