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Profit Beyond Measure: Extraordinary Results through Attention to Work and People Kindle Edition
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They explore the very deep difference between how most large western corporations management thinks and act vs. how a Toyota executive would see the world and practice their role as a leader and manager. Belief in principles such as "self-organization", the focus on the link between "knowing and doing", enhancing the relationships that interact to create profitable value for customers, and the "union between customer and organization" are explored by the authors. They illustrate how the "profit beyond measure" management philosophy contrasts with what most western manager experience and do in large corporations driven by "quantitative abstractions" of the business that are one dimensional and disconnected from the deeper inter-relations in business that enable sustained and profitable customer relationships.
I enjoyed the first half of the book much more than the second. There is significant repetition that needs some editing. I could do without some of the section toward the end on how these techniques could save society from other "sustainability perils" as seen by the authors. The very end includes a very good table and summary of the key concepts.
I highly recommend this read on the philosophy of management to anyone interested in alternative ideas on leadership and management of successful and profitable large corporations. Many of the ideas will seem intuitive to successful entrepreneurs; however, they are much less commonly practiced at scale in large corporations where it is much more common to see the "mechanistic" and imposed controls based top down management approach.
If you resort to curtailing travel and eliminating donuts to try and make budget, or think lean is a material control system, or simply feel that their current patterns of management will never get you where you need to go, you should read this book. Through the attention and cultivation of the work and relationships of the business and not just the measurement results you will find many disconnects in how you are serving your customers. The work of the organization carries all of the information you need with it, and while output measures are important for reporting reasons, they are not helping you to design a system that connects workers to customers. This can help.
I predict this book and not Relevance Lost will be considered Johnson greatest contribution. Enjoy!
The authors describe in detail two examples which illustrate their thesis. Toyota delivered superior results in its vehicle manufacturing year after year because of its management approach which focused on creating an efficient system with minimised waste and downtime when its less successful competitors were focusing on numbers and results instead of optimising the system. Scania adopted a design process which allowed individual trucks to be tailored to meet customers' needs while ensuring low costs, never sacrificing design principles to achieve short-term financial targets.
Management accounting is roundly criticised in the book; instead the authors advocate order-line profitability analysis. Typical profit-driven management is described by the authors as "management by results", and in its place they advocate "management by means", which involves treating the organisation like a living system of interdependent parts rather than as a machine in which the separate parts can be analysed mechanistically.
The book is more a passionately worded manifesto than a detailed research project. Nonetheless there is a ring of truth to much of what the authors assert. Many companies are very poorly managed, and it is foolish to think that profitability can be improved by concentrating on numbers without devising ways of improving systems underlying a business. Nonetheless this is a book which is fated to be left to one side by the majority of managers who are really more interested in quick ways of improving the next quarter's figures rather than patiently nurturing relationships and waiting for results to unfold.