Jeffrety Gitomer Tears a Few Pages from Toyota's Playbook

By Jon Miller Published on October 2nd, 2008

Today I want to share with you something that came in the weekly e-mail from sales guru Jeffrey Gitomer. I don’t love sales nearly enough to put into practice everything Mr. Gitomer has to teach, but his passion and insights are worth reflecting on and passing on to others. The Setpember 29 e-mail on what it takes to have a successful business was surprisingly close to the spirit of the TPS and the Toyota way. The italic text are extracts from that e-mail, bold text are my comments:

These are the elements that have driven my business to success:
1. Great people. People who are excellent at what they do. Self-starters who are smart and responsible, and possess a passion for excellence and a successful track record. Not just salespeople – everyone MUST be excellent. Reception, accounting, shipping, and especially anyone who talks to customers.

Toyota way principle: Respect for people, “building things is building people”
2. Harmony within. Each person must decide to “get along” with everyone else. This means their attitude must be positive, and they have to understand and be able to get along for the common good, even through personality conflicts, minor disagreements, and major disagreements will occur. They can get over it, and get on with it.

Toyota way principle: mutual respect, respect the local laws and customs, and certainly harmony itself between people and machines or the corporation and the larger society
3. A continuous flow of ideas. From everyone – especially me as the leader.
Toyota way principle: Continuous flow, continuous improvement
4. Unless you have sales, you have no business. Products and services that are understandable, have perceived value, have gained market acceptance, and are easy to purchase. There are lots of sales on the books because the product is in demand.

Toyota way principle: The role of Toyota Motor Sales has been absolutely key in the success of Toyota, as well as their market-in mindset and customer focus, not to mention the philosophy of “we do not build what we cannot sell”

5. Money. Don’t confuse sales with money. Money comes from making profitable sales. My father once told me “You can have lots of business — but no money.” Learn your profitability, and transfer it to your sales and your salespeople.

Toyota way principle: Profit = selling price – cost, Taiichi Ohno’s idea that “costs exist to be reduced”
6. Creativity and willingness to risk. Trying new things and new ways. Your customers demand it but your competitors hope you’ll do “business as usual.”

Toyota way principle: Kaizen, creativity and craft, challenge
7. Earn loyalty from everyone. Loyalty is stability, growth, and profit all rolled into one. Loyalty has 3.5 parts. You must earn from (1) your customers, (2) your vendors, and (3) your employees. The best way to get loyalty is (3.5) to give loyalty.

Toyota way principle: Partnership with customers, suppliers and the community
8. Wide open communication. Speak your mind and say your peace – truthfully. This may mean drop the PC and get real world, real life. Maybe that way you’ll have a real business.

Toyota way principle: Possibly nemawashi, management by fact, visual management?
9. Freedom to succeed and fail. No one fails on purpose. I give everyone freedom to learn, freedom of expression (without fear of reprisal), and freedom to take risks.

Toyota way principle: Experimentation and PDCA
10. A respected (loved) leader. I am the leader. The passionate, lead by example, cheerleader leader. I love what I do, and it’s contagious to all.

Toyota way principle: Leading by going to see for yourself (genchi genbutsu), the spirit or the love of “making things” or monozukuri in Japanese

10.5 A fun atmosphere and a fun environment. We won an award a few years ago “Most fun place to work in Charlotte.” Could your company win that award in your city?

If all of the other 10 points are true, how could it not be fun?

  1. Jason Yip

    October 4, 2008 - 6:07 am

    For 8., I would say the Toyota concept would be “catch ball” from hoshin kanri.

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