Toyoda Precepts: The base of the Global Vision
released on April 2012
A goal for the future, the Toyota Global Vision nevertheless stems from the company’s history. The current vision, which reinforces the corporate mission of serving customers and society by standing at the forefront of mobility, quality and innovation, is conceived as a fruit-bearing tree that grows from roots which symbolize Toyota’s main values and philosophies. While these roots include the Guiding Principles at Toyota and the Toyota Way, perhaps the oldest and deepest is the Toyoda Precepts.
The Toyoda Precepts are five tenets that can be traced back to the convictions of Sakichi Toyoda, the founder of Toyoda Automatic Loom Works, Ltd. Originating from a period of rapid expansion for the Toyoda company, the precepts were compiled by his son Kiichiro and members of the Toyoda management, who sought to educate and unite a workforce around core principles. Announced on October 30, 1935, the fifth anniversary of Sakichi’s death, these moral standards became the official guidelines for all Toyoda operations.
A man of action rather than words, Sakichi diligently practiced the ethics that became the basis of the Toyoda Precepts throughout his life. One such tenet, “Be kind and generous, strive to create a warm, homelike atmosphere,” embodies Sakichi’s ideal work environment centered on teamwork and compassion. To create this kind of workplace, Sakichi treated his coworkers like his own family. He never yelled at his team members and was known to arrive at work early on cold days to light up a stove for them.
Sakichi also emphasized the importance of helping his community. This belief, which drove the invention of his revolutionary automatic loom, is captured in the precept, “Be contributive to the development and welfare of the country by working together, regardless of position, in faithfully fulfilling your duties.” Furthermore, he firmly believed that one must not serve humankind solely for financial gain. This was the motivation behind his donation of one million yen to the Imperial Institute of Invention and Innovation towards the development of a storage battery that would benefit society.
Although decades have passed since Sakichi’s death, the Toyoda Precepts still exert a strong influence that is particularly evident in the Global Vision. As Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) President Akio Toyoda stated in a speech introducing Toyota’s new direction: “This is what the Toyoda Precepts mean in reminding us to ‘be kind and generous’ and to ‘create a warm, homelike atmosphere.’ The idea is to earn as many smiles as possible. It means building relationships of trust and mutual respect with customers and also with business partners, with members of the community at large, and with our fellow team members at Toyota. The smiles that we earn from our customers are our greatest reward.”
Handed down over generations, the Toyoda Precepts remain the basic management philosophy for global Toyota. With a simple, timeless message that emphasizes teamwork, respect for people and continuous improvement, the Toyoda Precepts continue to guide the company as it grows and transforms with the times.