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The business industry is one of those that undergo considerable changes very often. There are a number of educative and informative literary sources that help to comprehend what steps have to be taken to achieve the necessary success and not to lose leading positions which have been already achieved. In this paper, two books of different writers about management philosophy and working principles will be analyzed.
The first book is the work by Jeffrey Liker The Toyota Way that described 14 main principles adopted by the Toyota’s corporation in order to improve numerous business processes. The second book is written by Jim Collins; his Good to Great is a unique collection of the companies which have already gained recognition and the six concepts which have their own characteristics and impacts on the development of the organization.
These two books represent different visions on the same issues which aim at improving the world of business and developing companies to the necessary levels. There are several similarities and differences of the ideas offered by Liker and Collins, and a thorough analysis of these points should help to define what steps are the most powerful and even obligatory for the company and what aspects have to be under more serious evaluation.
Similarities between Liker’s and Collins’ Ideas
One of the most significant similarities of the works of these two different writers is the attention to proper business management and the elements which help to organize work on the necessary level. The process of comparison of these two books shows that the authors under consideration define similar to each other ideas which are extremely important to all organizations.
First of all, certain attention is paid to the qualities and duties which have to be inherent to any leader. According to Liker and Collins, any leader has to understand his/her own duties and role in the organization.
They both agree that purposes of the company play a very important role: great leaders of Toyota Company “focused on a long-term purpose for Toyota as a value-added contributor to society” (Liker 182) and “level 5 leaders want to see the company even more successful in the next generation, comfortable with the idea that most people won’t even know that the roots of that success trace back to their efforts” (Collins 26).
The next peculiarity that unites the ideas of Liker and Collins is connected to the staff and the necessity to be careful with choosing people for working in the organization. “If you have the wrong people, it doesn’t matter whether you discover the right direction; you still won’t have a great company” (Collins 42). This idea as nothing else shows how important the choice of people for the team may be.
Almost the same is presented by the second author because “selecting the right people for the team is critical as is setting aside the time for those individuals and giving them a lot management support” (Liker 304). Considering such attitude to the situation, it seems to be very important to focus on the work of the team.
And even if success is usually based on teamwork but not on individuals, it is crucially important to choose carefully each individual for the team in order not to spoil the state of affairs and be sure about each detail and each person in the team.
What is more, it is not very difficult to organize the work of one or two people; however, the work of the team requires a through organization, and people’s characteristics and desire to work influence the process itself and the results of the work.
The last similarity of the principles described by Liker and Collins is all about the technological side of the work of organization. “New technology is often unreliable and difficult to standardize and therefore endangers flow” (Liker 39). This is why it is very important to check what kind of technology has to be used to decrease the level of risk and to improve the quality of the work.
This aspect is also discussed by another author. “Sophisticated manufacturing technology” (Collins 102) is important for the organization but still it does not perform the most crucial role, this is why people have to consider this aspect but also be ready for many other challenges and demands.
These similar features of two different works help to comprehend that there are a number of aspects which have to be evaluated by any organization that wants to gain recognition, respect, and success.
Differences between Liker’s Principles and Collins’ Concepts
Of course, one of the most evident differences of these two words is the variety of principles’ quantity. Collins introduces 6 concepts only, and Liker makes an attempt to define 14 main principles. This is why it becomes very captivating to clear up what may cause such difference and whose ideas are more correct and effective for the organization.
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One more difference that has to be mentioned from the very beginning is the fact that Collins relies on the experience of more than 10 companies at once: he compares, evaluates, analyses, and discovers what makes these companies great and what promotes the failure of other organizations. In his turn, Liker makes use of one organization only. He deals with Toyota Corporation and the steps which have been taken by its leader for a long period of time.
This is why the ideas offered by Liker may seem to be narrower than those offered by Collins. However, the effect of their ideas remains to be considerable for the industry under consideration. Now, let us talk about the differences of the principles themselves in order to define weak and strong sides of both approaches.
First of all, Liker tells that success of the company and the use of the principles offered should depend on the work place to which these ideas may be applied. Though he focuses on one organization only, he truly believes that such approaches and ideas may improve any situation under any conditions. In his turn, Jim Collins suggests to accept his concepts as some physical laws which cannot be neglected.
This way helps to overcome such crucial steps as disregard of work place and people inhere. His concepts may be regarded as general laws which are significant for every company under any condition. This is why such generalization of the ideas seems to be more winning then concretization of some particular aspects.
The evaluation of principles shows that the authors have different attitudes to the idea of control: Liker underlines the importance of visual control in order to observe any type of problem anytime, and Collins says that much attention may be paid to the discipline and team behavior in order to neglect the importance of “excessive controls” (Collins 13).
The first author suggests making use of the 5S program that is focused on sort, shine, sustain, straighten, standardize (Liker 150) in order to promote the effectiveness of the work, to help people comprehend their duties and functions, and to reduce different types of costs.
This principle introduced by Liker in his work shows that control plays an important role in any organization, and if the leader fails to control the major aspects, he/she is under a threat to destroy the organization.
And Collins does not find it necessary to control everything always. If his concepts such as attention to the quality of people work, culture of discipline, leadership qualities, etc are taken into account, there is no necessity of control because everything should go well.
Finally, Liker and Collins have different attitudes to the importance of decision-making process. Liker introduces one principle where he perfectly defines what and has to be inherent to the decision-making process and why. There are 5 significant parameters which should be followed because wrong decision may influence the work of the company in many different ways.
As for the concepts of Collins, there is no idea about the necessity of this process. The author does not find this process important for the whole work. He admits that people can make decisions but still he fails to evaluate what role of leaders in this decision-making process. This is why such different attitude to decisions in business organizations deserves certain attention in this analysis as well.
Personal Analysis of Similarities and Differences
A thorough analysis of similarities and differences of Liker’s principles and Collins’ concepts turns out to be a very helpful step to realize that the lean philosophy used by Toyota Corporation has many positive sides. First of all, it is discovered that any organization has to take a certain number of steps to pass from good to great.
The principles introduced in The Toyota Way help to define what can make a company more successful and recognizable. The highest quality of the production that is demonstrated by Toyota is one of the most powerful and evident proofs that the chosen philosophy and the chosen program lead to positive results.
Abilities to earn more profit, to compete with other representatives, and to take the leading positions in the chosen industry around the whole world – this is what may be used to defend the lean philosophy as a unique concept that is peculiar to Toyota.
Any organization has to represent a powerful and smart leader who is able to define long-term and short-term goals after a deep analysis of company’s possibilities and demands. It is wrong to believe that any person regardless experience and skills can gain the necessary qualities and become a good leader. The ideas taken from the both books prove that attention to leader’s qualities has to be very specific because one single mistake may be crucial for the company.
Lean production introduced by the representatives of Toyota remains to be one of the most powerful and effective ideas “which has triggered a global transformation in virtually every industry to Toyota’s manufacturing and supply chain philosophy and methods over the last decade” (Liker 11).
This kind of philosophy may be supported by a variety of issues which are described in the books under analysis: necessity to control every single detail in the organization does not take much costs and helps to save time and efforts; care while choosing people promotes the better quality of services and attention to teamwork as an integral part of organization’s life; and decision-making process makes it possible to weigh every detail and give clear answers to questions posed on different levels.
Finally, the philosophy that is frequently practiced in such organizations like Toyota has a number of positive feedbacks which improve the work and promote industry’s development. “When a company does not yet believe in the lean philosophy heart and soul, it is particularly important to achieve some big wins” (Liker 305).
This is why it is still necessary to promote this philosophy and make everyone agree with its basics in order to create one common goal and use different methods to achieve this goal.
Toyota is one of the most successful and expensive organization in the world; the results achieved by this company should inspire the others and be a good example of how own dream, one purpose, and one attempt provides many people with many chance to improve their lives and work.
The books by Liker and Collins introduce a variety of principles which have to be taken into account by any business organization in order to become not good but great. Though there are some differences in these books, these differences help to define how exactly each concept and idea may influence the work of the company and how chosen lean philosophy is justified by the results achieved.
Collins, Jim. Good to Great: Why Some Companies Make the Leap… and Others Don’t. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 2001. Print.
Liker, Jeffrey. The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer. New York: McGraw-Hill Professional, 2004. Print.