We didn’t expect to be treated like this

Not from Toyota:

Five months before the new 2002 Lexus ES hit showroom floors, the company’s U.S. engineers sent a test report to Toyota City in Japan: The luxury sedan shifted gears so roughly that it was “not acceptable for production.”

The warning was sent to Toyota Executive Vice President Katsuaki Watanabe on May 16, 2001. Days later, another Japanese executive sent an e-mail to top managers saying that despite misgivings among U.S. officials, the 2002 Lexus was “marginally acceptable for production.” The new ES went on sale across the nation on Oct. 1, 2001.

From “Toyota took cost-cutting approach on lurching Lexus models, records show,” Ken Binsinger, LA Times, 23 May 2010.

You can practice the Toyota Production System all you want, but by treating your customers — Lexus customer, no less — with such contempt, it all goes for nought.  The moral level trumps the mental and the physical, in business as in war.

Here’s a thought:

Moral isolation

occurs when we fail to abide by codes of conduct or standards of behavior in a manner deemed acceptable or essential by others outside ourselves.

From Strategic Game of ? and ?, J. R. Boyd, June 1987.  As Boyd notes  few charts later, your competitors cannot morally isolate you — that’s something you have to do to yourself (although competitors can make sure you get full credit for your actions).

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