March 13, 2012

A Taste of Toyota And Its Culture

Stripes atop a 1961 Toyota FJ25 Land Cruiser 4-Wheel Drive Open Top displayed in ToyotaUSA Museum

Coming back from the West to the East is doing a little number on my body clock right now but looking back at the main reason why I was yet again in the West was an experience well worth the jet lag I'm trying to get over these days! Visiting Toyota's headquarters in Torrance, California for the TWIN Camp has not only brought wonderful experiences and the chance to meet fellow TWIN-ners IRL but tons of fun opportunity to learn about Toyota, it's people and it's culture!

The car that represents "Me"! Sporty and made for adventure!
One thing that made a great impression on me during the sessions and interactions with Toyota and it's executives was discovering their plain and straightforward mission, which is to "Be the most respected and admired vehicle in the world". A statement that left a lot to be desired of. This is a company that puts it's integrity first through it's creation of quality and reliable cars, and prestige and fortune second! How can you not love a company like this? 

I must admit that I went to this event without pre-set expectations but rather openness to new discoveries. After all, I was going, to "get to know" Toyota. Plain and simple. And what an inspiring experience it was!

It's People.
I've always worked in a corporate setting and I would tell you now that corporate executives are mostly highly-strung and have this uncanny attitude of arrogance about them (probably brought about by the highly stressful nature of their jobs) but not these Toyota execs! I'm not being biased but my first impression was that they are passionate and dedicated about the mission that Toyota stands for yet at the same time projecting a sense of humility that is quite evident at how they interacted with us and me personally. When do you ever spend time with the VP of a department of a huge company, chat and dine with you and treats you like  you're his long-time colleague and friend? I'd say, it rarely happens! That's the experience afforded to us by Dave Nordstrom, VP of Social Media and his awesome team!

It's Giving nature.
It is not uncommon these days to hear about most companies doing philanthropic programs and Toyota is not an exception but there is more to what they do that makes them unique. Besides their 100 Cars for Good, they also support several institutions and foundations like the National Public Lands Day, A National Environmental Education Foundation Program (NEEF) to whom they recently "granted $3 Million to improve the capacity of community-based organizations supporting parks and other public lands." Though my favorite is where they reward their associates when they volunteer to a cause they love! As shared by Michael Rouse, VP of Philanthropy and Community Affairs.

It's Culture.
There is one word that fully describes Toyota and what it believes in, and that is the Japanese word "Kaizen",  which means continuous improvement. It is the company's guiding principle, is practiced by everyone in the company and evident in every car they've ever designed or manufactured. It's a very powerful and effective philosophy that makes Toyota a very successful and respected brand in the world today. And they do intend to keep striving to improve continuously! Now that is truly admirable!

Though I spent only a short time at Toyota's headquarters and with it's admirable people, it's undeniably productive, highly informative and admirable! The transparency, hospitality and welcoming interaction they have afforded us is one that truly inspired me and gained my full respect for them! It's a brand that makes you proud to be associated with! 

Want some Toyota interactions? Here are some online events where you can interact with Toyota:
  • 100 Cars for Good Tweet Chat - March 13 @ 12pm PST with Michael Rouse, VP of Community Relations and Philantrophy
  • Ask A Sienna Expert Chat - This will take place in the TWIN Community but if you have any burning questions or comments about the Sienna mini-van, leave them in the comments section and I'll deliver them to the experts in your behalf.

Stay tuned for more TWIN Camp recap and excitably fun photos! You might also see more of my ever-loyal sidekick Stripes!

*Zensible Mama is an exclusive member of TWIN. This travel and all lodging expenses has been covered by Toyota, who also gave her branded tech goodies including Sony BloggiePowerstick and initially a Kindle Fire. No compensations involved. All statements expressed herein are solely personal opinions and not at all influenced by Toyota.*


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