When I moved to Japan with my family just over five years ago, I knew that our 18 month assignment would be an amazing experience, but I never anticipated the degree to which it would completely change my life. It changed how I view leadership. It changed how I engage with my clients. It changed how I live life. And it introduced me to daruma dolls (my obsession, if you don’t already know that about me!). The move forever incorporated Japan as an important part of my life fabric.
Yet, out of all the amazing changes and experiences from living in Japan, the relationship I have developed with Isao Yoshino, a 40 year Toyota leader and one of the most people-centered people I have ever met, is the most significant.
For years, Mr. Yoshino, as I call him publicly, or Isao, as I call him personally, and I have met, collaborated and connected on many topics, including what makes the “Toyota Way” unique and something other organizations strive to emulate. Our initial meetings in his office in Nagoya turned into collaboration and visits around the world in the U.S., Europe, and Japan. Two years ago, the idea for this book was formed. Started initially as the concept of “booklet” in which to share a leadership lessons from us both anchored by both stories from Mr. Yoshino’s 40 years at Toyota and my career, as we dove in deeper to Mr. Yoshino’s memories – many of which he hadn’t recalled in years –it became clear to me that it needed to be much more. The richness of Mr. Yoshino’s powerful lessons and stories needed to be told!
In collaboration with Mr. Yoshino, I have captured his experiences, his successes and failures, and his inspirational leadership insights, and have framed them in context for your learning today, in the forthcoming book, Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning.