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‘Leading the Way’ Podcast: Jim Lentz, CEO, Toyota North America

If you’re wondering how Toyota became the number one automotive company on the planet, you’ll want to hear how their core values, coaching culture, and collaborative workspace plays a role in their tremendous success. Jim Lentz, CEO of Toyota North America and a decisive leader who understands the importance in challenging the status quo, gives us a peek under the hood of how Toyota sustains a culture of innovation and continuous improvement. He also discusses the strategy of moving the company’s headquarters to Plano, Texas.  

You’ll be inspired by Lentz’s journey to the top, motivated by his leadership philosophies and intrigued by the success stories he shares.  

Key soundbites

  • On diversity – “If I have a diverse group of people around me who give me five, six, or seven different options, the more the diverse the options, the better decision I am going to make. I am a decision-maker, a problem solver, not a critic.”
  • On leadership – “It’s not about hierarchy. It’s about who has the knowledge, the expertise, the passion to take on a new project. That is where leadership comes from. Be patient and be a leader of people. Lead people and manage projects.”
  • On collaborative workspaces – “Physical environment is critical to attract the next generation. In our case, we created an environment where we have some open offices. The enclosed offices are in the center of the building so the open offices are along the windows and light. We created small areas to innovate and collaborate where they can think and talk and problem-solve and work things out.”
  • On culture – “We all feed off the same core value structure…respect for people, teamwork, maximizing team performance, a long-term vision and challenging that vision, continuous improvement…small steps results in innovation over time. The culture is put into place, one that rewards those core values.”
  • On talent development – “First, understand their needs. I hate having personnel reviews. It needs to be more about coaching sessions so that it’s good positive feedback both ways so the leader can talk to them about what they’re doing well, improvements that can be made, and the team leader can understand what their interests are.”

About Leading the Way

Leading the Way is a weekly radio and podcast series that highlights influential business leaders and leading people practices from i4cp. Hosted by Emmy-award winning radio host Scott Murray and i4cp's Angel Carlton, the show feature interviews with respected business leaders, from Kansas City Chiefs owner Clark Hunt to "Shark Tank" investor Mark Cuban.

The show airs live each Sunday at 4pm CT on KLIF 570 in the Dallas/Ft. Worth area, and debuts on iTunes and the i4cp website the following week.