Principle 13 of Toyota Way

The essence of the 13th Principle is about making decisions slowly so as when implementing new projects the mistakes are minimum.


The essence of the 13th Principle is about making decisions slowly so as when implementing new projects the mistakes are minimum. As Alex Warren (Ex SVP of Toyota Motor Manufacturing) said, in the USA they used to do the big planning during 3 months and implementing in 9 months having plenty of trial and error issues; on the contrary, in Japan, they plan in 9 months and implement in 3 without any major issues.

Important decisions must be made in consensus, with the approval of everybody and taking into account the whole risks encountered. Besides, before making it, study a wide range of alternative solutions weighing all the features of each and having an overall mark for every proposal.

Another interesting fact about this Principle is working together using the Nemawashi Method.


It speaks about an informal process of quietly laying the foundation for a proposed change by speaking to the people involved, gathering support and feedback from them. It is considered an important method in any change, before any formal steps are undertaken. A successful nemawashi implementation enables any changes to be carried out within a manufacturing plant with the consent of all sides.

Nemawashi is literally translated as “going around the roots”. The original meaning was: digging around the roots of a tree to prepare it for a transplant. This process involves bringing the dirt from the new location, introducing it to the tree before the transplant, so the tree can grow used to the new environment (situation) before it gets there.

Nemawashi is often cited as an example of a Japanese word which is difficult to translate effectively although it is often translated as “laying the groundwork.”

In Japan, high-ranked people expect to be let in on new proposals prior to an official meeting (high power distance society). If they find out about something for the first time during the meeting they will feel that they have been ignored, and they may reject it for that reason alone. Therefore, it’s important to approach these people individually before the meeting is held. This provides an opportunity to introduce the proposal to them and gauge their reaction.

One of the risks of implementing changes in processes is the failure to consider all options and the potential for a result not planned.

Moving quickly with identifying a problem and generating a solution may lead to mistakes. Therefore, the problem is not yet solved and more time is needed to solve the incorrect solution and put in place the proper one.

Having explained the base of the Principle, here it comes:

“Make decisions slowly by consensus, thoroughly considering all options; implement decisions rapidly.”

This principle involves two parts, first one, previous to the decision making process, evaluate all the proposals and solutions; second one, implementing quickly once the final decision has been made.

Hope this post has been interesting for you and looking forward to your comments and recommendations!