Be Humble and Show Gratitude for Things Great and Small
While all the Toyota Precepts are equally vital to the ethos of Toyota, this one encompasses what happens when we move from “head to heart.”
It reinforces the concept that all our activities are supported by other people and, on a greater scale, by society in general. As Sakichi Toyoda said, “Society consists of you and others. Thanks to those people, you can eat, wear clothes, and run a business.”
“ Society consists of you and others. Thanks to those people, you can eat, wear clothes, and run a business.”
As shared in the “be practical and avoid frivolity” precept, Sakichi himself lived a modest life despite his success. He knew that his achievements weren’t solely because of his efforts, but were due to those around him, a key underlying theme of the “be humble” precept.
In practical matters, the concept should inspire associates to share credit where it is due by acknowledging team members and other departments that contributed to a success. It also means taking advice when warranted—which can help make everyone’s work stronger—rather than assuming everything you do is the correct or superior way. When there is a failure, which is bound to happen in an organization that prides itself on forward thinking, it means not placing blame or responsibility on others.
In addition, this precept prompts associates to show gratitude to everyone around them—colleagues as well as related companies, suppliers, customers, and all the other partners who are foundational to our work each day. It also extends to lending a helping hand to those who need it.
For leaders, it’s a reminder to guide with confident humility, aiming to develop fellow team members and encouraging them to share their insight, opinions, and perspectives for the good of all.
When you act with humility and appreciation, you realize the goal of seeking a greater purpose for your work, allowing you to acknowledge the fact that we are all in this together.