MCBASSI & COMPANY

Ranking companies’ worthiness

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As part of our work on The Worthiness Era, we’re developing a quantitative “Worthiness Ranking” system which we expect to apply to every firm in the Fortune 100 (this will allow us to “name names” among our largest corporations, both positively and negatively). 

In calculating this score, we’ll evaluate each company’s behavior in five different realms:

  • Employer
  • Customer focus
  • Sustainability
  • Absence of greed
  • Contribution

Whenever possible, we’re planning to use publicly-available information as the source for each of the five indicators that combine to yield a company’s “Worthiness” score. 

In future blog entries, we’ll explore some of the details of each of the five indicators.  (In the meantime, let us know if it looks like we’ve missed any major categories.)

Lessons from Toyota

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For the past few decades, people around the world have flocked to Toyota plants to study their greatly admired quality processes.  Now the tables are turned, and people are beginning to study Toyota to understand just the opposite—what went wrong?

 As I read the newspapers and listen to stories about Toyota on NPR, I filter these analyses through the framework that my co-authors and I are using as we write The Worthiness Era.    We use five separate criteria for quantifying the “worthiness” of companies.

Based on the currently available evidence, my hypothesis is that despite all of the public accolades, Toyota has had serious (and heretofore largely unexposed) deficiencies on three of the criteria: worthy employer, customer focus, and (absence of) greed.

 I’ve used our People Index® to help me think through how Toyota measures up on the first category, worthy employer.  The facts strongly suggest that Toyota has had serious deficiencies in multiple areas:

  • Working conditions (too much focus on cost cutting and too little focus on responding to customer input)
  • Accountability (building in true accountability for delivering on Toyota’s promise to its customers)
  • Leadership behaviors (actions that are inconsistent with Toyota’s stated values)

The second category – customer focus – speaks for itself.  Toyota is now paying an extraordinary price for consistently downplaying or flat out ignoring input from its customers.

 At the root of this must be the third category: greed.  In its quest for growth through cost cutting, Toyota has sacrificed the lives of some of it customers. 

 In so doing, it has now put its very existence in jeopardy.  As one of my psychologist friends is fond of saying, “It’s what you get away with in life that kills you.” 

 Toyota was suffering from an undiagnosed organizational cancer.   The old saw that “an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure” is applicable. 

Those who want to learn from Toyota should be seeking diagnostics that enable a rigorous, clear-eyed assessment of their organization’s health.