The joint venture was developed to have American workers learn Toyota’s production methods, which were much leaner and more efficient. [emphasis added]
Maybe that was GM’s intention – to “fix” the workforce. This fits in with the judgment I developed about GM’s leadership over the last decade, and especially the last year – that they see their problems as something other than them.
Toyota’s intention in the plant was to determine the best way to teach Toyota’s methods to the leadership. The test is to see how well the leadership teaches the line workers. To that end, Toyota pretty much succeeded. They learned how to open a plant outside of Japan.
Who didn’t learn as much as this opportunity presented them?
Aside from GM’s top leadership (a topic which has been pretty well dissected here and elsewhere on the web and in print), I think the other big missed opportunity here was for the UAW. What if their stewards and business managers were experts in coaching and continuous improvement? Think about the possibilities for them.