Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Drastic Action by Toyota

As a crisis consultant, we frequently are faced with making the best recommendation to a client facing a difficult situation.

The "best recommendation" is not always the perfect recommendation, because the "perfect" recommendation is just not practical or saleable to the decision makers in an organization.

My hat's off to the person or persons who recommended Toyota suspend manufacture of eight models with potentially flawed accelerators, and I am equally impressed with the decision makers at Toyota who made the decision to stop production until the problem can be fixed.

Skeptics may say Toyota is using this problem to "save money" by temporarily halting production and not paying suspended employees for days or weeks. If that was the motivation for suspending production of the Camry, Avalon, RAV4, Corolla, Matrix, Highlander, Tundra and Sequoia, it may cost the company a lot more than it saves in reputation damage to those brands.

We almost always counsel clients to take responsibility for their problem or mistake and then fix it, and begin rebuilding customer confidence. Tylenol was one of the first really big examples of a company taking drastic action and recovering stronger than ever as a brand, and Tylenol was the victim of an outsiders' actions. The company had not done anything wrong.

I've always been taught, and believe very strongly, that whether in our personal lives or our business lives, "doing the right thing, is almost always the right thing to do!"

Toyota is proving that again.

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