The classroom lights dimmed, and the video started. On the screen, a teacher spoke to a room full of children about judging people based on the color of their eyes. It was a classic experimentation film used to demonstrate behavioral changes in children when exclusion and inequity were part of the cultural norm — a sobering look at the power of words and the impact we have on one another through our interactions and the level of respect we offer to one other.
In that instant, Bill Turner, a production supervisor at Toyota Logistics Services (TLS) Vehicle Distributions Center (VDC) in Georgetown, and 23-year Toyota team member experienced an “a-ha” moment while sitting in that Diversity and Inclusion training course.
“I’d always been aware of diversity and always had a respect for others, but that video was an eye-opener. Watch what you say — words mean things. People take on the way you treat them, and that’s exactly why Respect for People at Toyota is so important. We create a great place with great people and excellent jobs with quality products because we treat one another with respect.”
When the opportunity arose for Bill to take a train the trainer course to present other Diversity and Inclusion (D&I) courses, he couldn’t sign up fast enough.
“I worked with other supervisors from other facilities and traveled to present D&I courses. Toyota really does great things to help build better team members, and I wanted to be a part of making sure people were taking advantage of these courses.”
“The modules,” Bill says, “are created in a way that can help team members in their personal lives, too. Everything we learn about dealing with others and crucial conversations can be applied in every area of your life.”
Bill says volunteering to present D&I training was rewarding and helped reinforce an important message. “All people have value. It doesn’t matter where someone is from or who they are, their every thought matters and should be valued. Doing things the same way is not always the best way, and fresh eyes with a fresh perspective should always be welcomed.”