In discussions about the Toyota Way/Lean principle of ‘respect’ I’ve noticed that some use the phrase ‘respect for humanity’, others use ‘respect for people’ and even ‘respect for individuals’ is used sometimes. It sparked me to think about what difference using each one might have. For me, ‘Respect for individuals’ reminds us to value each person’s diverse background, point of view and unique contribution. ‘Respect for people’ has a more collective view and asks us to consider how we treat our employees, customers and suppliers. Finally, ‘respect for humanity’ has the broadest, most all-encompassing view. It reminds us that our organization – made up of individuals and people – has an obligation to interact with the broader community and the entire world in a respectful, humane way. Because of this, I prefer ‘respect for humanity’. Which do you prefer, and why? I’d love to hear!

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