This is a Japanese word that is difficult to translate directly into Portuguese.

If you google 想い in Portuguese, you’ll come up with “pensamento”. But it’s much more than that.

I like the English “thought, feeling, mind, heart, imagination”, which in a free translation could be thought, reflection, attention, consideration, care.

I heard the above question asked by a SENSEI in the run-up to a TPS training session for which I had been assigned.

At Toyota it was like this. You’ve received the training, so you give it. You go from student to teacher. Only once your student has passed can you say that you know.

But I was still preparing to be an instructor. And I thought I was doing well, following the same training material.

Around then, he interrupted me and asked the question. “What’s your OMOI, Dario-san?”

I thought, and replied “I want to train the participants in my session well”. He agreed – and added – “you’re right, but who are they?”.

I was going to train a class of Team Leaders, who in the factory hierarchy were those on the top rung of leadership, new people, who had already stood out among their colleagues, recognized by their leaders, who had therefore been promoted.

But it was also a group that had never heard of TPS. On top of that, they had woken up early, and would be out of their normal environment, out of the heat of production that kept them lively and motivated.

How do you keep a good class motivated, even in the face of a novice instructor? That was the point of SENSEI’s question.

That’s when I did a lot of thinking. Posture, tone of voice, jokes, how to keep their attention, how to “take the hand” of those who were having more difficulty, even “translating” the text of the handouts into the language of the shop floor.

I learned a lot about how to help train young leaders. And the most satisfying thing was seeing my SENSEI attending my class, approving of my way of training.

“Dário-san, now I can say that you really KNOW”. That was my reward.

Now at, we have the opportunity to develop training material and always bring this teaching back to life.

Arigatô, SENSEI Iidaka!


Dário Yanagita – (
Dário has 30 years’ experience in the automotive industry in Brazil, including 15 years working for Toyota do Brasil. He has varied expertise in machining, assembly, logistics, quality and the environment. He has implemented Lean production lines, Kaizen programs, managed team development plans and Lean transformation in companies.


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