Matt Homann dug up a 1997 article on Honda from CIO Magazine that has an interesting description of their collaborative environment. As I read the excerpt Matt provided, I couldn't help think of "what good looks like."
The collaborative environment at Honda is a byproduct of the company's emphasis on the Japanese concept of the three actuals - go to the actual place, work with the actual people or part and understand the actual situation. ... A visit to the site about a specific problem not only prevents engineers from becoming detached from the actual process, it often yields insight into a completely unrelated and unforeseen issue.
If I'm trying to help you fix your widget or improve a process, it's infinitely more helpful to see it in operation than to have you describe it over the phone or in the conference room. Tell me what I should see (what good looks like), and then let's go look for it.
The rest of the article is interesting from its perspective of 10 years ago with what Honda was doing. There are the usual, surprising metrics about Honda in comparison with the other automakers: faster development new models, shorter shutdown between models... I wonder how Honda and the rest of the industry stack up on these meaningful, but hidden metrics now.