Friday, June 6, 2014

Kata Is Cool, But ...

Jeff Liker, author of The Toyota Way, said his first reaction to the Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata methodology was “this is sort of cool stuff” but it had simply … “reframed the Toyota Way in baby step terms and maybe oversimplified it.”

He changed his mind. He came to see the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata routines as an approach for breaking down Toyota’s management system into pieces that can be explicitly practiced. In a new video, Liker explains that learning complex skills, such as improvement behaviors, requires you to break down skills into small elements to practice and learn. Kata is a method for breaking down Toyota’s lean management principles into pieces that can be explicitly practiced.

In other words, Toyota Way is the big picture and Toyota Kata gives us a way to get there. In fact, the kata idea of developing a clear long-term vision and short-term target conditions pointing toward the vision “actually is the Toyota way,” concludes Liker. “That’s really what the masters were intending.”

Liker makes these comments at 8:45 into the video in a section titled “What about Lean as Eliminating Waste?” The entire video is filled with insights into coaching, learning, developing people’s skills, and lean management practices. Watch the video

Understand and begin practicing the Improvement Kata and Coaching Kata, systematic routines for continuously improving the work you do, at these workshops:
Improvement Kata Experience, June 18, Seattle
Improvement Kata / Coaching Kata, Aug. 19-21, Cambridge, at LEI’s office

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