The Toyota Kata

As organizations design and deploy their internal Lean Enterprise business systems, it is imperative that they focus on making continuous improvement part of everyone’s daily work. They can effectively accomplish this by utilizing a concept known as “The Toyota Kata.”  Having been experienced leaders within the Toyota organization, we at Incito have captured our insights into the Toyota Management and Production System by coaching our clients in the art of “The Toyota Kata.”

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Let’s Reflect on What the Toyota Kata Is

Traditionally, organizations have attempted to deploy a Lean Transformation through a series of Lean workshops focused on tools, by leveraging an internal team of “experts.” The challenge with this model is that a cultural conflict begins to emerge that distinguishes Lean workshops from daily management. When a clean line of demarcation is presented in this fashion, the Lean journey tends to be perceived as just another thing to worry about and tends to fall to the wayside.

Is There a Solution?

The Toyota Kata is an ideal next step solution for those who are not satisfied with their current Continuous Improvement Process. The Toyota Kata is a true management system that, unlike other deployment models, does NOT focus simply on Lean tools, but focuses on effectively increasing the organization’s practical problem-solving ability while consistently focusing and aligning with your organization’s True North Vision.

This can only be accomplished by developing and optimizing behaviors that enable the entire organization to embrace continuous daily improvement as a habit, rather than a project or a program.

The Key Elements of the Coaching Kata and the Improvement Kata

Coaching Kata

Step 1- Coaching before Target Condition is set

Step 2- Coaching after Target Condition is set
Ensure coaching and understanding of the five questions:

  1. What is the target condition?
  2. What is the actual condition now?
  3. What obstacles are now preventing you from reaching the target condition and which one are you addressing now?
  4. What is your next step?
  5. When can we go and see what we have learned from taking that step?

Step 3- Coaching Practical Problem Solving, A3 Report Writing, and Leadership Behaviors

Step 4- KPI Validation and Scorecard Design

Improvement Kata

Step 1- Understand the Direction or Challenge (Strategic Alignment)

Step 2- Grasp the Current Condition

Step 3- Establish the Next Target Condition

Step 4 – Iterate Toward the Target Condition

Is Toyota Kata the Right Solution for You?

  1. Does your Continuous Improvement Journey align with your organization’s True North Vision?
  2. Have you been on the Continuous Improvement Journey for several years, (Lean, Six Sigma, Daily Improvement, etc.)?
  3. Are the results of your journey satisfactory?
  4. Have the impacts been sustainable?
  5. Is this practiced by everyone, every day (i.e. is it embedded in your DNA)?

If the answer to any of these questions is “No,” consider enlisting the help of an experienced Toyota Kata consultant like Incito. We work with you to transform every aspect of your business to ensure effective alignment between your Lean Enterprise Transformation and your daily management processes.

Receive world-class coaching and make Continuous Improvement part of everyone’s daily work.  Connect with us today to learn more.

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