KataCon is a couple of weeks out. If you are considering going you are probably looking at the keynote speakers and breakout workshops.
The other reason to attend KataCon is to meet other people and share experiences with them. I’d like to introduce you to two of those people.
Hal Frohreich is the Chief Operating Officer of Cascade DAFO in Ferndale, Washington. Their product is custom pediatric foot / ankle orthotics that help kids walk. Yup, custom. Every one is different.
Since taking the position, Hal has been using Toyota Kata as a mechanism to develop the leadership and technical skills of the supervisors and, in doing so, make fundamental shifts to the culture of the organization. For you TWI folks, he has also deployed TWI, especially Job Instruction, along side the Toyota Kata for much more consistency in the way work is performed.
Hal provides support to his Production Manager, Tim Grigsby. Tim coaches 4-7 kata boards every day and covers diverse areas including people development, I.T. issues, R&D, and production. Tim views his job as seeing that each work team has the time, education, direction, space, tools and help to improve their work. Toyota Kata provides the structure that he uses to help them develop critical thinking and clarity in their target conditions, obstacles, and their PDCA cycles.
Each afternoon the COO and CEO walk the floor and review the target conditions, obstacles and next steps. This helps keep things aligned as well as ensure nobody is “stuck” on a problem that is outside of their scope to fix.
I believe, and teach, that Toyota Kata is a mechanism for driving culture change, and this is the philosophy that Hal and Tim have embraced. While the performance of the organization has dramatically improved by every measure you care to ask about, that is not the real result of this work.
The real outcome has been to create a cadre of front-line leaders that are taking initiative and applying creative solutions vs. just getting through the day doing what they are told.
Come to KataCon and find these guys. They are worth talking to.