Category Archives: People Development

Scientific Improvement Beyond The Experiment

“How do we deploy this improvement to other areas in the company?” is a very common question out there. A fair number of formal improvement structures include a final step of “standardize” and imply the improvement is laterally copied or deployed into other, similar, situations. Yet this seems to fly in the face of the […]

David Marquet: Turn Your Ship Around

Regular readers (and clients) know I really like David Marquet’s “Leader-Leader” model and believe it has a synergistic close connection to lean thinking, leadership, and Toyota Kata. When I was offered a chance at getting a pre-publication copy of his Turn Your Ship Around! workbook, I jumped at the opportunity. Lean Leadership I don’t like […]

How Does Kaizen Differ From A Kaizen Event?

The title of this post is a search term that hit the site today. It’s an interesting question – and interesting that it gets asked. “Kaizen” is now an English word (it’s in the OED) and defined as such: Definition of kaizen in English: NOUN A Japanese business philosophy of continuous improvement of working practices, […]

“What Is Lean” – 2015

Mike Rother and Jeff Liker have refined the “What is Lean?” slideshare from earlier this year. I think they have filled things in pretty well. Take a look, then I’ll add my thoughts. Responsibility of Leaders The Jim Womack quote on Slide 4 is telling in a number at a number of levels: “Most management […]

Goal vs “Target Condition”

Emily sent an email asking “how would you describe the difference between GOAL and TARGET CONDITION?” I end up on this topic enough that I thought I’d discuss it here. I am assuming we are referring to the “Toyota / Toyota Kata” context here. I mention that because while “target condition” has a pretty clear […]

Shifting Perspective from Getting Results to Developing People

Note: This post has been in my “Draft” queue for a few months, so actually pre-dates the previous one. But I’m seeing a theme developing in what I am paying attention to lately. Taken from an actual conversation. “What is your target condition?” “To get [this productivity metric] from 60% to 85%.” (thinking) – he […]

“Why Don’t You Just…”

Most leaders will at least superficially agree that organizations with an aligned, empowered workforce are more effective; that decisions are faster when made at lower levels that are closer to the actual facts; and that work teams are the ones in the best position to improve their own processes. Most would agree that they would […]

DMAIC and Toyota Kata

A lot of the organizations I deal with have a legacy with Six Sigma, or some x-Sigma variant. If they are now trying to incorporate Toyota Kata as a way to shift their daily behavior, questions arise about how it fits (or might fit, or whether it fits) with DMAIC. This sometimes comes about when […]

Coaching with Intent

As I continue to explore the concepts in David Marquet’s Turn the Ship Around, I am finding increasing resonance with the concept of intent. I’d like to explore some of that in relationship to lean, “Toyota Kata” and organizational alignment. For a quick review, take a look at the sketchcast video, below, and focus on […]

Competence and Clarity: Toyota Kata at Sea

A friend, and reader, Craig sent a really interesting email: As I was practicing the coaching Kata with one of the First Mates on the factory trawler, whenever an issue arose (usually with the leader blaming an employee) he began asking factory and engineering leadership “what needed to be communicated?” or “what needed to be […]

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