For years I have been honing my Toyota Kata teaching approach. Now seems to be a good time to make this available to all in digital format.
Central in my approach is a customized Toyota Kata Storyboard.
Phase 1: Clarify Your Thinking
Phase 1 is to familiarize yourself with the thinking pattern called the Improvement Kata. The customized Toyota Kata Storyboard is the simplest way I have found so far to start practicing this thinking pattern.
“Everything should be made as simple as possible, but no simpler.Albert Einstein
1 Understand the Direction
The simplest way to think about direction is to have clarity about the result, the outcome you want to change.
- What is your current result?
- Noun + number.
- What is the result that you aspire?
- Same noun + different number.
- By what date?
2 Grasp the Current Condition
The simplest way to think about conditions is as the collection of characteristics that causes the result.
- Why is the current result as it is?
- What are the knobs and levers that influence the result?
- What is the current position (value) of these knobs and levers?
Filling this part out requires some practice. If you do not know how to get started you can always ask the sabotage question:
If you wanted to destroy the current result what would you do?The sabotage question usually gets people going!
3 Establish the Target Condition
In my approach I just mirror the current condition to the target condition. Since the current result and the desired result have the same noun, the knobs and levers that influence this result are the same. They just need a different position (value) to change the result.
- What knobs and levers are forbidden to change, either by law or ethics?
- What knobs and levers don’t you want to change? Why?
- Which knobs and levers are available to change the result?
- What position do these knobs and levers need, to get the desired result?
Some people find it easier to start with the Target Condition instead of the Current Condition. That is fine with me!
Just mirror back to work on the current condition later.
4 Experiment towards the Target Condition
In Phase 1 we do not experiment too much yet. First we need to build a coherent story in the first two columns of the Storyboard.
As you can see in Phase 2 the green column of the Storyboard gets split over 2 different forms.
But that is for later.
Now lets focus on two different topics that may already be on your mind:
- What are your current perceptions of the problems that stand in your way to reach the desired result?
- What actions did you come up with to address the change of the desired result?
These two questions tap into the thinking mode of people who are very good in seeing problems or who are very action oriented.
Check for consistency
This is an important step that I will address in a next post. I may also write a manual for it. Not sure yet how to do that.
If you cannot wait for that, just give me a ping and we will figure out a way to help you proceed!
Phase 2: Find First Answers
This is the phase were it gets really interesting but it takes some coaching to do it right. In this phase we start experimenting.
Even before the storyboard is complete you can already learn how to experiment!
Usually it takes quite some time to get the first three steps of the Improvement Kata right. And usually it is only after some experimenting that the penny drops. In between there is a huge risk of losing the interest of the mentee…
I think it is essential to learn experimenting as soon as possible!
Phase 3: Engage Others
Once you understand the thinking pattern of the Improvement Kata and have found some first answers yourself you have a story to tell!
Now is the time to start engaging others to help you find even more answers. In this phase I teach you how to build a “Chain of Stories”.
This is the simplest way I found for Strategy Deployment or Hoshin Kanri. Give me a ping when you are interested to learn more!