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Toyota Kata Culture

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Toyota Kata Culture

Building Organizational Capability and Mindset Through Kata Coaching


15 min read
10 take-aways
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What's inside?

Toyota Kata offers a logical, repetitive and scalable process for solving problems and meeting goals.

Editorial Rating



  • Innovative
  • Applicable
  • Concrete Examples


This short, detailed guide to implementing a Toyota Kata culture in your organization includes descriptions and examples of “Kata coaching” that you’ll need to work with the Kata processes. “Kata” is a Japanese term for a routine or pattern that improves your practice. Using a fictional manufacturing firm as a case study throughout, authors Mike Rother and Gerd Aulinger leave little room for misunderstanding. Their workbook provides an excellent introduction and guide to starting the transformation to continual learning and organizational improvement. As the authors warn, you’ll encounter challenges and complexities when implementing Kata. But, after you conquer those obstacles, Rother and Aulinger say, the rewards – including better, more structured problem solving and improved results – will make it all worthwhile. getAbstract recommends this lively, readable workbook to leaders and project managers seeking a logical, repetitive and scalable process for reaching their goals. 


“Kata Culture”

Toyota’s Kata strategy emphasizes using structured thinking to achieve a consistent approach to problem solving and continual organizational improvement. “Cascading” the simple Kata methodology up and down an organization’s hierarchy creates a culture of constant coaching and learning. This fortifies all stages of operations and enables substantial gains in productivity.

“Kata,” a Japanese term for a routine or pattern that improves your practice, aligns a company around common goals. Kata also means “a way of keeping two things in alignment.” From the top, leaders develop strategic objectives that they communicate organizationwide.

This prompts managers (“coaches”) and employees (“learners”) at all levels to devise their own goals in support of organizational objectives. Senior leaders describe their strategy in terms of a 12- to 36-month challenge around which employee-learners and manager-coaches set cascading next-targets. The resulting “connected challenges” provide a common purpose for the workforce and gives meaning to its work.

Coaches and learners use the scientific method to set their goals: Each pair constructs...

About the Authors

Mike Rother, who works with people and organizations on scientific thinking skills, also wrote Toyota Kata, The Toyota Kata Practice Guide, Creating Continuous Flow, and, with John Shook, Learning to See. Gerd Aulinger advises organizations on improving people and customer value.

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