Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness, and Superior Results
Toyota Kata defines management as, “the systematic pursuit of desired conditions by utilizing human capabilities in a concerted way.” Rother proposes that it is not solutions themselves that provide sustained competitive advantage and long-term survival, but the degree to which an organization has mastered an effective routine for developing fitting solutions again and again, along unpredictable paths. This requires teaching the skills behind the solution.
In this management approach a primary job of leaders and managers is to develop people so that desired results can be achieved. They do this by having the organization members (leaders and managers included) deliberately practice a routine, or kata, that develops and channels their creative abilities. Kata are patterns that are practiced so they become second nature, and were originally movement sequences in martial arts.
Toyota Kata submits that the improvement-kata pattern of thinking and behavior is universal; applicable not only in business but in education, politics, daily living, etc.. The book’s underlying message is that when people practice and learn a kata for how to proceed through unclear territory, they don't need to fear the obstacles, changes and unknowns they encounter. Rather than trying to hold onto a sense of certainty based on one's perspective, people can derive confidence from a kata for working through uncertainty.
About the Shingo Institute
Housed at the Jon M. Huntsman School of Business at Utah State University, the Shingo Institute is named after Japanese industrial engineer Shigeo Shingo. Shingo distinguished himself as one of the world's thought leaders in concepts, management systems and improvement techniques that have become known as the Toyota Business System. Drawing from Shingo's teachings and years of experience working with organizations throughout the world, the Shingo Institute has developed the Shingo Model™ which is the basis for several educational offerings including workshops, study tours and conferences. It also awards and recognizes organizations that demonstrate an exceptional culture that continually strives for improvement and progress. Those interested in more information or in registering to attend the 30th International Shingo Conference may visit www.shingo.org.