Using Kata to Create Change
One of the experiments we are contemplating is creating custom Kata that focus on specific objectives that we would like team’s to build a competence in. In a way this goes against the very specific Toyota Kata that the wise Mike Rother discusses (yet another reason to attend the Lean Summit as he is guest speaker), yet we haven’t really found another way that offers something as simple as a Kata format.
The intention is that these Lean Kata would:
- Support Gemba walks for busy executives and other managers who are removed from the proverbial coal face
- Provide a predictable mechanism to interact with teams and so create a strong foundation for curiosity and invested leadership
- By providing a set of standardised questions, reduce any individual variability and so ensure interactions with team’s are more respectful and foster curiosity and self empowerment (shifting the bank as a whole out of ‘command and control’)
- Encourage and support the development of a coaching style for participants
- Create one focus point for teams and so avoid them being pulled in many directions (especially at the beginning of their journey where there could be many things for them to engage with)
So far I have identified three generic lean kata, each a pair with one set of questions for the observer to answer for themselves (The observation Kata and designed to enhance their learning of the focus point and so to be discussed with the accompanying Lean Coach – the sensei, student approach and then an Inquiry Kata for use when engaging with the team). These are:
- Flow Kata (a quick set of questions designed to get team’s thinking about flow and visualising it. This would be the pre-cursor to the improvement kata as without the flow visualised, there is nothing to improve)
- Change Kata (not yet the PDCA set as proposed by Rother, but questions designed to get team’s to think about what improvements they could be making, not how to go about making those)
- Catalyst Kata (more for leaders and managers who are visiting a broad spectrum of spaces and designed to encourage self-ownership and kaizen mindset)
Now it sounds like a good idea and so we will try a version or two and see what works and what doesn’t. It would however be interesting to hear about how other team’s have gone about this ?
How have you supported Executive Gemba walks ?
How have you created spaces that encourage respectful curiosity and at the same time take into account that this skill isn’t going to everyone’s forte ?
What pitfalls could we avoid ?