The Role of Challenge in Continuous Improvement


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Improvement Kata, Coaching Kata, Mike Rother, Toyota Kata, Lean Manufacturing, Kaizen, Management, Leadership, Continuous Improvement, Toyota Way, Learning Organization, Organizational Learning, Innovation, Adaptiveness, Evolution, PDCA Cycle, Toyota Management, Lean Enterprise Institute, Creativity, Learning, Cognitive Science, Problem Solving, Brain, Human Endeavor

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The Role of Challenge in Continuous Improvement

  1. 1. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 1 The Role of Challenge Mike Rother Gerd Aulinger August 2010 Copyright © 2010 Mike Rother, all rights reserved 1217 Baldwin Avenue / Ann Arbor, MI 48104 USA / tel: (734) 665-5411 / in Continuous Improvement
  2. 2. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 2 TOYOTA LISTS CHALLENGE FIRST AMONG ITS PRINCIPLES Toyota Motor Corporation Environmental & Social Report 2003, Page 80
  3. 3. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 3 CHALLENGE IS REQUIRED FOR CONTINUOUS IMPROVEMENT * The Lifeʼs Work of a Thought Leader, strategy+business, August 9, 2010 As C.K. Prahalad said:* “If you want to create entrepreneurial drive in a company, you have to create aspirations that lie outside your resource base.” All work doesnʼt need to be a challenge, nor does the challenge need to be a big one. The point is only that a portion of our workday should involve striving toward something new we want to achieve. A challenge brings us to the current limits of our thinking, and forces us to learn and adapt.
  4. 4. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 4 If you just try to motivate people to meet goals or try to inspire them to solve problems, they will naturally do so by using existing ways of thinking. This too often leads to actions like 'cutting,' rather than developing new solutions and true system improvement. It is disrespectful of people if they are given challenges but not also taught an effective way of meeting them. BUT JUST ISSUING CHALLENGES WONʼT WORK
  5. 5. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 5 An organizationʼs managers should be teaching an improvement kata as the means for improving. This is done through daily practice. An improvement kata is a systematic routine for moving from the current situation to a new situation in a creative, directed, meaningful way. We want to be here We are here ? ? ?? The grey zone DEVELOPING THE COMPETENCY TO MEET CHALLENGES
  6. 6. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 6 PRACTICING A KATA FOR MEETING CHALLENGES The Improvement Kata = a systematic way of achieving things that you donʼt know how you are going to achieve Vision Current Condition Target Condition Next Obstacles 2 3 14 Challenge 1 In consideration of a direction or challenge... 2 Grasp the current condition. 3 Define the next target condition. 4 Move toward that target condition with PDCA, which uncovers obstacles that need to be worked on.
  7. 7. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 7 SKILL plus MOTIVATION Target Condition Current Condition ChallengeObstacles Teaching this is managementʼs job Establishing this is part of leadership 1x1 flow at the lowest possible cost Vision for Customer Teach this Motivating and inspiring is only half of the recipe. Leading involves establishing vision and challenge. Managing involves teaching people how to systematically work in that direction and overcome obstacles.
  8. 8. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 8 A CHALLENGE IS A LINK Between the organizationʼs strategy and process-level execution Target Condition Current Condition ChallengeObstacles Vision A Task for Managers: Coaching application of the Improvement Kata in their area of responsibility A Task for Leaders: Establishing overall direction Leadership defines the Vision (which is something idealistic and far out in the future), and then coaches the next level down (managers) in setting the next Challenge, which is something that will move the organization toward the vision, and which can be met much sooner. Then, one level down, managers coach their Learners through the Improvement Kata process (Understand the Direction --> Grasp the Current Condition --> Establish the Next Target Condition --> Iterate Toward the Target Condition) toward the Challenge.
  9. 9. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 9 A TEACHING ROUTINE FOR MANAGERS Ask these questions at each process every day This is part of “Coaching Cycles” or the “Coaching Kata”
  10. 10. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 10 Learnerʼs Storyboard Learner Team Manager Coaching Kata Improvement Kata FIGURE 1-5 from TOYOTA KATA Focus here is on developing people and the organization Focus here is on developing the work process
  11. 11. © Mike Rother TOYOTA KATA 11 A POSITIVE CHAIN REACTION When teams practice the improvement kata they become more skillful and competent at meeting challenges... ... because they learn to work iteratively and scientifically. Self-Efficacy: The belief that you can master a situation Self-Efficacy is learned As a result, they grow more comfortable with unpredictable paths Which allows them to be more open to new challenges! Increased Skill Self Efficacy¢ ¢ Openness to Challenges