Bringing scientific thinking to life : An introduction to Toyota Kata for next-generation business leaders (and those who would like to be)
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Your team’s ability to learn and adapt is paramount, and scientific thinking is the key to unlocking this invaluable skill. The bad news: It's not our natural default position as adults. The good news: There’s a simple and proven approach to developing it in any organization or team—including yours—called Toyota Kata. Professor Sylvain Landry lays out a straightforward management practice that enables each level of your organization to apply scientific ways of thinking and working, to achieve whatever goals you’re pursuing.
“This book is that good!!! I can’t wait to have leaders read it! Sylvain shares his journey with Kata in a way that transported me into it. He brings a clear understanding and a powerful message on how to go about it, in a short and easy-to-read format. I consider this essential reading for anyone looking to start scientific-thinking practice in their organization.”
– Tony Hren, Senior Director,Danaher Business System, Danaher Corporation
“A practical and easily digestible book on Toyota Kata that’s perfect for our managers and their teams.”
– Kasper Bødker Mejlvang, General Manager,Novo Nordisk Denmark & Iceland
“If I'd had this book before I got into Kata it would have increased my understanding of how to get started. A great precursor to initial training and practice.”
– Andrea Simpson, Senior Operations Director and Process Improvement, NEA Baptist Health System
“As a leader of an organization, the challenge of improving is hard to sustain. This MUST-read book highlights how top organizations fuel their journey, and even enjoy the trip, by managers shepherding practice of scientific thinking in their teams.”
– Dan Bergeron, President & CEO of SigmaPoint Technologies
“A compact book every manager who wants to coach high performance should read. Take it along on your next flight.”
– Professor Jeffrey Liker, author of the bestseller The Toyota Way
“We develop many thinking habits at work, which makes the workplace the world’s largest classroom and managers its teachers. What skills and mindset are you conveying in your team? Read this book and realize how important your work with your team is.”
– Mike Rother, author of the bestselling Learning to See,Toyota Kata and The Toyota Kata Practice Guide



Publié par
Date de parution 10 juin 2022
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9782897993528
Langue English
Poids de l'ouvrage 1 Mo

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0700€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.


Professor Sylvain Landry, P h D
HEC Montréal Business School

Professor Sylvain Landry, P h D
HEC Montréal business school

Bringing scientific thinking to life: an introduction to Toyota Kata for next-generation business leaders and those who would like to be
Sylvain Landry
© 2022 Sylvain Landry
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec and Library and Archives Can- ada cataloguing in publication
Title: Bringing scientific thinking to life: an introduction to Toyota Kata for next-generation business leaders and those who would like to be / Sylvain Landry.
Identifiers: Canadiana 20220005303 | ISBN 9782897993504
Subjects: LCSH: Total quality management. | LCSH: Continuous improve- ment process. | LCSH: Organizational effectiveness.
Classification: LCC HD62.15.L36 2022 | DDC 658.4/013–dc23
Les Éditions JFD CP 15 Succ. Rosemont Montréal (Quebec) H1X 3B6
All rights reserved.
Reproduction, in whole or in part in any form or by any means whatsoever, is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission of the publisher.
ISBN: 978-2-89799-350-4
Legal Deposit: 3rd quarter 2022
Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec
Library and Archives Canada
Quantity Sales Discounts
Bringing Scientific Thinking to Life is available at quantity discounts when purchased in bulk for executives, managers, supervisors, group leaders, and professionals of your organization. For details and discount information for both print and ebook formats, contact

Printed in Quebec

In memory of Anna Possio (1987-2017), who truly symbolized the energy and passion of what Toyota Kata is about.


Table of Contents
Preface 7
Part I: Toyota Kata Overview 13
Chapter 1 Beyond What We Can See 15
Chapter 2 Where Did Toyota Kata Come From? 23
Chapter 3 The Improvement Kata Model 37
Chapter 4 The Coaching Kata – Managers as Coaches 57
Chapter 5 Getting Started 73
Chapter 6 Toyota Kata and Lean 83
Part II: Body → Brain → Culture 99
Chapter 7 Thinking Fast and Jumping to Conclusions 101
Chapter 8 Deliberate Practice, Artifacts, and Scientific Thinking 113
Conclusion 133
Appendices 137
Appendix 1 Toyota Kata in Education 139
Appendix 2 Five Starter Kata for the Learner 141
Appendix 3 Two Starter Kata for the Coach 142
Appendix 4 Toyota Kata Related Quotes 144
References 159
Acknowledgements 167
Index 171


Over the years, countless authors have drawn portraits of the “learning organization ,” yet few companies have successfully oper- ationalized this concept. Although we’re seeing breakneck progress in science and technology, organizations are generally still managed much as they have been since the 1960s. Why?
I think it’s in part because becoming a learning organization calls for the development of scientific thinking habits that don’t come natur- ally to us. The problem can be simply summarized as a gap between how we assume we think and how we actually think. Most manage- ment approaches assume we are logical and rational and think like scientists. Of course we objectively study, experiment, reflect, learn, and then share what we learn with other scientific thinkers, right?
Nope. Instead, we tend to jump to conclusions, gravitate toward the first solution that’s worked for us in the past or makes the most sense to us, or opt for what feels like common sense. We fail to follow up, check results and adjust, and we don’t build on knowledge that’s been gained deep within the organization.
The implications are that our natural jump-to-conclusions nature may make you, your team and your organization less adaptive, innovative and resilient than you think. And that’s a big problem in the complex, unpredictable conditions of the early 21st century.
How Can Your Team Learn to Think and Act More Scientifically?
The tried and proven approach for learning any new skill is the deliberate practice of specific behaviors, with feedback from a coach . Toyota Kata offers a structure for doing just this.
The “Kata ” in Toyota Kata are practice routines not unlike those in the martial arts. In this case, I mean practicing scientific thinking behav- ior patterns on real problems and getting daily coaching feedback, typically from a manager or supervisor acting as a coach. This way, team members can develop a habit of greater scientific thinking over


Bringing Scientific Thinking to Life

time. It starts to become more natural to them, and when enough people think and act this way, the team evolves toward a functioning learning organization . It’s a means for mobilizing the creative contri- bution of everyone in your organization to develop solutions, again and again, that are fit for future situations.
This short book tells you what Toyota Kata is all about and is designed to help anyone thinking about getting into it. The book explains how and why – through the deliberate practice of certain behaviors – Toyota Kata can become a lever for changing the culture of your team into one characterized by navigating more scientif- ically – and thus more successfully – toward any challenging goal. It is aimed at leaders, managers , supervisors and anyone curious about the growing practice of scientific thinking , continuous improvement and organizational adaptiveness. And if you happen to be involved in lean practices, you’ll also gain useful insight into some elements that have been missing from that field too.
Mike Rother developed Toyota Kata. He studied Toyota because it is a uniquely interesting organization to learn from. But the Toyota Kata findings apply to characteristics of the human mindset and behavior in any team or organization. While Toyota is a leader in scaling and using scientific thinking to its advantage, I have come to see that anyone can do this if they practice often and regularly.
What are the implications of Toyota Kata for you? It gives you a proven, relatively simple, daily approach that your managers, super- visors and team leaders can use to develop their people into successful navigators of unpredictable paths, in a way that ultimately comes to suit your environment.
I wrote this book to share what I’ve learned with people who may not be quite ready to deep dive into Mike Rother’s more detailed books like Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results and The Toyota Kata Practice Guide . This is a primer that can be a step toward your own journey of deep learning.



Part I , in addition to explaining the origins, basic concepts and vocabulary of Toyota Kata, explains how to get started and highlights the main differences between Toyota Kata and generally recognized lean practice. But make no mistake, Toyota Kata does not run contrary to lean; it is rather a key, less visible and erstwhile missing part of lean.
Part II and its two chapters approach things from a dif- ferent angle, illustrating how Toyota Kata practice is a countermeasure to the natural human tendency to jump to conclusions and how Toyota Kata can be a gateway to organ- izational learning for you.
I invite you to think of this book as a personal reflection on Toyota Kata – an approach that is barely a decade old and now starting to appear in the mainstream – whose content lies at the intersection of operations management, strategy, organizational behavior, neurosci- ence and Big History. Consider this book as one-stop shopping for anyone who wants a quick, succinct overview of the literature and lessons learned on Toyota Kata in a fun and easy-to-read way.
I wish you an insightful and enjoyable read!
Professor Sylvain Landry, PhD
HEC Montréal
How I Became a Kata Geek
A learning organization is a type of social system that focuses on creating, acquiring and transferring knowledge and skills in order to build on these gains and continually transform itself (Garvin, 1993).
The concept, which goes back at least to the works of Chris Argyris (1977) and coauthor Donald Schön (1978), was later popularized by Peter Senge (1990). Even further back, in the 1950s, American economist Herbert Simon built on the 1930s aviation industry concept of the learning curve for individuals and suggested that the notion of acquiring individual skills can also be applied to organizations (Koenig, 1994).


Bringing Scientific Thinking to Life

Yet here we are decades later and our organizations have made surprisingly little progress in their management practices. It appears that individual learning does not spontaneously translate into organizational learning. Toyota Kata is about bridging that gap.
My curiosity about the subject was piqued in Quebec City on June 18, 2012, when I attended a meeting where Philippe Deslandes, who was working in continuous improvement at a healthcare organization, gave a talk on Toyota Kata. I recall finding his presentation prescriptive and top down – precisely what continuous improvement was not supposed to be. And that intrigued me. I now realize that Toyota Kata is in fact neither prescriptive nor top down, though it may lo

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