Decoding the DNA of the Toyota Production System

Spear and Bowen, 1999
What an insightful document from 21 years ago! Mike Rother mentions this paper on page 7 of “Toyota Kata” (2009). Take a look at the fourth of “The Four Rules” in the grey box on page 98 of the 10 pages of text.
Oscar on Toyota Kata Mastery

In the Oxford Dictionary, mastery is defined as comprehensive knowledge or skill in a particular subject or activity.

What we now know as the two “Toyota Kata patterns” were identified and brought together as a result of Mike Rother’s research in the 5 years preceding the release of Toyota Kata (McGraw Hill, 2009). During that research, Mike identified something that had been in existence for a long time but was somewhat hidden from view as it was embedded in daily behaviours.

Putting a name to the improvement pattern (Improvement Kata) and a name to the coaching pattern (Coaching Kata) helped “isolate” these behaviours and made what was implicit to few explicit to many. This has helped in creating practice routines the ultimate aim being to make such patterns of behaviour implicit in ourselves and our Learners.

Ben and I, both as individuals within our own organisation and with our clients, have been practising the Toyota Kata patterns since 2011. We feel it is premature to try and define mastery. We are still often consciously trying to make something unconscious that we understand Toyota people and others have been doing subconsciously for many many years previous.

One might say “ask a Toyota person” (about “mastery”). I’ve tried that and that person had great difficulty articulating such behaviours but I see it in them every day that I work with them.

So for now “watch this space”. As “Toyota Kata Mastery” becomes more evident in ourselves and the people we work with we will update this page!

Get your free Opportunity Evaluation