What is a Kata?

TOYOTA

KATA

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1.

Improvement Kata

The_Improvement_Kata.html

2.

Coaching

Kata

3.

Kata Creates

Culture

5.

Getting

Started

The_Coaching_Kata.html
Kata_Creates_Culture.html
Getting_Started.html

6.

Challenge

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Value Stream Mapping

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What is

a Kata?

4.

Neuroscience

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You can back off the formal kata as you become skillful


A first step is to realize that whenever we want to adopt a new way of thinking and

acting, for a while we’re going to be a beginner in that particular area.  Without first

resigning our ego to some practice and mastery we’re destined to remain a beginner.


But once you’ve internalized the desired pattern you can refine your own

interpretations and the kata almost disappear.  The resulting capability and

habits are what’s decisive, not the kata itself.

There are lots of concepts and principles for new

ways of managing, but there's been surprisingly little

change in actual management practice. Those concepts

may be correct, but alone they are not enough to change

our ways of thinking and acting.


Today we know that changing how we think and act also

requires deliberately practicing and coaching desired

new behavior patterns or routines.


That's what a kata is.

A Kata is a structured routine that makes skills and mindset teachable

Kata is a teaching / learning process any manager can use


When people practice the Improvement Kata a little every day under guidance of a

coach/manager -- who teaches via the Coaching Kata -- an organization gets stronger

at achieving goals and meeting challenges.

"The fish trap exists because of the fish.  Once you've gotten the fish you can forget the trap.  The rabbit snare exists because of the rabbit.  Once you've gotten the rabbit, you can forget the snare.  Words exist because of meaning.  Once you've gotten the meaning, you can forget the words.

      ~ Chuang Tzu

Table from the Improvement Kata Handbook

Why does a kata matter?  It models a way of thinking and

acting so other people can learn it and use it.  It’s a way of transferring skills and developing mindset.


Kata are structured practice routines or protocols, and through physical practice the pattern of a kata becomes second nature,

done with little conscious attention and readily available.


An example is practicing to drive a car.  Once you can drive

you don’t think much anymore about how to use the car’s

controls.  Instead, you focus your attention on the situational

aspects of navigating the road.

Once you and your teams absorb the systematic, scientific pattern behind the

Improvement Kata you'll be able to apply it in the pursuit of many goals and challenges.

However, kata don’t go away entirely.  Just like professional athletes and musicians,

even advanced students periodically practice some basics under guidance of a coach.

It's like keeping a tool sharp.



You have an opportunity!


The never-ending need for improvement and evolution

in any organization gives you and your team a perfect

opportunity to keep honing your skills.  The

elegant trick is that while you're practicing

the Improvement Kata you're applying it to

real goals, always to the best of the current

level of your and your team’s abilities.