You can make improving into a habit by practicing the improvement kata and the coaching kata over and over again. Kata (かた) is a ‘style’ of martial arts, aimed at perfect execution of the movements through repeated practicing (“paint the fence, Daniel-San”). By practicing often the routine becomes a habit – you can do it without having to think about it. Learning to drive a car is also an example of this principle: at first, you really need to think about what you doing, and after a while you do it thoughtlessly.
For Super7 Operations, the combination of the Improvement Kata and the Coaching kata works like charm:
- Improvement in small increments
- Weekly improvement activities
- Learning something every week
- Managing output, not what the team is doing
- Coaching on improving
- A true learning organisation
Below, I explain how this works in 4 illustrations:
1. The Improvement Kata: weekly experimenting is the Super7s’ habit
2. Coaching Kata: Team managers create movement by asking the right questions – steering on output, coaching on improvement
3. Improvement Kata: weekly experiments are the habit of team managers – leading by example
4. Coaching Kata: Department manager forms the fundament of the Learning Organisation, steering on output and coaching improvement
More on Super7 Operations can be found in my book: Super7 Operations – The Next Step for Lean in Financial Services.
Menno R. van Dijk