Toyota Kata

Our Toyota Kata resources will get you started with this invaluable tool in no time. You will learn about Toyota Kata, have access to videos, podcasts, and more! Also be sure to download the free coaching Kata cards.

What Is Toyota Kata?

The Toyota Kata framework turns scientific thinking into a practical skill anyone, and any organization, can learn through the deliberate practice of a four step learning and discovery process. By following the Toyota Kata structure, we will elegantly move from our current state to our desired future state. This structure is broken down into two practice routines.

  1. The Improvement Kata
  2. The Coaching Kata

It's important to note that this is not a problem solving methodology. Instead, it is meant to develop the habitual scientific thinking patterns necessary to effectively carry out problem solving.

Toyota Kata Online Video Course

As part of our growing School of Lean library of courses, Toyota Kata - Practice Makes Progress, will guide you from the very beginning of Kata learning to being able to implement your own Kata experiments within a few days.

Through this course you will learn how to make lasting changes and how to decide where to start making your improvements.

Kata in the Classroom

The 4-step Improvement Kata makes for some great classroom exercises for participants of all ages! Watch our free Kata in the classroom videos to see how to run your own KiC events. Also make sure to download all of the materials from Mike Rother's Kata in the Classroom website.

How Do You Get Started With Toyota Kata?

Some wrongly believe that Toyota Kata is a problem solving methodology. And while Kata routines often result in improvements, the true purpose of the Kata thinking system is to:

  1. Discover
  2. Learn
  3. Innovate

Albert Einstein once said, “We can't solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.” This quote beautifully summarizes what Toyota Kata practitioners call the “Improvement Kata.”

The Improvement Kata follows an easy to learn, but difficult to master, 4-step learning process.

Kata Improvement Slide01

What Is the 4 Step Improvement Kata Process?

  1. Understand the direction or challenge: In this first step we determine the problem we are trying to solve.
  2. Grasp the current condition: Once we define the challenge, we need to understand not only what we know to be true now, and also what we do not yet know. Put another way, we attempt to deeply understand the current condition.
  3. Establish the next target condition: Using an American football analogy, if the "challenge" is to score a touchdown...the target condition may very well be to get a first down. In other words, the target condition brings us one step closer to the challenge.
  4. Experiment against obstacles: Once a target condition is established, we then identify the obstacles in our way. These obstacles allow us to define, and run experiments against them in order to learn what works, and what doesn't.
Example Kata Coaching Card

How Do You Teach the Improvement Kata?

One thing athletes have in common with those learning the Improvement Kata is that both need a good coach.

More importantly, Kata Coaches need to have a consistent routine for teaching the Improvement Kata. This routine is clearly defined with the Coaching Kata.

The Kata coach uses five coaching questions during each coaching cycle. The learner responds to these questions by sharing what they have learned since the last coaching session. Coaching sessions usually last around 10 minutes and need to happen on a regular, often daily, basis.

Toyota Kata Podcasts

Our free Kata podcasts provide real world insights into practicing Kata.

Gemba podcast mikerother

How to Teach Kata in the Classroom

The tables are turned as Mike Rother interviews Ron Pereira about his experiences teaching Kata in the Classroom.

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Gemba podcast emielvanest

How to Change Your Culture with Toyota Kata

Emiel van Est discusses the vital role of culture in a continuous improvement journey, and how Kata can be used to sustain your success.

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Gemba podcast mercyhealth

How to Think Scientifically in Healthcare

Maurene Stock and Katie Melching shed some light on their lean journey at Mercy Health Muskegon.

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Gemba podcast stephenderksen

How to Think Scientifically

Stephen Derksen discusses how to start thinking scientifically using Toyota Kata.

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Gemba podcast 212 brandonbrown

How to Combine TWI, Kata, and a Kaizen Event

Brandon Brown talks about how his team have brought together multiple methods to create an effective learning system.

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Gemba podcast 199 drewlocher

How to Understand Your Current Condition

Drew Locher discusses how to not rush to countermeasures before fully understanding your current condition.

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Podcast Ga04

Leveraging the Toyota Kata Approach to Learning & Coaching

Hear from Michael Lombard on how his hospital leverages Kata for learning and coaching.

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Gemba podcast 109 brandonbrown

How to Leverage Toyota Kata

Consultant Brandon Brown shares his knowledge of Toyota Kata with us, and explains how it compliments TWI.

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Podcast Ga138

How to Use Kata to Create Service Excellence

Author and lean practitioner Karyn Ross discusses Coaching Kata, and continuous improvement in a service context.

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Podcast Ga144

How to Apply Toyota Kata

Amy Mervak, Chief Quality and Compliance Officer at Hospice Care of Southwest Michigan, discusses how she and her team have been able to apply Kata.

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Podcast Ga152

TWI, Kata, and Respect for People

Skip Steward and Brandon Brown share their insights from the 2017 KataCon / TWI Summits.

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Podcast Ga155

Toyota Kata and the Power of Networking

Learn about Christopher's Kata journey.

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Podcast Ga187

How to Leverage the Improvement & Coaching Katas

Hear what makes Kata so valuable from Kata expert Mark Rosenthal.

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Podcast Ga188

How to Understand the Components of Kata

Kata expert Brandon Brown returns to the podcast to provide a comprehensive breakdown of both the Improvement and Coaching Katas.

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Listen to more great improvement podcasts at

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