The Improvement Kata
The improvement kata is a routine for moving from the current situation to a new situation in a creative, directed, meaningful way. It is based on a four stage model:
- Understand the Direction / Challenge
- Grasp the current condition
- Establish the next target condition
- Experiment towards the target condition
The kata routines are structured routines, patterns or ways of doing things that are practiced continuously so that the patterns become habits and allow us to develop new skills and mindsets through scientific thinking. It is very helpful in development of thinking patterns through a shared/group approach as everyone starts with the same basic set of questions.
To do this we need:
- Process analysis – grasp the current condition
- Establish a Target condition
- Experimenting record
- Obstacle Parking lot
The kata helps build a bridge between theory and practice by translating principles into something relatively simple, real and tangible.
The Coaching Kata
The coaching Kata is a set of teaching routines that helps develop the coaches skill. It is a set of patterns that help managers and supervisors teach Improvement KATA and encourage the improvers to think and act in a more scientific way. The coaching Kata can help organisations realise the possibilities of the improvement kata by developing the skills for systemic and scientific thinking in the daily routine. The training is carried out on real problems providing real and tangible outcomes to the challenges and obstacles presented.
The Kata encourages the improvers to learn from the last step and define the next obstacle that needs to be overcome. The Focus for the coaching Kata is very much the learning cycle as opposed to the solution – this allows the improvers to align their actions with the goals of the organisation. The constant drive for improvement allows everyone the opportunity to practice these new skills on real problems on a daily basis.
How does Kata fit with existing improvement activity?
You may be using an existing approach to improvement, the good news is that both improvement Kata and Coaching Kata will super-charge what you are already doing.
- Kata is about habit forming around simple patterns of behaviours. It’s high on practical and light on theory
- It’s a framework that focuses on how you do things rather than a method or tool
- As it is a framework of simple behavioural patterns it can be applied to any situation and work with any improvement methodology
- Being quick to teach and practice, it speeds up the identification and adoption of tools and techniques from your existing methodology
- By allowing the improver to learn for themselves, it can generate a demand or pull for tools and techniques from the existing methodology – highlighting problems needing a solution from your toolkit
You may find that Kata may challenge how you think and deliver improvement currently and that’s a positive thing. Kata can and will help your improvement efforts to go further faster