During our new COVID world, have you ever found yourself asking:

  • How do we keep improvement going?
  • How do we align our organization so that daily improvements move us toward strategic goals?
  • How can we work to develop solutions scientifically, instead of trying to implement preconceived solutions?
Continuous Improvement (CI)

The challenge of Continuous Improvement (CI) is the day after day, with the same dedication and determination, finding and achieving a new level of success. This is not possible without a catalyst to initiate and lead the effort to achieve the new level of success. Seldom do CI efforts succeed without this catalyst or leader.

For the leader to succeed at sustaining improvement, the leader must be dedicated to the established CI vision, they must be determined daily to lead through the issues and establish the challenges for the team.

Meaning of Leader Starter Kata


  • A Leader may delegate, but they are ultimately responsible for the results.
  • They must attend to standard daily duties, and also allocate time to address obstacles that are inhibiting improvement.
  • Otherwise, it’s “business as usual”, and firefighting changes nothing.


  • CI Journeys often resemble industrial whack-a-mole as teams react, rather than respond, to overwhelming challenges/opportunities.
  • As such, the conundrum of where to begin can be paralyzing.
  • The journey is navigated and the path is manifested daily with a compass, rather than a roadmap, and starts with the first step.


  • Most CI initiatives fail to sustain.
  • Disciplined routine (i.e., definition of KATA) is the antidote to this failure.
  • Daily purpose driven activity maximizes resources in pursuit of improvement.
Why is Leader Starter Kata Important?
  • To maximize the value of available resources by working on the “right things, at the right time, for the right reason”.
  • To break through the “business as usual” paradigm by working on things above and beyond normal daily duties.
  • To ensure progress is being made “toward a challenge” based on the responsible Leader’s assessment.

Leader Starter Kata Webinar

Download the Leader Starter Kata Slide Deck

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Blog: The importance of implementing Leader Starter Kata during a pandemic

Check out the Blog by Bill Kraus

Click here to read the blog post.

Leader Starter Kata in 1 Minute

About Toyota Kata Research

Toyota Kata: Improvement Kata & Coaching Kata

The Improvement Kata

The Improvement Kata is a routine for moving from the current situation to the new situation in a creative, directed, meaningful way.

Four-Part Model:

  • Vision or Direction
  • Understanding of Current Condition
  • Defining the Target Condition
  • Uncovering Obstacles While Working Toward Target Condition

The Improvement Kata builds on what is discovered along the way. Teams using the Improvement Kata learn and adapt based on what they’ve discovered while on their journey to reaching their Target Condition.

The Improvement Kata

Coaching Kata

The Coaching Kata is a practice routine for teaching the Improvement Kata pattern.

As with every skill, practicing should be done under regular observation of an experienced coach. Without coaching we lose our way and don’t practice the correct pattern, or become inefficient in our practice.

Once Improvement Kata is learned, the Coaching Kata develops your skill for teaching the Improvement Kata pattern in everyday work environments. The Coaching Kata is a practice routine specifically for teaching a scientific working pattern like the Improvement Kata.

Coaching Cycles

The core practice routine of the Coaching Kata is Coaching Cycles. One coaching cycle involves the Coach asking the Five Coaching Kata Questions of the learner while using the PDCA Cycles Record. This is done daily at a regularly scheduled time.

Need Help or a Coach

Schedule an individual meeting with our Leader Starter Kata specialist. We will meet with you and guide you through purpose driven questions to help you determine the needs of your organization and the actions that will allow you to meet your needs. Use the the contact form below to connect with one of our specialist.