Chapter 3Philosophy and Direction

To understand Toyota’s improvement kata and coaching kata we need to consider two aspects of the context within which they operate: the business philosophy, or purpose, of the company; and its overall sense of direction.

The Company’s Business Philosophy

The business philosophy of a company does much to define the thoughts and actions of everyone in the organization. However, by “business philosophy” I do not mean those nice, generic statements printed on the poster in the lobby. I mean if you stood in the factory for a day and observed what people do—what is important to them, what gets measured—then what would you conclude is important to this company? As they say at Toyota, “The shop floor is a reflection ...

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