Team Kata

The Habits of Continuous Improvement

The Team Kata is the process of building the habits of continuous improvement. The culture of every organization is embedded in the team, the small group structure at every level, just as the culture of a society is embedded in the family. Lean culture is built on the foundation of high performing teams. Team Management, or Team Kata (the discipline of learning to function as high performing teams) is built both on the Toyota Production System and years of experience developing natural work teams (a.k.a. “self-management” or “self-directed” teams).

A description of the Team Management process and its history can be seen here: Team Management For most organizations the challenge of developing lean culture and lean management is two-fold: first, how to change the culture in a significant way, in a reasonable period of time; and second, how to provide the needed training to a large number of people in a consistent and quality manner. The Whole-System Architecture process is a method of high engagement design that creates lean culture and high performing teams. Online lean training offers a solution to providing training for a large number of people at low cost.

 A “kata” is a routine of practice that results in the building of the skills essential to lean culture. The word is most commonly used in karate, however Mike Rother in his book Toyota Kata has brought the word to management attention. What I have taught for many years is a discipline approach to practicing the skills of effective teamwork, team management, and problem solving – in other words, a Team Kata.

Team Leadership – Leading High Performing Teams

 This course is an effort to solve both of those problems. Self-paced online learning, supplemented by in-house coaching, is the answer. The intention is that team members and team leaders, both natural work teams and management teams, go through the online learning and are then assisted by an internal coach. The coach focuses on helping the teams do the “deliverables” that are suggest with each section. It is an action-learning model – learn, do, receive feedback, learn more, do, etc.

I recommend that the course be a six month to one year curriculum for teams. While going through the course they will develop a scorecard, interview their customers, map their work process, eliminate waste and variances, learn three problem solving models, develop standard work, and solve human performance problems, and develop facilitation and listening skills. It will create change through real world experience.

Here is the Curriculum and Coaching Map


The first section of the course focus on organizing the team, establishing  a charter with roles, responsibilities and process definition.

The second section is the Improvement Kata, gathering the facts of performance, interviewing customers, setting targets and gradually moving from the current state to an ideal future state through continuous problem solving and experimentation.

The third stage is to standardize the team practices, methods proven successful through experimentation, and developing the skills of team facilitation and interpersonal communication.

There is a lot of material in the course and students or teams may skip around, go back to sessions as needed, and use attached materials.




Get the Course and the Book

 “There is Mike Rother’s improvement Kata and now there is Larry Miller’s Team Kata. You learn everything you need to know to create high performing teams. Great great course!  And, Larry really takes you through the ropes and you can even use it as a team learning exercise and create a high performance team at the same time.” Erik Hansen

“This is a truly incredible course. Lawrence’s delivery is superb. His voice is relaxing and pleasant to listen to. The course has very good video quality and excellent sound quality. The information is amazing. Lawrence is obviously very highly qualified to teach this course and has tremendous expertise in his field. He is also a very impressive instructor and it is enjoyable to listen to him. It is so far the best course I have ever taken online. Lawrence is in a class by himself as far as his expertise and skill level compared to all other instructors I have seen. This course is like having a 6 figure consultant working for you and your company. It was a treat and a privilege for me to take it but don’t take my word for it. Sign up and see for yourself. I am certain you’ll be glad you did.” Randle Dohmini

“Learn from a genuine expert. This course covers so much, I doubt that anyone could leave the course without having gained some valuable insights. Take this course now, or wish list it, but please do take this course to help you, your business and your team. A truly outstanding course” (Mareka Sloka)

“I’m not even halfway through, but I can already say this is one of the most valuable courses I’ve ever taken. I may have seen better speakers – capable of making greater impression – yet I cannot recall anyone who could combine so much drive, authenticity, and real-life experience. At least not online.

“I don’t usually thank people for having prepared a paid course, but let me make an exception. Mr. Miller – thank you! This course is an inspiration that helps make things happen. I just hope to enjoy the rest of it as much.”

1 Comment

  1. Larry,

    I had to tell you that in the late 80’s i read Barbarians to Bureaucrats and it blew me away! Thanks. I’ve used your wisdom many times over as a pastor and later an executive and advisory to many businesses. You should know that it has helped rescue some companies who were going into the administrator phase, to course-correct and revitalize the builders to keep the mojo going!

    One questions: Did you ever develop a survey to measure where a company was at at to Builder-Admin-Bureaucrat %’s?

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