Giving Wings to Her Team : A Novel About Learning to Coach the Toyota Kata Way book cover
1st Edition

Giving Wings to Her Team
A Novel About Learning to Coach the Toyota Kata Way

  • Available for pre-order on April 17, 2023. Item will ship after May 8, 2023
ISBN 9780367362287
May 8, 2023 Forthcoming by Productivity Press
224 Pages 64 B/W Illustrations

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USD $49.95

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Book Description

Denise dreamed of being the kind of leader who empowered and engaged her people, but was becoming frustrated and disillusioned.

Denise -- a fast-rising, young consultant at a large advisory firm -- lands a job as a manager in industry. Crisis strikes as low-cost competitors take market share and general chaos generates late shipments. Denise goes into Lean consulting mode but quickly learns her supervisors are not buying it. They're not engaged, and they find the Lean tools confusing and a distraction from their goals of getting product out. It's going to take some magic -- magic that's available to you, the reader, too!

Come with Denise on a journey of discovery and skill development, as she moves beyond the tools and concepts of Lean and focuses on daily practice that helps her supervisors achieve their goals. It's about an approach called Toyota Kata that helps anyone develop and apply scientific thinking -- an exploratory mindset of curiosity and experimentation. A mentor from an unlikely place appears and shares with Denise how to coach her team. Once her supervisors dig into real problems they face every day, they begin to engage. Step by step, with insightful inputs from her mentor, Denise starts developing the skills to become a coaching manager. She watches her team meet their current challenges and be ready for more.

When you teach and practice scientific thinking and coaching skills you give wings to your team, and new worlds of opportunity open up. If you're a manager you'll identify with how the team in this story goes beyond general preaching about best practices, to practicing how to get to where they want to be. If you're a Lean practitioner frustrated with applying tools with a limited half life, you'll learn how to develop people so they can achieve their most important goals and keep going. And if you're already a Toyota Kata practitioner, well ... you will love this book!

Table of Contents

PART I - Learning to Think Scientifically while Producing Results

Chapter 1 - Another day, another crisis

Monday, January 17, 7am, The Bombshell Hits

Chapter 2 - Getting to Work with Lean

Monday, January 18, 8:30 am, Finally Something Interesting to Do

Friday, January 21, 5:45 pm, Thank Goodness it’s Friday

Chapter 3 – What’s our Challenge?

Friday, January 21, 6:45 pm, A Pleasant Surprise at the Gym

Chapter 4 – More Pressure Leads & a Breakthrough in Thinking

Monday, January 24, Back to the Grind

Monday, January 24, 7:00 pm, Retreat to the Gym

Chapter 5 – Getting Down to Kata Planning

Tuesday, January 25, A New Day, a Fresh Start

Chapter 6- Telling a Story on the Storyboard

Friday, January 28, Happy Reflections During a Drive to the Gym

Chapter 7 - At Last, Experimenting!

Tuesday, February 1, 7am, Small Steps, Big Progress

Chapter 8 - May the Coaching Lessons Begin

Tuesday, February 3, 6:35pm, Searching for Maggie in Desperation

PART II - Coaching as Learning

Chapter 9 - Starting to Coach (with Some Struggles)

Thursday, February 3, 7:30am, Sorting out Maggie’s brain dump

Chapter 10 - A Little Japanese Cuisine, and a Lot of Learning

Thursday, February 3, 7:34 pm, To a Gourmet Dinner with Maggie

Chapter 11 - A Coach for the Coach

Friday, February 4, 9:35 am, Experimenting with Maggie’s Advice

Chapter 12 - Spot-on Answers to Coaching Questions

Monday, February 7, 8:00 am, Finally A Calm Day of Learning

Chapter 13 - Digging Deeper into the Real Obstacles

Tuesday, February 8, 8am, A More than Pleasant Surprise and More Learning

Chapter 14 - A Green Drink, and Fresh Look at Storyboards

Tuesday, February 8, 6:30 pm, More to Drink and Learn at the Gym

Chapter 15 - Obstacles and Experiments: It’s Complicated

Wednesday, February 9, 9:00 am, Another Day, More Coaching Experiments

Thursday, February 10, 8:55 am, New Ideas to Test at Work

Chapter 16 - We Deliver Same Day

Monday, February 13, 12:00pm New Week, Fun at Sales

Tuesday, February 14, 12:00pm, A Great Lunch Capped Off by a Beat Down from Dick

Chapter 17 - Fun in the Learning Group?

Thursday, March 2 - 10:45am, Two Weeks Later, a Fun Jaunt to Sales...She Thought

Chapter 18 - A Big Promotion…and a Bigger Crisis

Monday, March 6 -5:00pm, It Hits the Fan, Big Time!

Monday, March 6 - 7:00 pm, Denise Desperately Tries to Unwind




Chapter 19 - A Confrontation, Then a Way Forward

Tuesday, March 7 - 6:00 am, An Explosive Start

Tuesday, March 7 - 7:30 am, A Breath of Fresh Air

Chapter 20 - Denise Becomes a Motivational Speaker

Tuesday, March 7 - 7:45 am, Talking with Joe

Tuesday, March 7 - 2:00 pm, The Big Meeting

Chapter 21 - Preparing for Launch Day

Wednesday, March 8 - 6:05 am, Starting on a High Note

Wednesday, March 8 - 6:45 am, Preparing for the Best Workshop Ever

Wednesday, March 8 - 7:45 am, Getting a Trusted Ally on Board

Chapter 22 - At Last: Grasping Current Condition

Wednesday, March 8 - 8:10 am, Finally, Off to the Workshop

Wednesday, March 8 - Noon, To Lunch and Meeting with Mark

Wednesday, March 8 - 3:30 pm, Reconnoitering to Reflect

Chapter 23 - Workshop Day 2: A Deeper Dive into the Current Condition

Thursday, March 9 - 6:00 am, Sunrise, Rousing After a Delightful Night on the Town

Thursday, March 9 - 7:00 am, Can Day 2 Go As Smoothly as Day 1?

Chapter 24 - Establishing Goals to set up the 3-1-1

Thursday, March 9 - 10:15 am, Still deeper dive into current condition, all hell breaks loose

Thursday, March 9 - 12:30 pm, A Productive Afternoon, What a Relief

Chapter 25 - Prepping for Fun with Puzzles

Friday, March 10 - 6:35 am, On the Way to Work with Maggie

Friday, March 10 - 7:15 am, Finally a Chance to Play with Puzzles, but First…

Chapter 26 - Kata to Grow Exercise

Friday, March 10 - 09:50 am, Back to Kindergarten for Puzzle Time



Chapter 27 - Welcome to the Coaching Dojo, Shoes off at the Door

Friday, March 10 - 12:30 pm, Denise Gets Coached Again

Friday, March 10 - 2:00 pm, Finally, Dojo Fun

PART IV - Upping the Pace: It’s a Sprint and a Marathon to the Finish

Chapter 28 - A Month Down the Road

Friday, April 6 - 8:00 am, Four Weeks of Learning, and Some Stalling

Friday, April 6 - 8:30 am, On Pace For the 3-1-1?

Tuesday, April 11- 3:50 pm, Thunder and Lightning

Chapter 29 - A Fleet of Coaches is Born

Time passes, progress accelerates

Wednesday, May 4 - 4:00 pm, Presenting to the Ghouls, Again

Chapter 30 - If Only You Could Kata Your Love Life

Thursday, May 5 - 8am, Something’s Up with David

Thursday, May 5– Evening, Dinner is on Sales

Friday, May 6 - 7:00am, Trouble in Paradise

Friday, May 6 - 6:00pm, A Breakup?

Chapter 31 - Victories and Setbacks

Tuesday, May 10 - 7:00am, A Visit from the Big Boss

Tuesday, May 10 - 1:00pm, Devious Dick at it Again

Chapter 32 -The Grand Finale

Thursday, May 18 - 4pm, Countdown, 3 Weeks to go

Thursday, June 4 - 2pm, Times Up!

Thursday, June 4 - 4:30pm, The Jury is Back

Chapter 33 - New Beginnings

Friday, June 5 - Celebration and an Offer

Friday, June 5, 5:00pm - The Surprises Keep Coming



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Tilo Schwarz is a leadership coach, former plant manager and co-founder of the Campus for Leaders at the University of Applied Science Ansbach. He helps managers to successfully lead change and empower their teams for improvement, adaptiveness, and superior results. During his time as a plant manager at a renowned German power-tool manufacturer, he started practicing Toyota Kata with his management team as part of Mike Rother's groundbreaking research in 2006. By doing so, Tilo and his team established continuous improvement as a daily routine throughout all processes and areas of the plant. That led to winning the A. T. Kearny operational excellence competition "Factory of the Year" and a WHU/INSEAD Industrial Excellence Award. Tilo is the author of several books on coaching and Toyota Kata.

Jeffrey K. Liker is Professor Emeritus, Industrial and Operations Engineering at The University of Michigan and President of Liker Lean Advisors, LLC. He is the author of the best-selling book, The Toyota Way, Second Edition, and has coauthored nine other books about Toyota including The Toyota Way to Service Excellence and The Toyota Way to Lean Leadership. His graphic novel with Eduardo Lander and Tom Root tells the story of lean transformation at a mail-order company: Lean in a High-Variability Business. A more compact graphic novel, Engaging the Team at Zingerman’s Mail Order, illustrates how Kata unleashed the creativity of their team. His articles and books have won thirteen Shingo Prizes for Research Excellence. He was inducted into the Association of Manufacturing Excellence Hall of Fame and the Shingo Academy.