The Kata School Denmark Background Story

Dear reader, in this blog post, I want to take you on a journey that leads to the idea of establishing the very first Kata School in Denmark. Along those lines, you may find out how excited I´m to explore the Kata together with you in the future. And what you can expect about me as a person and when you decide to work with me.

I hope you enjoy reading this post and don’t forget to get a cup of tea or coffee so you can take a break in between and relax. 

A Challenge To Reflect

One challenge that I would like to share with everyone in this week’s blog post is to reflect regularly. So give it a try and ask yourself the following three questions:

  • How do I approach a topic right now?
  • Why do I approach this topic in particular?
  • Do the How and Why leading me in the direction I want to go?

 

Reflecting regularly helps us discover obstacles and new possibilities and, if necessary, make a course correction. We are almost always sailing on sight anyway and cannot know what is waiting for us next beyond the horizon. Therefore, if we have a good idea, a vision of how something should be, quick experiments become essential.

To reflect daily helps to stay within the corridor to success

When I recently talked to a friend about the progress of my Kata School idea in Denmark, I was rightly criticised for it lacking a more personal touch. However, a quick experiment showed me that there is still a lot to learn.

After all, how helpful is it if I can rationally and logically put everything in a nutshell, but when it now also has to be about marketing my name and personality? Therefore, we will take a closer look at my idea of establishing a Kata School in Denmark and clarify more about my nature, based on the following cornerstones;

  • The Background Story
  • The Face Behind Kata School Denmark
  • Why It Is Worthwhile To Work With Me 

The Background Story

Back in 2019, and after achieving the first target conditions and challenges by applying the means of the Kata, I immediately had the feeling of wanting to make more out of it. However, I realised quickly that the Kata in Denmark was still in its infancy, perhaps unknown and sometimes misunderstood. It would take many good Kata coaches in the future if we wanted to explore its full potentials.

“What potential are you talking about?” might be a good next question.

Kata may significantly improve the way we communicate, work together, learn together and achieve challenging goals. Kata is connecting peoples success with direction, abilities and motivation.

During my first pilot project, and when I was still a beginner coach myself, I observed how working together towards a common goal improved significantly within a few weeks due to our twenty-minute coaching cycles. In the beginning, I had to deal with plenty of individualists and who, within their own bubble, did their best to manufacture products to the best of their ability.

But if there were delays, if the quality was not one hundred per cent satisfactory, then everyone was happy to pass the responsibility on to each other.

You can read more about the Kata here.

A pattern of change

Then came our daily Kata Coaching cycles, and every day became a surprise which increasingly amazed me. Not only did my “improver” make swift progress by diligently gathering facts and data and trying to get behind the secrets of the obstacles, but the staff who then met daily at the storyboard after one of our coaching cycles rapidly changed their perspective on things.

Kata Coaching Cycles Might Be A Key To Improve How We Act And Communicate

We went from “looking for someone else’s responsibility” very quickly over to “we are learning together here, and no one knows better”. And what surprised me even more was the energy set free, which even led to staff working extra shifts to improve their processes and tools. It was a struggle not to become overconfident or ending in the trap of confirmation bias, but I had never seen something similar in the past. Psychological safety applied to express that we sometimes do not know all the answers but can learn together to improve how we approach what we do. 

An isolated case or a pattern?

At first, I thought this was an isolated case, but it was completely independent of where I experimented with the Kata. Nevertheless, the same pattern always presented itself.

Another example:

In a different production area, we tested to cascade a challenge for the first time. As a result, we wanted to shorten the lead time to respond faster to our customers and invited our staff to focus on products already in progress.

Step by step to a 1:1 flow with the help of Kata, so to speak.

Here, too, we were confronted with many silos at the beginning. But when the staff started to realise that it was now their ideas that they were allowed to experiment with, they also aimed to solve completely different and previously overlooked problems themselves.

I remember exactly how they wanted to plan their daily work processes so that each employee could work stress-free or lending each other a hand in case of delays—all of that by having an eye on the data we shared on our storyboard. So one could say they unconsciously tried to balance workload and get things into a proper rhythm without calling it out loud.

Isn’t that amazing?

KATA Schools Worldwide

The reason I needed to try

Suppose, like me, you travel internationally and in various networks and notice that similar things happen everywhere where people are experimenting with Kata. Reading and listening to stories told around the world, I couldn’t any longer close my eyes to the still untapped potential.

When I was asked to go on gardening leave after a fourteen-year exciting learning journey, for which I’m infinitely grateful, I know I wanted to continue working with Kata. Just not yet how. I experimented with different approaches, but it was only after talking to Mike Rother and other Kata schools that I finally decided to take Kata forward in Denmark. Having a great network of so many inspiring, curious and professional people made the difference.

The Face Behind Kata School Denmark

I want to describe myself without artificial marketing, simply honest and straightforward. However, describing myself is not as easy for me as, for example, quickly grasping a situation, looking at it multi-dimensionally and then quickly experimenting with a new concept.

Experiments are definitely a part of my life, just as much as developing entirely new ideas that break conventions and known procedures in the first moment.

For example, when I once wanted to get a shop floor management system up and running again, I knew that our staff had already been through countless approaches. Most of them were copy and paste templates and rarely resulted in employees feeling involved. So I knew that I would most likely face rejection if I went down the same mechanistic route.

Inspiring a human success factor

But my goal was different, and the last thing I needed was rejection. I wanted to give every employee a voice and make them feel that their ideas drive us forward. I wanted to inspire a human success factor. So I started interviewing employees and invited vital people to design a new employee-driven concept. You can imagine my approach like this;

First, I asked what would make a successful Shopfloor Meeting for the employees. Then I categorised the answers together with the employees. As a next step, we formulated the “anti-function”, i.e. we asked ourselves when a meeting would not lead to success in the employees’ eyes. Then I asked the staff if they had ideas with which we could prevent such situations and with which we could then experiment. Finally, we evaluated these ideas together and identified a priority to include in our “MVP”.

We then intentionally included this “MVP” in the same area where we were already experimenting with a 1:1 flow. Thus, the concept had all the characteristics of success identified by the staff; A challenge and clear direction, a place for ideas and experiments, data and facts, transparency, and a layered feedback loop. Compared to a copy and paste approach, the difference was the employees themselves who began to design their learning and success story.

How could we judge my approach?

I started to investigate the situation, including historical or past events. Then I looked at the whole thing from several dimensions to be linked to the organisational goals. And finally, I created something wholly new and modified it to the identified needs.

I’m creative, reflective, analytical and self-taught. But, I don’t need to know everything to overcome a challenge. The knowledge comes when you walk the path.

There are many examples like the previously described, as this is how I tend to do things.

Once I created an entire product change and documentation management system myself, that also made a significant contribution to getting ISO 9001 re-certified quickly. I designed crane tools and other aids to either improve our processes or increase employee safety. I gave classes and facilitated improvements across national borders. I created e-learnings and have written an uncountable amount of procedures and, apart from marketing and controlling, I have basically not left out any business area in my time.

However, most of my time I spent working with quality management systems, quality assurance, and process improvement. You can read more about all that in my digital résumé if you like.

Honest and humble

What I enjoy immensely, besides complex challenges, is seeing other people succeed and smile. I like to help people, especially when they are honest and have healthy morals. I often say about myself that I am a selfish altruist. However, I am aware that if I want a bigger piece of the pie, I have to help others get a bigger piece of the pie.

On the other hand, I find it hard to surround myself because there is so much suffering in this world or that we call people resources and often treat them as such. Yet, people are the true success factor for continuing organisations and can not be harvested, sold and handled like resources. But let’s keep this topic for another blog post.

A few months ago, I took part in a course for Conscious Business, where participants were asked to describe me in a few words afterwards. Here’s what they said about me:

At first glance, inaccessible, thoughtful and reserved, then an explosion, enthusiastic and bringing things to a point. As if from another star.

If you think that sounds completely out of touch, ask me what it was like to read because I consider myself humble. In fact, I think and reflect a lot. However, I am also very enthusiastic (especially in front of a whiteboard). I like to criticise and, besides a good whiskey, I love factual and long discourses. But I can also get straight to the point, namely when something scaled up on the timeline and viewed multi-dimensionally doesn’t make sense.

The job of my dreams?

If you asked me if I can imagine a “dream job”, I would immediately say no, simply because the world is changing every day, and I tend to stay adaptive. But when I was philosophising with friends about what I really wanted to do one day, I said something along those lines:

One day I would love to try to light up a place altogether. To be allowed to go everywhere. To be allowed to observe what I like to observe and to be free to work on every process I like. Then I would gather enough information to tell any top management what they rarely like to hear or may have time for. To be deeply honest about their organisation problems, root causes and providing them recommendations for experiments so they can change for the better.

"The most direct way to figure out what's valued in a culture isn't to listen to what people say is important. It's to pay attention to who gets rewarded and promoted into leadership roles.

What convinces me that I’m able to do this?

Fourteen years of hard practice and a detailed eye for observing processes and systems. In that respect, I would call myself an improvement professional.

Why it is worthwhile to work with me

Innovation is not the result we get from repeating what we did yesterday. Instead, innovation happens when we do something completely new—for example, combining something to make something better. It happens when we break with conventions and ask questions that no one has asked before.

I once had a manager colleague who asked whether we couldn’t do without shop floor meetings altogether—imagining me standing in front of the whole group when this question was asked and observing the irritation in the eyes of others arising from that question. I thought it was a great question! The only point where our thoughts might have differed was that I would have liked to investigate this empirically.

I think that data and facts are better evidence than “gut feelings”.

Nevertheless, these are precisely the questions we should be asking ourselves daily. We need regular irritation and disruption in the system because that is essential for keeping up a living system. If you first start to eliminate irritation, any system becomes stiff, and if you like to place bets, here, you can bet on a dead system and a collapse.

You can read more about factors that influence organisational survivability and what to do about it here.

What to expect if you work with me?

Those who work with me can be pretty sure that I have the necessary irritation in my luggage. I don’t get up in the morning for it or look at myself in the mirror; would I offer what everyone else is already doing. Even though I realise that we like to choose the most comfortable way or often only want to hear what confirms ourselves. I don’t just work for money, but much more because I want to have an impact. I like to help people build better organisations and systems and especially when the core success factor is people. (Read about my values here)

That’s why I’m perhaps looking more for partners who, like me, are convinced that profit is the result of good approaches. I also like to look for people who care about leaving something for future generations to build on, rather than just being interested in themselves.

If you decide to visit one of my upcoming workshops, then be assured to meet an enthusiastic and polite guy who always strives for the best quality but not pretend to know it all, just for a couple of extra bucks.

If you have not read my About, please consider checking my Just Cause.

What are your challenges?

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read and would like to find out more about me, what about giving me a call to discuss your challenges over a cup of coffee? I’m eager to hear your story and to find out how I can help you.

That said, thanks for reading this special blog post, and of course, let me know what you think about this post 🙂

Dominik.

Dear reader, in this blog post, I want to take you on a journey that leads to the idea of establishing the very first Kata School in Denmark. Along those lines, you may find out how excited I´m to explore the Kata together with you in the future. And what you can expect about me as a person and when you decide to work with me.

I hope you enjoy reading this post and don’t forget to get a cup of tea or coffee so you can take a break in between and relax. 

A Challenge To Reflect

One challenge that I would like to share with everyone in this week’s blog post is to reflect regularly. So give it a try and ask yourself the following three questions:

  • How do I approach a topic right now?
  • Why do I approach this topic in particular?
  • Do the How and Why leading me in the direction I want to go?

 

Reflecting regularly helps us discover obstacles and new possibilities and, if necessary, make a course correction. We are almost always sailing on sight anyway and cannot know what is waiting for us next beyond the horizon. Therefore, if we have a good idea, a vision of how something should be, quick experiments become essential.

To reflect daily helps to stay within the corridor to success

When I recently talked to a friend about the progress of my Kata School idea in Denmark, I was rightly criticised for it lacking a more personal touch. However, a quick experiment showed me that there is still a lot to learn.

After all, how helpful is it if I can rationally and logically put everything in a nutshell, but when it now also has to be about marketing my name and personality? Therefore, we will take a closer look at my idea of establishing a Kata School in Denmark and clarify more about my nature, based on the following cornerstones;

  • The Background Story
  • The Face Behind Kata School Denmark
  • Why It Is Worthwhile To Work With Me 

The Background Story

Back in 2019, and after achieving the first target conditions and challenges by applying the means of the Kata, I immediately had the feeling of wanting to make more out of it. However, I realised quickly that the Kata in Denmark was still in its infancy, perhaps unknown and sometimes misunderstood. It would take many good Kata coaches in the future if we wanted to explore its full potentials.

“What potential are you talking about?” might be a good next question.

Kata may significantly improve the way we communicate, work together, learn together and achieve challenging goals. Kata is connecting peoples success with direction, abilities and motivation.

During my first pilot project, and when I was still a beginner coach myself, I observed how working together towards a common goal improved significantly within a few weeks due to our twenty-minute coaching cycles. In the beginning, I had to deal with plenty of individualists and who, within their own bubble, did their best to manufacture products to the best of their ability.

But if there were delays, if the quality was not one hundred per cent satisfactory, then everyone was happy to pass the responsibility on to each other.

You can read more about the Kata here.

A pattern of change

Then came our daily Kata Coaching cycles, and every day became a surprise which increasingly amazed me. Not only did my “improver” make swift progress by diligently gathering facts and data and trying to get behind the secrets of the obstacles, but the staff who then met daily at the storyboard after one of our coaching cycles rapidly changed their perspective on things.

Kata Coaching Cycles Might Be A Key To Improve How We Act And Communicate

We went from “looking for someone else’s responsibility” very quickly over to “we are learning together here, and no one knows better”. And what surprised me even more was the energy set free, which even led to staff working extra shifts to improve their processes and tools. It was a struggle not to become overconfident or ending in the trap of confirmation bias, but I had never seen something similar in the past. Psychological safety applied to express that we sometimes do not know all the answers but can learn together to improve how we approach what we do. 

An isolated case or a pattern?

At first, I thought this was an isolated case, but it was completely independent of where I experimented with the Kata. Nevertheless, the same pattern always presented itself.

Another example:

In a different production area, we tested to cascade a challenge for the first time. As a result, we wanted to shorten the lead time to respond faster to our customers and invited our staff to focus on products already in progress.

Step by step to a 1:1 flow with the help of Kata, so to speak.

Here, too, we were confronted with many silos at the beginning. But when the staff started to realise that it was now their ideas that they were allowed to experiment with, they also aimed to solve completely different and previously overlooked problems themselves.

I remember exactly how they wanted to plan their daily work processes so that each employee could work stress-free or lending each other a hand in case of delays—all of that by having an eye on the data we shared on our storyboard. So one could say they unconsciously tried to balance workload and get things into a proper rhythm without calling it out loud.

Isn’t that amazing?

KATA Schools Worldwide

The reason I needed to try

Suppose, like me, you travel internationally and in various networks and notice that similar things happen everywhere where people are experimenting with Kata. Reading and listening to stories told around the world, I couldn’t any longer close my eyes to the still untapped potential.

When I was asked to go on gardening leave after a fourteen-year exciting learning journey, for which I’m infinitely grateful, I know I wanted to continue working with Kata. Just not yet how. I experimented with different approaches, but it was only after talking to Mike Rother and other Kata schools that I finally decided to take Kata forward in Denmark. Having a great network of so many inspiring, curious and professional people made the difference.

The Face Behind Kata School Denmark

I want to describe myself without artificial marketing, simply honest and straightforward. However, describing myself is not as easy for me as, for example, quickly grasping a situation, looking at it multi-dimensionally and then quickly experimenting with a new concept.

Experiments are definitely a part of my life, just as much as developing entirely new ideas that break conventions and known procedures in the first moment.

For example, when I once wanted to get a shop floor management system up and running again, I knew that our staff had already been through countless approaches. Most of them were copy and paste templates and rarely resulted in employees feeling involved. So I knew that I would most likely face rejection if I went down the same mechanistic route.

Inspiring a human success factor

But my goal was different, and the last thing I needed was rejection. I wanted to give every employee a voice and make them feel that their ideas drive us forward. I wanted to inspire a human success factor. So I started interviewing employees and invited vital people to design a new employee-driven concept. You can imagine my approach like this;

First, I asked what would make a successful Shopfloor Meeting for the employees. Then I categorised the answers together with the employees. As a next step, we formulated the “anti-function”, i.e. we asked ourselves when a meeting would not lead to success in the employees’ eyes. Then I asked the staff if they had ideas with which we could prevent such situations and with which we could then experiment. Finally, we evaluated these ideas together and identified a priority to include in our “MVP”.

We then intentionally included this “MVP” in the same area where we were already experimenting with a 1:1 flow. Thus, the concept had all the characteristics of success identified by the staff; A challenge and clear direction, a place for ideas and experiments, data and facts, transparency, and a layered feedback loop. Compared to a copy and paste approach, the difference was the employees themselves who began to design their learning and success story.

How could we judge my approach?

I started to investigate the situation, including historical or past events. Then I looked at the whole thing from several dimensions to be linked to the organisational goals. And finally, I created something wholly new and modified it to the identified needs.

I’m creative, reflective, analytical and self-taught. But, I don’t need to know everything to overcome a challenge. The knowledge comes when you walk the path.

There are many examples like the previously described, as this is how I tend to do things.

Once I created an entire product change and documentation management system myself, that also made a significant contribution to getting ISO 9001 re-certified quickly. I designed crane tools and other aids to either improve our processes or increase employee safety. I gave classes and facilitated improvements across national borders. I created e-learnings and have written an uncountable amount of procedures and, apart from marketing and controlling, I have basically not left out any business area in my time.

However, most of my time I spent working with quality management systems, quality assurance, and process improvement. You can read more about all that in my digital résumé if you like.

Honest and humble

What I enjoy immensely, besides complex challenges, is seeing other people succeed and smile. I like to help people, especially when they are honest and have healthy morals. I often say about myself that I am a selfish altruist. However, I am aware that if I want a bigger piece of the pie, I have to help others get a bigger piece of the pie.

On the other hand, I find it hard to surround myself because there is so much suffering in this world or that we call people resources and often treat them as such. Yet, people are the true success factor for continuing organisations and can not be harvested, sold and handled like resources. But let’s keep this topic for another blog post.

A few months ago, I took part in a course for Conscious Business, where participants were asked to describe me in a few words afterwards. Here’s what they said about me:

At first glance, inaccessible, thoughtful and reserved, then an explosion, enthusiastic and bringing things to a point. As if from another star.

If you think that sounds completely out of touch, ask me what it was like to read because I consider myself humble. In fact, I think and reflect a lot. However, I am also very enthusiastic (especially in front of a whiteboard). I like to criticise and, besides a good whiskey, I love factual and long discourses. But I can also get straight to the point, namely when something scaled up on the timeline and viewed multi-dimensionally doesn’t make sense.

The job of my dreams?

If you asked me if I can imagine a “dream job”, I would immediately say no, simply because the world is changing every day, and I tend to stay adaptive. But when I was philosophising with friends about what I really wanted to do one day, I said something along those lines:

One day I would love to try to light up a place altogether. To be allowed to go everywhere. To be allowed to observe what I like to observe and to be free to work on every process I like. Then I would gather enough information to tell any top management what they rarely like to hear or may have time for. To be deeply honest about their organisation problems, root causes and providing them recommendations for experiments so they can change for the better.

"The most direct way to figure out what's valued in a culture isn't to listen to what people say is important. It's to pay attention to who gets rewarded and promoted into leadership roles.

What convinces me that I’m able to do this?

Fourteen years of hard practice and a detailed eye for observing processes and systems. In that respect, I would call myself an improvement professional.

Why it is worthwhile to work with me

Innovation is not the result we get from repeating what we did yesterday. Instead, innovation happens when we do something completely new—for example, combining something to make something better. It happens when we break with conventions and ask questions that no one has asked before.

I once had a manager colleague who asked whether we couldn’t do without shop floor meetings altogether—imagining me standing in front of the whole group when this question was asked and observing the irritation in the eyes of others arising from that question. I thought it was a great question! The only point where our thoughts might have differed was that I would have liked to investigate this empirically.

I think that data and facts are better evidence than “gut feelings”.

Nevertheless, these are precisely the questions we should be asking ourselves daily. We need regular irritation and disruption in the system because that is essential for keeping up a living system. If you first start to eliminate irritation, any system becomes stiff, and if you like to place bets, here, you can bet on a dead system and a collapse.

You can read more about factors that influence organisational survivability and what to do about it here.

What to expect if you work with me?

Those who work with me can be pretty sure that I have the necessary irritation in my luggage. I don’t get up in the morning for it or look at myself in the mirror; would I offer what everyone else is already doing. Even though I realise that we like to choose the most comfortable way or often only want to hear what confirms ourselves. I don’t just work for money, but much more because I want to have an impact. I like to help people build better organisations and systems and especially when the core success factor is people. (Read about my values here)

That’s why I’m perhaps looking more for partners who, like me, are convinced that profit is the result of good approaches. I also like to look for people who care about leaving something for future generations to build on, rather than just being interested in themselves.

If you decide to visit one of my upcoming workshops, then be assured to meet an enthusiastic and polite guy who always strives for the best quality but not pretend to know it all, just for a couple of extra bucks.

If you have not read my About, please consider checking my Just Cause.

What are your challenges?

If you’ve enjoyed what you’ve read and would like to find out more about me, what about giving me a call to discuss your challenges over a cup of coffee? I’m eager to hear your story and to find out how I can help you.

That said, thanks for reading this special blog post, and of course, let me know what you think about this post 🙂

Dominik.

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