Katie Anderson shares her insights and approaches for helping individuals and organizations gain clarity on their goals, deepen their problem-solving skills, and continuously improve on part two of two for The EBFC Show.
Katie is passionate about helpin...
Katie Anderson shares her insights and approaches for helping individuals and organizations gain clarity on their goals, deepen their problem-solving skills, and continuously improve on part two of two for The EBFC Show.
Katie is passionate about helping individual people and organizations around the world lead with intention. An internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, author, and professional speaker, she uses over 20 years of experience to support change and improvement in organizations across a range of industries, including healthcare, academia, research, government, start-ups, and biotech. Her primary focus has been on leading transformational change in healthcare organizations. A California native, Katie has lived in five countries outside the United States – including the UK, Australia, and Japan. It was during her family’s 18-month experience in Japan that she developed a professional relationship with 40-year Toyota leader Isao Yoshino. What began as a connection filled with deep conversations evolved into the book, "Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning."
Connect with Katie via
LinkedIn at https://www.linkedin.com/in/kbjanderson/
Twitter at https://twitter.com/kbjanderson
Today's episode is sponsored by the Lean Construction Institute (LCI). This non-profit organization operates as a catalyst to transform the industry through Lean project delivery using an operating system centered on a common language, fundamental principles, and basic practices. Learn more at https://www.leanconstruction.org
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Felipe Engineer 0:00
Katie, it's so good to see you again.
Katie Anderson 0:01
Good to see you.
Felipe Engineer 0:03
I finished the book today. Oh, you didn't? I'll give you my takeaways for I gotta tell you how it hit me emotionally. It. I started getting sad at the end, like so deeply connected to your Sreenivasan. And that's how I wanted to call him go. She knows some. How long did it take you to start calling him by his first name. It was only like Welcome to the E bFc. Show, the easier better for construction podcast. I'm your host, Philippe engineer Henriques. This show is all about the business of construction. Today's episode is sponsored by the lean construction Institute. LCI is working to lead the building industry, in transforming its practices and culture. Its vision is to create a healthy and thriving industry that delivers outstanding project outcomes every time for everyone. Check the show notes for more information. Thank you, LCI. Now to the show, like almost five years, maybe four years. It was it was like halfway through our book project. It was at least it was a good four years at least. Yes, it feels. feels awkward to feel it. Well. It's It's strange, because publicly I will not call him so I did a few times that our book launch party. It definitely feels strange, but always Mr. Yoshino when I went in with them. I just call him you've seen us on for a long time, but then it feels I but I call him Mr. Just you know, when we're together. Yeah. He said even a man that he were American who he worked with who we worked with, in sort of the end of his career. When he was doing consulting work after, after the water ski boat experience. He He always still calls him Justina Hassan, even though they're roughly the same age and what does john call him? That's what I want to know.
Katie Anderson 2:00
JOHN shook. Yeah. Oh, he calls him. He calls me Sal to his friend his face. It will one on one, but I think he calls him. Yes. You know, son, or catch out. catch, catch. Oh, yeah. Gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha. Thank you. I know he's he I talked to him last night, we ended up chatting for almost 90 minutes. We hadn't talked since for almost a month, which is a very long time, we usually talk every week or every two weeks. But we both had things going on. And it was just, it was a little challenging to coordinate our times. And he's been busy working with some universities. So our, our schedules didn't align. So we had a nice catch up last night and excited about some collaboration we're doing this year, you know, this week, and next week, and then some plans for next year, too. So that was that was fun to have fun to explore.
I'm dead serious, Katie, your book has been so transformative. I can tell you right now, that the way that I'm operating in my company with the work that I do, it's already different. It's already happening. It's already changed. And I'm in this culture Academy group that's hosted by Procore. It's like a small little cohort of leaders in different parts of the construction industry, from Florida all the way to California. And we were talking this morning, and we had to share like some wins and some losses. And I started with the bad news first. Because that's the better way to start. Like, all of these people spending this time together. It's not about just good job. And kudos, kudos, kudos, the point of this group is so that we stretch ourselves and grow. And I had to start with failure. And it was, it was tough. It is the first time I talked about the struggle that I've been having this year with anybody outside of my household. And it was a it was very different for me. Hmm, how did that feel for you? I felt vulnerable, for sure. definitely won't and the people that were on the call are amazing people. And right away, they were wanting to make sure that that I was okay. And then they wanted more. They wanted more details. And I wasn't, I wasn't expecting that response. It took me by surprise, but I instantly felt better.
I felt good, huh? It's amazing. It brings out the human and I do this all the time in virtual environment, it's the heart then it's how we can connect with that heart in that humanity. And, um, you know, that sense of vulnerability goes so far. Of course, you know, having a supportive team and then welcoming you're sharing and being vulnerable is also important. But if we put ourselves forward, it's it's amazing what happens, you know, in the connections that that establishes and breaks and breaks down The facades of what, like, we're supposed to eat a certain way at work, because we really, we our whole selves, our whole self.
So yeah, I totally agree, Katie and I went back and I listened to the raw footage of our first part one. And I realized that I didn't do a good job of letting you introduce yourself. Oh, we're, we were so grateful talking.
We're right back into it.
Felipe Engineer 5:24
Yeah, I kept waiting. I was like, okay, when is it going to come?
Katie Anderson 5:27
Well, I was, I was thought you had some gems of what you were just saying, really, as I really appreciate hearing how the book has impacted people in a real and tangible way. My time with Mr. Yoshino has impacted me in such a positive, transformative way. And then to know how our collaboration and also what I've brought forward and how I've structured the book and presenting it so that it is in a usable, meaningful, reflective way that people can learn from is makes all the years of effort worthwhile.
So, okay, it's worth telling you again, that when I was reading the book, number one, it reads very well, the story that weaves through, I'll borrow your weaving metaphors as much as I can. It is, it's such that like, you don't want to stop reading it because you're on a cliffhanger. It's like watching a good movie. You know, following along the story, you feel like, you know, the story has a happy ending, just because I've seen pictures of you and you're Sreenivasan online. And he's always smiling so big. And I'm thinking the story is, and then when, when I'm in the book. And in the second part of the book that I finished since the last time we talked, it was like, I was feeling so bad for the experiences he had, like, when he came back to work in San Francisco for the first time. And he realized what his job was, I felt crushed just like him. I was like, How could you do this to him Toyota, I was so mad for him, like I was angry and then seeing him go through this and then having that realization that it's just the perspective is his own. And I've thought that and I've said that myself so many times and and I still get caught in my own thinking I get in my own way of getting back getting some better perspective, taking the time to pause and I want to make sure we really dive deeper into reflection with you and we'll take advantage of your Japanese skills now that I know that your was an N five and five Japanese speaker definitely some hard questions. I'm going to I'm going to get her on Katie.
All right. Well, it's I'm a little rusty since my planned trips to Japan this year didn't quite happen. So my my Japanese practice is a little rusty but happy to take a go.
Now well, it's gonna be it'll be some things I think you're going to have easily in spades. And if you mess up a trip that will both learn together. Okay, good. Well, you can just edit it out too. So good, but I probably won't. So, so happy to have back Katie Anderson back on the podcast, author of learning to lead leading to learn and definitely a lifelong student who never stops learning. Katie, please, I'm gonna stop talking for just a second give you a chance to introduce yourself to the audience. Tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do.
Thanks, Felipe. I'm so happy to be back here talking with you. It's always always a pleasure. And I'm, as you said, Katie Anderson, I'm based in the San Francisco Bay Area. I'm a leadership coach, lean practitioner, author and facilitator, whose passion is for helping people learn to live in lead with intention, and to always be learning more deeply for themselves for them for the people they support in their organizations. And I had the great distinct of pleasure and honor of becoming friends with Mr. Sal Yoshino when I moved to Japan in 2015, with my family, and we became friends And out of that friendship, became a deep partnership and resulted in the book that you just finished reading. So I'm excited to talk with you more now, about your experiences of finishing the book and your takeaways and some of the other how it's had a meaningful impact for you as you were already starting to share with me earlier.
Joe, thank you, Katie again for taking time to to be with me in this this evening in December. I'm super glad to have you back. Your book has been a game changer for me. We have a mutual friend. And that's how we talked about that on the show before a little bit either on camera off I don't remember where it landed. But we've definitely have some mutual friends. That are like minded. And I'm an admirer of what the lean Enterprise Institute has done. And I know that you're still a faculty member there. And we didn't talk about that at all. Last week I went, I went back through all that I was like, how do we not talk about that we must have just ran out of time.
I have my fingers in many different in many different pots so that we can cover some other pots today.
No, but I feel like Katie, you're one of those people that I can just talk to you all day a night. And you definitely have lots of Nuggets to share. And I want to pull some of those out of us like you want to get my reactions to your book. And I'm happy to answer any and all questions about the book.
Fabulous. Well, as you are excited to talk with you two of them. One of them was soothing voices that I I have encountered in a long time, and it's just you, your voice invites discussion and leaning in that conversation.
Yeah, I appreciate that. But I want to start by, you know, in part one of the book, it's, it starts as pretty positive, like overall. And by the time we get to the to the second part, I see it really transitioning and pivoting and I don't want to give the whole book away. If you're out there and you haven't picked up Katie's book, we're gonna give you links in the description below. As well as when we promote the videos for you to get after it and get that book and it's available right now on Amazon unlimited. So take advantage if you've got that membership, but otherwise, I'm getting I'm getting a hardcover myself. I read it all on my Kindle. There it is. There it is. You feel it in your hands, there's still something nice about that. And you get the nice book smell like those of you that are old enough to appreciate a good non digital book. It is something to behold in your hands and touch. And even like I don't put Mark I like to fold the dog here the corner. Oh, no. Oh, yes. Because that way I know like when I go back through it because I read books multiple times. Katie, I'm not a one and done type of reader. I'm a Let's read this bad boy like 1015 2030 times.
Well, you'll be excited to know I have a workbook coming out to very soon as a companion guide to the to the book so you can dog ear and bookmark away and cross reference and, and deepen your learning. So that's very exciting.
No, I will definitely. For those of you who don't know, mystery, Sal Yoshino is the ken Sanderson character in managing to learn the book by john shook, or john shook his Desi Porter. And there's a whole bunch of play on words there that I had no idea until Katie enlightened me, which was really awesome. I wish I had read your book first. But I just wasn't it wasn't available yet, Katie.
It wasn't available. And I think that Mr. Yoshino was was not so well known. He I mean, even as a leader at Toyota, he He always was a more behind the scenes type of leader working in operational support organizational development, types of roles. And so he Yes, he was john Chuck's, actually his john Chuck's boss's boss of and what was the one of the two people who taught him how to be a leader in a learner at Toyota using a three thinking and so much more. And what I, Mr. Yoshino just has such a wealth of knowledge and through really pivotal times at Toyotas history where they really really were focusing with intention about how to be a more people centered culture, rather, not just a process centered culture, but people centered as well. And so much to learn from him. So I'm, I'm grateful to the for the experience for myself personally, to learn from him. And now for the honor to be able to share his stories broadly with the world so so many people like yourself, and others have a chance to learn from him as well.
No, thank you, Kay. They're powerful stories in there that I mean, many times I was in his place. In the story, you wrote it so well, that I felt what he was feeling in the moments when he was feeling it. And I mean, all kinds of things that you would not expect in a leadership book like anger, sadness, like hopelessness, all these things that a lot of leaders I think are facing, especially in challenging times, like today. And then to see this trajectory of where he's so centered on what his purpose is.
Yes, heart and direction, sort of its intention. How do you align yourself with Shiko? How do you align yourself with your purpose and your values and how do you how do you really live in lead with intention? I one of the things I value so much for Mr. Yoshino is that he is real and he is relatable. And you know, those some of those stories were really hard for him to talk about. as well, but he was willing to go there and willing to share that. And, you know, as he, as we talked about in the book, and he shared with me, you know, there's so much we can learn from mistakes and failure. And but we have to be open to that and open to the self reflection. And it wasn't that, you know, he's always been some of those experiences, even as, you know, they're told in more totality in the in the book, but some of those stories, especially the water ski boat experience, which was his biggest, as he calls it, his biggest career failure was pieced together over years of conversations. And, you know, it was, I think, one of the, if nothing came with the book, if no one read it, and I'm so glad people are reading it and having the chance to learn from him. But the experience of me being able to help him reflect both on the positive and then and the things that were more challenging and maybe see things in a different light. And like that he had this experience, it felt really terrible. And he learned some things as well. But now he's like, Oh, I see things in a different light, I've had the opportunity to reflect and see things with a different perspective. And he had this like, sense of levity. Later in talking about those experiences. And so if anything, came out of that book, helping my friend, reflect deeply, and maybe shifts helping shift in some way, some some of his mindset around the challenging times, although as you know, he's he's amazing, it having a very positive mindset and doing that for himself as well.
His mindset is admirable, very, so often you find people that they let their environment get the better of them. And it kind of takes them down. And I mean, he's not perfect, right? And many times, he says, as he's reflecting about things, you know, he makes a change and says, like, today, I decided, and he just doesn't decide, but he follows it quickly with action. Yes. And I think that that's the part that a lot of us Miss, especially in larger organizations and businesses, we missed that part. Like, now we we know what to do, we've made the decision, it's time to do it.
It's time to do it. And sometimes, even if we know we need to do something, we don't do it. And you know that, you know, he acknowledges that for himself, too. Like he, he knows, he knew he taught senior leaders at Toyota 1000s of them, how did you practice ocean conjuring strategy deployment. And when it came to his own challenging business, he felt like there's so many fires to put out and so much complexity that he didn't do it. And so, but that's so relatable. I mean, all of us have had those experiences, where we're just so overwhelmed by what's going on that even though we knew no, we should do something, we don't because we're just feel, you know, we're just trying to cope. And, and so I think that's really just reassuring that know that no one's perfect, right? And that we can still make those changes and be intentional and continue to apply that knowledge forward. And don't beat ourselves up by the mistakes in the past, but how can we see them as a learning opportunity? And whether or not we can learn for ourselves and make the course corrections? You know, he didn't have that same opportunity again, but now he's allowing us to learn from them those experiences and so it is still paying it forward and creating wisdom and all of us.
The questions you asked in the book, through the Han, say, at the end of every chapter, Katie asks a series of questions to make you reflect. And one in the second half of the book, they really got me. You asked me anybody that reads it, not just me. But you asked me, How have you reflected? And it was like just a simple question. What time have you made to reflect on what you learned? And my answer was, I didn't make the time. Like, I was so mad at myself reading the book at like, I just had this epiphany, as I'm reading the story and connecting to Yoshino sounds, experiences and outside of talking about it with my spouse at night, and have finally had a long conversation with my 10 year old. Yesterday, he was having some, some 10 year old kid struggles. And I was asking him about his intention. And trying to end discovering that intention. And it's hard is hard. And I remember being a kid is age two, and it's, it's tough. But you asked me, What time have you made to reflect and I look back at my calendar of work just last week, and it was just meeting after meeting after meeting. And there wasn't even 20 minutes in between. Or I can step back and just say like, okay, I just spent time with these 30 people, what did I learn from that? What am I going to change? I went right on to just the next task. And I think that was, I would consider last week a missed opportunity. But the good news is I can still learn and apply that I baked in a little bit of buffer this week, to give myself those moments that I otherwise would have just been oblivious to.
If you're not asked me that question and you are a relentless question asker I can tell when I've honed my skills, I like to not think of it being relentless because you challenge and nurture, right?
But I have, you can say challenge and nurture, I can say, relentless to describe from my perspective, but it's a good thing. Because you can't read my mind.
It's also about asking questions that will help the other person my purpose with those, those practicing Han say questions actually practicing Han say was the working title of the book. I don't know if I told you that before. But this the, this the meta, to me, the meta story, or the meta theme of the book is about reflection, and how about reflection is the foundation of learning. It's so important and critical, and then quit asking questions, either of ourselves or asking questions to help other people is so powerful in that practice of of Hans and reflection as well. And I was gonna say something else about that. And now I went off on the tangent of Han say, so there you go. Oh, but Mr. Mr. Hughes, you know, said that he's, it was at the same thing, not there. Not about, I think he framed it differently. But it was sort of relentless questions, but relentless in a way of caring. So it wasn't like barrage of question, question, question question. But I just kept coming back out of with a deep curiosity to understand what was going on, especially around that last, that last decade of his life, he just hadn't gone into very much detail. I was trying to understand what had happened. And so that's where the questions kept coming. But it wasn't always like, we're gonna ask 20 questions and you until you answer them. Okay, you don't have that question. Sorry, we're talking.
We're both excited.
No, no, that's where that's what I've had to learn is like, I'm a very, I get very excited. And so one of the things I've had to practice with intention is how to retain my energy and my enthusiasm and my excitement, but also calm down and slow down so that I don't interrupt people, especially after I've asked them a question or, or that I allow space for other people to talk to. And that's, we, that's all part of our own self awareness about how you know, what's important to us. Who do we want to be? How do we want to show up? And then what are the habits that either align with that? Or sometimes get in our way with that? And how do we amplify those things? Like I became a really good question asker. But that's only so good if I was jumping in and not giving people space to think and answer. So it's an endless journey. But I think I'm a better person than I was 10 years ago, that's for sure. Because of I've put, I've put deliberate practice towards that. person, I just think I've become a more intentional and effective person in all aspects of my life. But that's maybe that's what comes with age and experience.
That's actually one of the questions I wanted to ask you, because I was looking at your, your profile, and I saw that you had made like a shift you you left a traditional type of work. And you went into the very scary consulting realm. But for whatever reason, I couldn't tell and anything that I've read Katie that really said, what was the impetus for that shift? I did see the acknowledgement in the book where you think, a couple of key people that some people that I admire, too, that you've had in your life, I mean, just get cool people around you number one, so kudos to you for for that. But could you talk about, I've had a couple friends. Recently, I have a friend right now, that's actually going to quit their day job and go full time into something else. And he's talked to me about it a lot. And he's just like, was very sure of it. And he'd made the decision a year ago. And here we are going into month 12. And he hasn't made the transition yet. Decisions been made everything set up but he hasn't left the day job yet. What What can you tell us about your experience with that? Because I know he's gonna be listening to the show. I'm not gonna call him up by name, but I will poke him privately great sure that he gets this exact spot. This one's for you.
You know, I had, I've been I've been thinking about my sort of looking backwards in my career journey and sort of those pivotal points of decision points and changes in you know, we we go back to that weaving metaphor that we started talking about that warp and weft, like what are the constants that really have pulled us through and then what are the things we've learned and adjusted along the way? And for me, looking back, there's some really strong constant such as I've always been drawn to learning, connecting with people helping but there have been different career choices I've made that that some fit better aspects of that than others. And so I you know, I started off my career in academia. Actually, I you know, when we're very you're supposed to be the expert Problem Solver, the knower of everything, the researcher, the Finder of truth. And I love that from a learning perspective, actually, most of the first 10 years of my career was spent in academic roles, including my master's degree and some other things. But for me, I made so I've made a few pivots in my life. And I think it's gotten me to where I am now. And I feel like I'm in my, maybe my sweet spot, but it's taken, what 25 years of a career to get here, or maybe not quite 25. But But almost there you can. But my first my first career shift was from academia into consulting, not my own consulting practice. But I went and worked for a consulting firm, I was living in Australia at the time. And that's where I'd done my master's degree. And I stayed there another few years. And it was a nice transition for me, but wasn't working for me about academia was that the type of research I was doing, well, twofold. The type of research I was doing, well, very impactful and important, was all retrospective. And I didn't feel that the I didn't feel as much of a tangible connection to the change I was impacting. And the second is, I could go for days without talking to someone. And as you might gather here, I like to connect with people like torture as well. And but I also loved it from a learning a deep learning perspective. And in many ways, writing this book was like heart pulling back on that, on those those that interest in research, and writing and synthesis, and all of that. So there's something that was appealing on the book writing about that, but I love the most going to conferences and connecting with people and sharing and knowledge, not necessarily the sitting and analyzing, anyhow, I so I made it made a shift. And so that was a nice shift for me. I also decided two years later to move back to the United States. And at that point was an opportunity to decide do I want to work for a company where I was gonna be traveling a lot or be more focused in one area. And I decided I wanted to I did, I took a few months and figure things out. But I took a role at Stanford Children's Hospital, and again, serendipity was using my consulting skills. But as an internal consultant, and I was at that it was at Stanford children's for almost six years. And that's where I started learning and practicing lean. And I loved it, I loved the connection to people in the problem solving. And I then took another role at the Palo Alto Medical Foundation, more senior senior lien consultant role in managing a team of people. And I, through that time, really realized that my, my expert problem solving skills no longer serves my purpose in a people development role, either as a consultant, a coach, or managing a team of people. I mean, of course, it served me well, in terms of I had problems and scope of responsibility I needed to solve but me jumping in and trying to do it all myself in that same way wasn't giving all the answers and I wasn't, I wasn't being as effective. And that's really where I started to put that great intention to asking more questions, listening. You know, slowing down and not being as excitable at all times. And then from there, I jumped, made the big, you know, leap into the unknown and started my own consulting practice. And there were a few factors there that aligned in my life to make that the right decision. But I certainly didn't know what that was going to be. It wasn't like it was all set and lined up. In fact, it was a leap into the unknown. And it was the most rewarding leap I've made professionally. And it goes back to having connections and relationships built. And I had, I had contracts already in negotiation before my last official day of work. And so that was super, super rewarding. And I was pregnant with my second child at that time, and it was like, my second pregnancy was way more chill than my first because I had a lot more control. And then, with serendipity, we moved to Japan a year later for my husband's job, and what could be a more perfect location for, you know, a student of the Toyota Production System and then that and so you know, the rest evolve to where you know, what you now know. But those life isn't linear, right? And so you have no, I think that's where that concept of the warp and the weft, the warp threads is sort of that sense of purpose, the things that are known within you How do we follow those warp threads, those those sense of constant so they keep us on track, and move us forward? But how do we also then incorporate in other elements and sort of then weave something that we couldn't have anticipated in the beginning? I certainly by no means when I graduated from university we think that I'm a leadership coach and process improvement world yet looking back it totally makes sense. Because the things that were still important to me then I'm still fulfilling through my what I'm doing now. So I don't know if that helps or not when your friend but I say make the leap, make it happen. You never know there's no guarantees, but you won't know until you do it.
You already here. So I'll make sure that he gets that message. In the book, Katie, you also do a good job. speaking through Yoshino son's eyes when he's talking about, you don't know how it's all gonna weave together. And at times when you're looking at the threads, and you see all these like, dark and sad colors, these dark Gray's the dark blues, the black dreads. And if you zoom back a little bit and change your perspective, which doesn't happen unless you reflect, you can reflect as you're weaving the thread, it's right at your hands, it's right at your face, you're in it, you're in it, it's like you, beautifully set in the book, when you stand back and change your perspective on it. It makes sense, just like you just did now looking backwards, you lead them to the unknown. And everything worked out better. Like you said, your pregnancy was better than you had opportunity to go to Japan, it was a no brainer, easier decision. And your, your excitement I think has stayed high the whole time you stay true to yourself. And I think it's even worth saying like when you were younger, and I just heard you say now that you paused when you're in Australia, you pause and you said you use like two months, I think I heard you say two months of thinking about where you're going to go next. And then you moved. But you did you kept moving. So I think that's like really powerful. I can't I can't share any cool stories where I paused long enough. I'm more of a like just jumping and just crossing my fingers and hoping it's gonna be okay. Which definitely makes for an interesting life. A lot of unexpected, a lot of unexpected jumps, I'm sure. There have been a lot of jumps. But luckily, we're here to talk about you and not me. I'm turning the tables. I want to turn the table booked Katie, you're on a podcast that was published, I think it was a week ago, or the week after you were on a quality podcast. And I made a comment I was excited to hear, you know, it was a totally different way. Like that style of show was also I think about an hour long. And I commented that I liked listening to it. And I was learning some things. And at that point, I was probably like 70% through the book. And you asked me right away when I commented like, what are your key takeaways? And I was like, I actually paused and I thought about what they were and I gave you the three. And you came back right away and said, those are the three main parts of the story, which I can't wait to hear if she knows saying his own words, how those three things are so critical. And I'll let you give away what those three things are. Because you'll say it better than I will. What are those three things that I shared with you? Katie, do you remember?
Well, I believe that they're the three fundamental ways that a leader fulfills his or her purpose, which is set the direction provide support to their people, and develop themselves. And those are, you know, that really came out of something that Mr. Yoshino said on stage actually made the same day I met him probably it was on stage with john shook at a conference, this is six months before I moved to Japan. And he was talking about his role as a manager. And he basically said, my role as a manager was to give a mission or target support my person, well, he or she will always mainly he back then the target. And then I was aware that as I was developing, the other person I was I was developing myself at the same time. And I was like, that is so incredibly profound and simple. And the essence of what leadership is, if we are people centered, and we're creating a learning culture, if we know the direction we need to go, we have a challenge that might push us into, you know, thinking of things in a different way. And yet we're being given the support and nurturing and development and the, you know, the systems we need to be successful. And then the leader is also working on how to improve himself or herself at the same time. Well, that's, I mean, that's, that's it. And it's it's so simple. And yet, you know, there's so much complexity within within that, but yes, that direction, provides support, develop yourself, you got it.
Yeah, each one of those is the library books and experiences. And those three steps, it is really deepen. And I got to, you know, give a critical eye to john shook, it didn't come out in his book managing to learn so much as it is it did here. I felt like, you know, there when he wrote that, where we were culturally with what was coming out of Toyota. And as we understand, lean today in the US, I just saw a slide yesterday, somebody say that lean is an American invention. It's not something from Toyota is to think about that for a second. Like, that's totally right. It's totally right. And we can, it's totally right. We can blame your friends at the LSI for for that, that word.
I mean, I'm not a big fan of the word. But yeah, I heard Jim Womack a few years ago at a conference talk about that one of the other words, they were Looking at was fragile. So I don't know if we want fragile system through there. So, you know, it was a best attempt at describing it. And it describes certainly many aspects. But you can't. There, if you go to Japan, no one knows what you're talking about when you talk about Lean. It's it is it's a, it's a construct we've put to try and describe something. And even the Toyota Production System has evolved, or the Toyota way is evolved, since, you know, those researchers were really looking at Toyota, the, you know, the 80s, and 90s. And so even their systems and structures might look different than how it was documented. So always have to. So I think, you know, I take people to Japan and non pandemic times, to go learn about the Toyota Production System, and what we call lean at the source and things you know, and I have to remind people that sometimes are constructs of what lean looks like, or what it's called, is not what you're going to see or the words that are going to be used. But if we can get to principles, yet we see principles, we experience principles, we see embodiment of them in different artifacts, but to to go back to what's the purpose rather than what or what's the actual tool or something, what something looks like.
Yeah, I really, really liked that and appreciate that. And I, and there's a similarity. There's a lot of similarities between your approach with your Japan tours and what your sheknows on did when he took people from the NUMMI plant, as they're developing the training program for how are they going to get american people in the worst performing plant in GM his portfolio and became the best performing plant ever. And as he was brainstorming with his boss at the time, it was really interesting to take that they had that epiphany, that brilliance of, they're not going to get it, from us talking about it, they need to just come and immerse themselves in it, which is what you've always done, as you've traveled, you've immersed yourself in all these two cultures and really expanded your horizon to such new heights. And I think that, you know, for those of you listening, if you ever get the chance to go and experience something be in it is completely different than reading about it. And I think that was really brilliant. Now I have to ask you as a follow up to pull them the next thread, right? When you do your your tours to Japan, do you make the people that you take with you put down on paper, what their intentions are to get out of the trip before they go?
Yes, we start we start the day off, we start the we start the day one off with setting some learning intentions and getting to know each other. And questions people want to answer through for themselves through the experience. So yeah, that is awesome. And then we end with reflection, and of course lots of celebration as well. So lots of lots of fun, lots of fun cultural experiences Saki, if you want you can imbibe, we actually I planned for this year, and we will next year hopefully go to a Saki brewery Company A brewing small brewery in the in the Nagano mountains that's close to this company called ina, which, actually Mr. Toyoda, Kyoto Ada considers the former chairman of this company to be his sensei and mentor. And so it's a it's a subsidiary of the this company, but it's, I was all very excited to line all that up. But pandemics get in the way of so much. But it's alright. I mean, it'll be healthy and safe, healthy and safe is first and foremost. And we can travel again later.
Right? That that was really cool to see. And, and to hear you doing that taking people back and watching what that did and how people transformed. I was on a call with some folks that have like mixed teams across the country. And one of the teams had has union workers and all the other teams don't. And in California, it was the same thing like that. In the book, and people were asking Turner, like, why don't you just copy what your competitors did. And you said it so brilliantly in your sheknows words about, they had to learn their lesson like that learning by going the easy way to non union areas and setting up that already been done. And they didn't want to, they didn't want to just go the easy path. They wanted to have this real empirical experience and try something different and make a differentiation, which I think a lot of people don't take those types of risks. For as conservative as people think of Japan and Toyota. I would not have picked California to come into first. Like if it was If it was up to me by myself.
Felipe Engineer 39:46
It's not the easiest place to do work in know and well. In fact, you know, their competitors, Nissan and Honda just other other places, as you mentioned. So it gets back to this the comment that I started A book off with Mr. Yoshino saying that the only secret to Toyota is its attitude towards learning. And that in that example, you know, relates back to that quote, you know, they were intentional about choosing a complex environment, because they knew they could learn more because of the challenges that would present and if they were successful there, they were more likely to be successful elsewhere, too. And they were slower to they were slower to get started Honda and Nissan also, you know, they started earlier, in some ways, Mr. Yoshino believes that it was because Toyota wanted to also see and learn from their competitors, their competitors experiences. So he he often remarks how sometimes people say that Toyota seems very slow at making decisions. And and sometimes that can have negative repercussions, of course, but it gets back again to that concept of their wanting to be deliberate in their learning. So, you know, but then but then slow decision but quick to action. So, you know, when they make that is in a way they go, the definitely never been accused of analysis paralysis.
Katie Anderson 41:09
Well, never Yeah, mate, maybe I don't know. They know, they made they make things go, although sometimes, you know, can be slow to action, at times has not benefited them, but I'll save that for you to ask Mr. Yoshino at our upcoming session. Oh, yeah, definitely.
There's some pointed questions. I'm gonna ask him about key fobs in particular, like I was watching the evolution of the wireless key fob at Toyota lag, like almost a decade behind the competitors, but I'm gonna say that for him, to put them on the spot.
Sometimes to answer questions, if unless they're directly about his own experiences, so just a warning.
I'll phrase it in a way that will be people centric, to play the game, Katie? Okay. All right. All right. Well, we'll see it. We'll see. I may have to translate for him. I've got I've got 1000 questions about compro. Huh, that, but I'm already getting ready and formulating in my mind.
Okay, great. Well, I will, I'm excited to hear what they are. It's always intriguing for me, there's, that was one of the challenges about the book. So for example, this what you called the con pro was this two year long leadership development, pro immersive leadership development program that Toyota created for its top 1000, Senior senior managers and directors. And Mr. Yoshino is one of a small team sort of supporting the program. And there's so much inside there. And like if I was going more of the technical route with this book that we could have gone, like way deeper into some of the elements. But I had to balance also like, telling the story, and keeping the momentum going along. And you know, maybe there'll be another book about about con Pro, but at least, it at least highlights to me that the sort of the essence and the most important elements, elements about it. And some Mystery Machine has gone and talked to his mentor who was his boss at the time, Mr. Mr. sicura, and he was telling him some new memories that Mr. Yoshino hadn't been privy to those discussions about the top executives deciding which parts of the organization we're going to be involved in leadership program. And it's a great story to about, we all own quality. And so we all need to be be part of this. It's not just the manufacturing side of things. It's everything else, all parts of the company are responsible for quality for safety for, for basically, they're what we create for our customers.
And that's it. That's some of the important early cross functional thinking, I saw some, I consider myself an agile list and love that Toyota's is now adopting that as well, as we, as we've learned and shifted in the world is changing again. And then they're going that way, but I was kind of surprised, Katie and maybe you talked about it with Yoshino Sana Sana in the book, but why was con pro like a two years and done. Ah, cuz I've heard from a lot of people and said that the hardest thing I can't remember the name of the gentleman now who's got like a 200 person team at Toyota. And I've heard it many different times. I think even Mr. Cho has said the hardest thing for Tony to do is to pass on their culture to the next generation of leaders. Why? Why didn't it? Like, continue in a different way? It seemed like it was like, Alright, we did it. We got these people done. Yeah, they're gonna keep doing it. And then they backed away from it, and then they shifted. We know the chaos and entropy are always coming into your system. If you're not intentional, creating those environments where you have some good failures to create a cause to get people to get an executive to say, like, we're gonna go to this thing too. It's that important that we need to know because we're going to be talking to our key leaders differently. What can you say about that Katie? You feel like you know something?
I my own take or hypothesis based on my comment. workstations with him twofold. One is that the it was a two year program and that was intentional. You know, we talked about in the book that his boss three years and sort of be too long, like, No, you know, people are also moving on to different roles. But one year be too short because enough people can kind of fake it but not really be in it. And so two years is long enough to be like, Alright, we got to keep practicing, we really you're really serious, you want us to do our, you know, our leadership or cancro a three and do that. But I the the program was meant to be as vicino sounds as a retightening an intentional re tightening of the belt, a reinvestment in the the leadership mindset that Toyota wanted to create for as a culture. And so, you know, in the in the 1960s, laid out a real focus on quality control and quality circles, they won the the Deming prize in the mid 60s around the time Mr. Yoshino joined Toyota, and then, you know, at the end of the late 70s, early 80s, you know, there have been some generational, you know, changes and things had had shifted, and so they re tighten the belt. And again, if you think about about 20 years later, they tweeted a retighten the belt with with the, with the publication of the toilet away 2001 mystery came from Mr. Cho. And then now we're about 20 years later again, and Akio Toyoda is out there re tightening the belt, again, really reemphasizing what Toyotas purposes, their mission about creating happiness, and he is going out and leading leadership programs in the organization. This is the president. There's some great articles, I don't know if you've seen them from the, I think the Toyota way times I forget the exact name, but of what Mr. akia Toyota is doing right now, and some things to be said about going back to basics, we need to go back to the basics. What did we mean by that? What's the purpose and the intention behind the Toyota Production System? What are our pillars? What does that mean? What are management and leadership responsibilities of the toilet away? So the first is that there was, you know, the kind of always have to be intentionally re tightening the belt, but you can't have that same offline focus all the time. And so, you know, this two year program, and these tightening of the belt times allow us to have some more offline learning time. And then the rest is the expectation that it happens through the work. Leaders now are expected to be coaching and developing and mentoring their people. And now they have the skills to do that, and then probably sort of erodes a little bit. So we got to re emphasize that again. But if we always have learning happening because of their sort of offline programs, or you know, we're not really embedding it into our culture into our work. And so I would imagine his answer would be it's because it's become part of the work. And we occasionally have to re tighten our belt, and then we continue on, we have that habit again. And then we need to re tighten our belt again. So that would be my I would, I would I might even dissipate. But I'll be very curious what he says in his words as well.
I love and how you tied it to the time to it's like, it's connected to the generations of leadership that's happening inside the company. That's really interesting to see. And yeah, and it is kind of, I mean, we're seeing that now in the United States where we've got multiple generations working. And you there's an exodus of the baby boomers leaving and in very large numbers and the culture of the workplace is, is very dynamic right? Now, it's very hard to say like, what kind of culture do we have today, and at any given company, where you've got, you know, multiple generations of people in, it's not like, just the everybody's, you know, around the same type of experience, like, even just looking at pictures. And I love that, john, that you guys have so many pictures to put into look.
Thank God for john Chuck for sharing pictures, because Mr. Yoshino has none except that one with with john Denver, which I did, you know, and then there's more that you can go on on the website. But I did include the john Denver photo in the book, too. No, it's great. He has no photos, which is, which is, which is really such a, you know, I was I was talking to if I was thinking about how or a few months ago, actually Toyota headquarters in the United States chose the book to be their book club of the month book, which was super. That's awesome. Okay. And so I joined them for discussion. And they were saying the same thing around the three tightening of the belt that they felt like this book was helping them have renewed appreciation for the fundamentals of the culture that they're supposed to be working in. And some of them are new hires in the last few years, and we're giving them new insights to to that culture. And so I thought that was really cool as well, that you know, Toyota itself was using the book to learn about itself and its history and culture.
It's amazing, and there's definitely some gems in there that are nowhere else even In the way that Jeff liker did the total way, you know, the the seminal book before I kind of brought it to the mainstream. I mean, I'm not taking anything away from Jim Womack. And in the machine. I mean, that book deserves its own podcast all by itself. And probably like podcast, several interviews. But there's a there's definitely a difference between, you know, what, Jeffrey, like or did? And what you did you came in really tight with your sheknows perspective. But I think, for me, I'm really big on context and history. Like, it just fed me so much more to understand, like, why would he do this? Why would he feel this way? Why would tell him to act like that all those questions that I've always had through your book, and through his experiences, I got answers, finally.
Yeah, well, me too. I mean, that was my experience with talking with Mr. Yoshino and living in Japan. But really, through that experience of learning from Mr. Yoshino, it gave me a richness of understanding. And so I thought that that was important to those contextual elements about, you know, the, the regional culture and where Toyota is based. And some of the history some little bit of the Japanese history provides context into onto this because it is, we are, you know, we were based in a certain time in a certain place, and that shapes who we are and our mindset as well. And it doesn't mean we can't apply principles in different settings, but it helps understand where something came from, or maybe what the things that were more easy, and the things that were more challenging, as well. So yeah, absolutely. And, you know, so I was some I was talking to another book club about the, about the book, too, and someone asked me the question, why I hadn't included certain elements of Japanese history in it. And I said, you know, there, we, I had to had the kind of box, you know, this could be huge if I wasn't trying to write a book about the totality of Japanese or Toyota history, but really, through the lens of Mr. Yoshino and some of my experience of context to help shape that story. But you know, what were the things that really stood out to him that were important in telling his story, his experience of working into it, and then how, how can we use that as a, you know, one person's learning experience, but he really feels like it also represents many people's experience from his generation of toys, as well. So he doesn't like to say this is like one person's story. But that's him being humble, because he's also a pretty amazing, amazing person who has so much to offer from his personal individual experiences.
Felipe Engineer 52:33
Yeah, oh, it's definitely I can't say enough great things about the book. And in hearing the Toyota studying the book themselves is just, I think that's what they call fractal. That's like, you know, that's the universe studying itself by watching itself. So that's really cool. Katie, I'm so glad that, that that's happening.
Katie Anderson 52:51
Thank you. It's been it's been exciting. And when, you know, things I appreciate about being on podcasts like this is having well, talking to amazing hosts like you and enjoyable competitions, but also are and also I should say, the opportunity to connect with a wider audience who may not have immediately known about the book because of just knowing me or being associated with folks who would know Mr. Yoshino. And I really, as you've said, I, there's so much richness of learning from his story and about, not just about those four people who are, you know, interested in Toyota or lean or the things coming out of that, but just like how to be a good, thoughtful human being, who's in support of developing other people, and actually, a friend of mine read the book, and, you know, just to she's just a French, not very good business person at all. And she's like, you know, I learned so much about parenting. I said, it's the same thing. It's about developing people, you can do the same things about parents set direction, provide support. Gosh, I have to improve myself, because I have an almost nine year old or almost 10 year old as well. And, you know, we got to always be improving ourselves to be effective parents.
Felipe Engineer 54:02
So gotta walk the talk.
Katie Anderson 54:04
Yeah, yeah. Good. Well, I hope he's enjoying his rumah and his set his goal. I sent this to you.
Felipe Engineer 54:10
I've got him right here.
Katie Anderson 54:12
Now the hidden Yeah, that your name Felipe, was kind of hiding them.
Yeah, good. Either. Right there there. He spends every morning we do a reflection to start the day. Here. We call it coffee talk. He doesn't drink coffee. Yeah. So they're here because that thin ice so he sits on the chair that's over here, and then he can see them. And then we talk about different things. And I always ask him reflective questions, which even today Katie finds annoying.
Yeah, well, of course your parent. Exactly. I know my role later later, he'll appreciate.
But I want to pull that string Katie, because you just gave me something that I wanted to ask you right when we first started and now Okay, it's perfect reminder. So in in the two pillars of the Toyota Production System. We have the Very haphazard English translation, I think only because we don't have enough context, in the Japanese language for those that are like lean nerds, and you're into this, you're gonna get a kick out of this. The translation of respect for people and continuous improvement are not good. And I want to just focus on the respect for people part. So in the book, you said several times, he said in the beginning, and then you brought it, you brought me home at the end talking about, and Yoshino says talking about the omission of the word wisdom. Can you tell for all, everybody, like the 99% of the people that don't know? What is the translation? Like? What's the word? What are the words in Japan? The Japanese words, and then I have to pull my book, How to remember the Japanese words. But yes, we'll go there. Yeah, we'll go there, you go ahead and pull the book.
And actually, and this is unprompted. I didn't know we were gonna do this, but this is great. I. So there, there are two, two things. So there's the there's the Toyota Production System, you know, which has the pillars of you know, just in time and built in quality. And then this is about the, the Toyota way, which was in 2001, but respect for you. So we're talking a certain respect for people and then continuous improvement. And this was actually pointed out to me by Michel Bardeen, he was Hughes, another lean, lean author. And he lived in Japan for many years. And he's fluent in Japanese. And he, he had the the question that he saw that the kanji characters in the toilet away 2001 upon Mr. Yoshi nose, slide said wisdom, and Kaizen. So che tau, Kaizen actually didn't need to look that up did I was thinking about the respect for people, I didn't know the word for humanity. But I know that che che tau has a Kaizen. So tau, told me to start answering and tomans. And, and so, but we've just translated or they just translated, the word Kaizen is continuous improvement. And we may we left, we left off the whole day, this is the Toyota's translation into English from the, of the wisdom aspect. And, and to me, that really does, uh, we lost some nuance in there. Because wisdom has a sense of gravitas of generational learning of reflection of a continuous improvement. To me, it's just like, okay, we're gonna keep going, yes, we want to keep continuously improving. But wisdom is like the collective knowledge of how we continuously improve and what we're going to do an action in the future. And then, yeah, so it was left off. And so, but it's understood at Toyota, that's just how it is, you know, that it Cheeto to Kaizen is the same. It's it's all together, but we just call it Kaizen. And, yeah, and so it goes back to again, the only secret to Toyotas attitude towards learning, and it's about creating wisdom, not just in ourselves, but in others and for our organization across generations. And so that's that's their that's their secret. And they certainly do it better Toyota does it better than almost any company I'm aware of there certainly others who are effective at it as well. But how do we create wisdom,
the respect for people part, which in your book you love, me just perfectly talk about? It's not just the person individual. It's better said the humanity part. And that's, that's where I wanted you to give me the Japanese on that side of the color in the total way. If you'd be so kind now that I've clarified.
Yeah, well, right. So and then I'm gonna I don't remember the word for, for respect for humanity. But here we are. So respect for people, it's, oh, great. We don't even have it. Oh, so I was like, do I have it just in kanji here because I will not be able to read that. But the respect the first word is song K, which means valued in worship. So it means one has a high regard for somebody. But the other and then when song K is expressed, it means that the person puts himself at a lower position than the other person. So I respect you because you are have seniority. You're my grandma, you're my teacher, you're my boss. But the other word is song show, which is more commonly means it talks about human humanity or respect for people not just respect for person because of the status it's almost ones like respect for status. And the other The sonko is respect for I love this comp phrasing here means holding precious what it is to be human. So I mean, how to hurt escape hold precious for what it means to be human. That is so different than just I respect you. Because you have a you have status, and that's a huge, huge difference of the nuance there. So So with that, that's what I wanted. Yeah. Fabulous. I'm thrilled, I'm just, and I was talking to Mr. Yoshino last night. And just we're, we're looking back, you were reflecting together on just what the unexpected elements that happened in 2020 for all of us, but also really, the great joy and wonderful things that came out of it, especially with the book and our collaboration and how that's also freaking opportunity for us both. But what gives us both most joy is connecting with other people helping each other learn and helping others learn and develop as well. So thank you for being part of that too, Felipe. And I'm, I'm excited to keep learning and talking together.
Likewise, Katie, I know I'm gonna have to have you back again. Because I still feel like there's more. There's more strings to pull without giving the book away. Oh, well, then we can talk about.
Alright, I have to tell one more story because I, we've talked so much. You're you're talking about how you really enjoyed the book and how it was written in the stories and you're felt like we were on a cliffhanger sometimes. Mr. Yoshino, we're in the final editing stage. And he's read every word of the book multiple times. And he was saying he was getting caught up in the book in the story. And he's like, laughing at himself, because he's like, I couldn't put the book down. I was so caught up in the story. But he was laughing cuz he's like, it's my story. I know how it ends. Like, I was enjoying reading it. Like he was having this like, meta, like, I'm, I'm, he's like, reading it as if it were, you know, fiction or someone else's story. But it was his story. Anyway, he was he was laughing about that. And I said, well, that that bodes well that if you're, like, forgetting that it's your own story, and just enjoying the the reading it as a story or experiencing as this story. That means that we did something right. So definitely. There you go. Yeah. But uh, so there you go. Well, it's been a pleasure. And I look forward to seeing you later this week. And I am excited for hearing what your audience what resonates from our conversation with your audience and what questions they have I always welcome questions and feedback and people reaching out kbj Anderson calm and I know you're going to put all of that information in the notes. And so please reach out and please share with us what, what stood out to you or resonated to you? After listening to this?
So perfect. That was my improvement. From the first interview to this one, Katie, hey, is to ask everybody, if you're listening, give us some comments so that we can react to it. What did you like about this and what stood out to you? Definitely. We encourage that. Great. Thank you so much, Katie, for your time. I'll talk to you again very soon. All right. Wonderful. Thank you. Very special thanks to my guest. I'm Felipe Engineer Maneiquez. The EBFC show is created by Felipe and produced by passion to build easier and better. Thanks for listening. Stay safe, everybody. Let's go build!