Principle 14 in Lean Management : Become a learning organisation

Through relentless reflection (Hansei) and continuous improvement (Kaizen).

The ability to learn = ability to survive = highest compliment

We need to know how to learn new skills, knowledge, and capabilities. It helps to adapt to a continually changing competitive environment. To be a learning organisation, it is necessary to have stability of personal and slow promotion.

To “learn” means having the capability to build on your past, and move forward incrementally, not reinventing the wheel with new personnel with each new project.

Get to the root causes by asking “why” five times

If you want to improve something, you first need to standardise it.

At Toyota, problem solving is 20% tools and 80% thinking. With six sigma, it’s 80% tools and 20% thinking.


Hansei is an attitude. When you do something wrong, you must feel really sad, find a solution and believe sincerely that you will not make the same mistake again. In Japan culture, you don’t point the good things, you focus on the negative. It’s being honest with your own weaknesses. At Toyota, we spend little time talking about successes. We spend more time talking about our weaknesses. The objective is not to hurt the individual. It’s to help Thant individual improve. That’s the heart of Kaizen.

The metrics

As less and simply as possible. Have a process orientation, not a result orientation. Measure the number of and on pulls made to stop the production line, the accidents, employee morale, defects.

« Solving problems is not a question of complex statistical analysis, it’s a matter of discipline, attitude, and culture. »

The content of this post is inspired by the book “The Toyota Way” – Jeffrey K. Liker

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