Lessons from a Decade of Toyota Kata at OC Tanner

Summary and Objectives

Seven years ago when I was hired as the training manager at OC Tanner, a copy of Toyota Kata was placed in my hands. “We’d like you to train this,” they said. “We’ve read it and want you to train us to implement it.” I later learned OC Tanner had been trying to apply lessons from the book for the past four years, with limited impact. Five years ago we had a breakthrough–we scaled back on the theory and reading and started practicing! I’ll share  three valuable lessons from our 10-year Toyota Kata journey.


Tyson Heaton, loves problems. He is attracted to things that confuse him. Mostly his wife, but also to crazy, fun, nearly-unexplainable problems with solutions that impact people’s work and lives. He is currently Director of Operations & Supply Chain People Development at O.C. Tanner, the industry leader in strategic employee recognition and rewards solutions that build thriving workplace cultures. Since joining O.C. Tanner in 2013 as the Manager of Lean/Continuous Improvement & Training, Tyson has made significant contributions to the company’s training systems, leadership development initiatives, on-boarding programs, and supply chain organizational structure. In 2019, he was honored to become an examiner for the Shingo Institute, as well as to partner with the Toyota Production System Support Center (TSSC) on creating a model line at O.C. Tanner.