A Chain of Learning with Katie Anderson

A Chain of Learning with Katie Anderson

by Patrick Adams | Jul 26, 2022

Katie Anderson is back for another episode where we talk about her chain of learning and the importance of leaders doing the little things. Katie is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, author and professional speaker. Katie is best known for her focus on helping individuals and organizations lead with intention. Katie is also the author of “Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn” and wrote the forward for my book.

What You’ll Learn This Episode:

  • The importance of going out of your way to help others. Going beyond your job description.
  • Chain of Learning
  • Katie’s 2-year anniversary celebration of her book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn
  • Katie’s learnings and discoveries since writing her book.
  • New things coming in 2023 for Katie.

About the Guest: 

Katie Anderson is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, author and professional speaker.  She has over 20 years of experience in supporting change and improvement in organizations across a range of industries, though her primary focus has been on leading transformational change in healthcare organizations.

Katie launched KBJ Anderson Consulting in 2013, to help individuals and organizations gain clarity on their goals, deepen their problem solving skills, and develop more effective leadership habits.

Important Links:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/kbjanderson/

https://kbjanderson.com/

Full Episode Transcripts: 

 

Patrick Adams 

Welcome to the Lean solutions podcast where we discuss business solutions to help listeners develop and implement action plans for true Lean process improvement. I am your host, Patrick Adams. Hello, and welcome to the Lean solutions podcast. Today’s guest is Katie Anderson and this is Katie’s third time on the show she was on back in episode 39, where we talked about leading with intention in case you want to go back and listen to that episode. Along with being a good friend of mine. Katie is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, author and professional speaker. Katie wrote the foreword for my book shortly after publishing her own book titled learning to lead leading to learn. And here we are two years later celebrating the the books two year anniversary. So welcome to the show, Katie.

 

Katie Anderson 

Thanks, Patrick. I’m so happy to be my not only my books two your anniversary, but it’s you’re in my three-year anniversary of first talking when you signed up for my Japan study trip that was supposed to happen in May of 2020. And so the third third podcast episode three year anniversary of our friendship, so it’s very fitting

 

Patrick Adams 

celebrate, time to celebrate. It’s crazy that it’s been that long at that we have connected virtually, and obviously the world. At that time, everything went virtual. So we continue to stay in contact virtually. And here we are, you know, again, like you said three years later, obviously still connected. You wrote the foreword for my book, we’ve been connected on tons of things with, you know, conversations and podcast, interviews and conferences, virtual conferences and different things. So it’s been great to stay connected with you over the years. And now celebrate, you know, your two year publishing of your book, you want an amazing milestone that that you’ve hit.

 

Katie Anderson 

Thank you. It’s hard to believe it’s been two years since learning to lead leading to learn was released out into the world. And in the middle of like, the early days of a pandemic, to where I had, the book was pretty cool stages of it. And I’m so glad that I did because all these stories of positivity and learning and managing through not just success, but failure and challenges and hard times, I think really spoke to people during this, you know, hard time, the last two years as well, you know, and, and great things that have come out of it too. But, you know, we had some hard times when that came through. Absolutely. It’s been wonderful and to be able to have something from Mr. Yoshino to to anchor for him, he you know, international traveler, former Toyota executive, and to be isolated it connect with so many people globally because of the book has also been a delight for him. So that’s an added bonus.

 

Patrick Adams 

Yes. And my hope is that everyone that’s listening to the podcast today, knows you and knows the book, because you’ve done such a great job getting it out there and into the hands of the people that need it most. But potentially, there’s that one person out there who hasn’t met you before. hasn’t heard about your book. Can you mentioned Mr. Yoshino. So can you just give our listeners just a quick overview of your book, you know, maybe a little bit of the background on it, and what’s happened over the last couple of years with the book,

 

Katie Anderson 

youknow, absolutely, always good to have the back context. So, you know, you all know now that I’m Katie Anderson, and I’m based in the San Francisco Bay area, I have been a lean practitioner and coach and consultant for many, many years. And I’ve had my own practice consulting practice for almost 10 years. And, you know, I came up through healthcare, which was an amazing way to learn about how to apply these principles in a non you know, in a non manufacturing environment. And recent one that was 2014 We had the opportunity for my husband’s job to move to Japan, which as a, you know, lean practitioner and an enthusiast of learning and people centered cultures. I was so excited for this opportunity, and I met Mr. Yoshino at a conference actually this month is the cops have to do my math right eight year anniversary of me meeting Mr. Yoshino at a conference where he was on stage talking with John Shook. And a little backstory, Mr. Yoshino worked at Toyota in for 40 years from the late 60s to the early 2000s. And played some really important behind the scenes roles of Toyota developing the culture that we know it for now. And you know, that in translating it to the US and foreign markets as well through NUMMI, which was the joint venture between Toyota and GM in the 1980s. And he was the boss of John Shep, who was the first non-Japanese manager actually employee of Toyota Motor Corporation. And so, John many of you may know Edie was the former chairman, or as the chairman of the of globally networked former chairman of the Lean Enterprise Institute and helped really translate these principles and practices. The Toyota way, globally, he’s written some great books, and missed he learned everything or a lot of his management from Mr. Yoshino. So I had this incredible opportunity to go visit Mr. Yoshino when we moved to Tokyo, to Tokyo, and to the beginning of 2015, when he was, you know, we met in Nagoya, and that was the beginning of this incredible friendship, and professional partnership, where I would just jump on the Shinkansen the bullet train and go down and spend the day with him. And we would just have great conversations, and I was learning so much that I wanted to share it with the world, my website, KB, J. Anderson, backslash blog, you can go back and read some of these old beginning of, you know, articles from Mr. Yoshino in my, you know, going out into the gumbo of many other Japanese companies, which was just an incredible immersive opportunity. And then when I moved back to the US, we just had, we just kept working together, we actually did some workshops together in the US and in Europe. And I started doing my Japan study trips, and we had this idea like this, there’s so much here, there’s so much rich history that hasn’t been told, like these real human stories. I mean, I think your book also speaks to that’s like your real experiences. And there have been so many books about Toyota, and so many books about the principles and practices of lean in the Toyota way. And I wanted to add to that, to really share one human’s experience of first learning to be a leader within Toyota, and then leading to create this sort of culture of learning across, you know, you know, for himself for his team members in his for his organization. And so we had several years of purposeful interviews. And you know, there’s a whole process of writing, which we don’t need to, we can go into as well. But I think what about so if you’re missing three, not just the hits, but also the reading? And it’s all about like, it’s all about making mistakes, or not being successful right away? But how do you keep getting up and moving forward? And learning from that, and that is really the secret is the opening, quote, I have the book, that the only secret to Toyota, is its attitude towards learning. And so this book is all about how do we create an attitude towards learning through reflection, and through celebration of success and failure, and, and then so much more as well. But

 

Patrick Adams 

yeah, I love that explanation. And I think it makes me think about the companies that are out there that, you know, have been on their Lean journey for so long, including Toyota in there. And sometimes I think companies look at them and go, and like, they’re just so good at what they do. They just, they, they just must have just arrived, they’re like, they know, it’s been years and years of learning. And, you know, these these rapid PDCA cycles, these, you know, consistent learning over time that that has helped them to arrive and arrive isn’t even the right word, that they’ve just become where they are today. And they’re continuing on that journey, you know, going forward, because it is a continuous learning journey. And I love that your book lays that out, you know, like you said, with so many great stories that are so personal to Mr. Yoshino. And you did such a great job at laying those out and explaining those in a way that we can all really connect with and and hopefully apply those learnings into our own organizations. So, so just kind of backing up a little bit. I mentioned earlier that there was a two year anniversary, right of the publishing of your book. So what have you been doing to celebrate to lead leading so we

 

Katie Anderson 

are recording this session? We’ve done early, so seek and I’ve had some private celebrations and discussions as well. Last week or last week of this recording. I had a LinkedIn and YouTube Live where we had some people come on and talk about, you know, the impact of the book, we shared some video clips of the book launch party from 2020. John Shook talking. I had also done recently, in the last month or so, Mr. Yoshino and I spent some time reflecting on the last two years together. So I’ve been sharing video clips of our discussion. And so those are available on my YouTube channel two, and it’s just been really nice to be able to take a step back and hear well both think about the process of creating the book, but really hearing from people about the impact that the book has had on them. That is just the most rewarding that they’re bringing it not only helped them on a personal level, many people say they go back and keep rereading it. But now you know, going into organizations and helping them connect these principles and use the book as like sort of a discussion point and then talking about how can they apply these in their own organizations and so I see as I was like, a Firestarter for people to bridge as you said, we’re trying to feel so far ahead, but to bridge that gap Yeah. And just in to see that it’s possible and it is a learning journey. Arnie, and it’s about being connected to core principles and values, and purpose. And then, you know, having leading with both curiosity and caring and the courage to, you know, move forward and help others do the same. Yeah.

 

Patrick Adams 

And obviously now with the addition of your workbook, I mean, this gives you know, anyone it whether you’re an individual at a company, that’s, you know, the team that’s learn from it, like they’ll walk through your book, and have some really, really great discussions around the learnings, as you move through the book. And I love that about your book, I love the fact that it’s not just, I mean, you could definitely take it on an airplane and read through it or on vacation with you, or whatever it might be. But now you can actually, you know, pull a team together and actually walk through it and answer the questions. And, again, some people learn in different ways. So to be able to put pen to paper for me personally, I think that’s just a great way for me to really digest the learnings and be able to, to think about how can I actually apply these in my personal life or in my work life?

 

Katie Anderson 

Thank you. And that was part of my that was a huge part of my intention of writing the book, I have the practicing Han say haunting meeting self reflection questions in the book, and then the workbook, take the takes those even you know, another step forward, and also brings in other concepts that I have found really important about how we can think about how we apply these in our own lives, so about intention and purpose in your own practices. So it’s been a nice compliment. And then out of the workbook, too, I’ve led many, many cohorts of my leading to learn accelerator, which takes the book, the workbook, and my, you know, my, my teachings and my coaching practices, melds it into a learning program, which people can either take, as, you know, self paced study, or I occasionally offer, you know, group cohorts as well. And I’ve been bringing it into some organizations. So it’s been a really nice way to continue to evolve from the book and help people either as individuals, teams or broader organization, learn and we’re all connected now in this what I call a chain of learning, and you are a tight link in my chain of learning to Patrick. So I appreciate

 

Patrick Adams 

that. Hello, everybody, I hate to interrupt this episode of the lean solutions podcast. But I wanted to take a moment to introduce you to my book, avoiding the continuous appearance trap. And instead of you hearing from me, I’d like for you to hear from Paul Akers, author of two second lean, and his thoughts around the book.

 

Paul Akers 

Lean is for 2% of the people in the world. There are an awful lot of posers out there. People that do Lean because they’re mandated to do it, they think it will work. But there are very few people that embrace lean with their full heart, head, and emotion to create a true Lean culture, one that is not full of posers and posturing, but full of authentically, when they have total participation from everyone in the organization, Patrick’s book uncovers the essence of what those organizations look like, and what the posers look like, caution, are you in the fake zone, or the real zone,

 

Patrick Adams 

if you’d like to get your copy of avoiding the continuous appearance trap, you can go to Amazon or you can go to avoid continuous appearance.com. Grab your copy there. Now, back to the show, Katie use when you talk about learning, and you know, again, a few episodes back when we when you and I discussed the the process of writing the book, there was some learnings that came out of that. But now we’re two years later and you’re, you know, having these conversations with not just us based companies, but now you’re looking at getting this book out to other countries and other languages and, and even traveling the world and really helping to connect other people outside of the US with with the learnings that you have. What about you personally, what have you learned or discovered more deeply since since writing the book

 

Katie Anderson 

things that had writing the book and one is I just I just mentioned this called the chain of when he was first his manager, colleagues and he’s, and I really love this concept about how we can be connected and it’s not just you learn one way from like, the teacher to the student, is that the teacher is learning from the student to or the coach to the coachee or, you know, so we’re all learning how to be better people or better at our craft through the delivery of it and so that’s it’s the bond between us and I really found that so like how I just I love that concept. And I wouldn’t say that’s like new because I kind of know that but I just I love that metaphor for how we are linked together in learning and caring for each other.

 

Patrick Adams 

So true to I can just not not to interrupt but just from experience in teaching. I learned so much when I teach it’s crazy to me. i We that should be the next book that one of us gets out there is specifically about that whole concept that you’re talking about that metaphor of learning on both sides. I just think that you’re so you’re spot on with that there’s so much there.

 

Katie Anderson 

Yes. And it’s about not seeing like we can have expertise, but not be the expert. So, you know, that may be a harder concept for some people to grasp. But how can how can we have knowledge and expertise but not be the one just like telling everyone what to do, but guiding them giving information that’s going to be helpful. And I just see there’s a difference in that as far as when we’re looking at, like, helping other people and working in a team or leading organization as well. Absolutely. It’s okay to be an expert and have expertise. But you also have to balance that with how do you help develop? Absolutely a process of, you know, the behind the scenes process of not just writing a book, but marketing a book, creating workbooks, programs, audio books, and we talked about this in past episodes. And so, for me, that has also been a big part of the learning. And also, as I’ve grown my team, how do I apply the lessons about leadership? In my book about how I’m managing my own team? You know, I’ve it’s been almost 10 years since I left my last, you know, organizational management leadership role. And I’ve been a solopreneur for a long time. And now I have this team. So I like that all the principles still apply. How do you set direction? Where do we need to go? What do we need to accomplish? What are the priorities? Provide support? What support do your team members need to get there? What are their skills? What, you know? How are they growing and developing? And how can you give them space? And then how do you not blame? And how do you take responsibility for your part, if things aren’t going the way you thought they are going to talk about this in the development of the audio book, and then three, developing yourself and again, we all have these opportunities to improve and grow ourselves. And when we, when we stop having that growth mindset? I think that’s really where you are. All Things fall down.

 

Patrick Adams 

Yes, for sure. And I love that you’re that you’re growing your team. I just, I think that the value that you’re providing to the world is just amazing. So so thank you for that. And, and speaking of people and others, and helping you develop others on your team, I don’t think that we’ve ever really, we’ve always talked kind of high level around your book, but I want to dive into maybe one of the lessons out of your book if you’re okay with that and, and get a little bit deeper. Speaking of others, as you kind of mentioned, so, under the chapter on foundational leadership lessons, specifically lesson three, titled, go out of your way to help others learn. Mr. Yoshino learned that a leader is more than a role or a job title. And then he says, In your book, you quoted him saying, make a small effort to give a little bit extra every day. So can you expand on just that lesson a little bit, and maybe talk a little bit more in depth about what you and Mr. Yoshino has have had discussions around and what you have in your book?

 

Katie Anderson 

Absolutely. And so, it’s funny, you pulled out this, this section, because actually, it’s the same chapter that he talks about the chain of learning concept, just a few days later. Yep. So I felt blessed to have joined a company which had a tradition to promote the concept of the chain of learning across departments. So I think that what the nice link there is that going out of your way to help others is part of this concept of a chain of learning. It’s Mr. Yoshino. So he, I talked about this briefly in this, this, this chapter that his favorite phrase in English is an extra effort makes a difference. And when students, you know, he was teaching at a university for a decade as well with ask him what was his motto? You know, this was really it. And this, this speaks to everything about how he’s led his life and the things that he learned from his early leaders. It doesn’t have to be these huge things that someone does, it can be the small things like asking a question, showing that you care about someone going out of your way to inquire how they are. Or, you know, he talks about how one of his early bosses knew that these younger, new hires didn’t have hadn’t had the opportunity to travel outside of Japan. And he was having these international business trips, and he would come back and share things with them. You know, like, he didn’t have to do that. And later when I was working on on the book, too, I was talking with John shuck, who wrote the foreword to my book about his experience working with Mr. Yoshino and he talked about how in there’s a later chapter two where Mr. Yoshi really embodies this, it’s, it’s about the change yourself program. It’s a longer case study about. But this was the sort of the mentality at Toyota where you don’t just take your job description. And that’s all that you do. But it’s about going beyond and doing the small little things that are outside what sort of officially written in your tasks and duties, but going out of your way to show that you care going out of your way to do something small to help someone learn. You know, this is linked to the concept two in the series, Mr. Yoshino and I talked about how you don’t just go to gamba or gamba being the place something happy, um, but things that you can, you’re curious, he did not, you know, six months later, when you move to Japan, I’ll take you to Toyota City. And, you know, this is how he is he makes a small effort, he’s like, this is gonna go a long way. He also likes to talk to American help to host them. But he didn’t have to do that, right. But that’s how relationships are made. That’s how we create genuine human connection. And so one of the things we can get so busy and so focused on the outcomes, or the product, or the service that we have to do, like the goals that need to be achieved, that we can forget about doing a little bit extra, to show that we care. That little bit, I think small, and the accumulation of the small acts of kindness or caring so far,

 

Patrick Adams 

oh, yeah, they add up for sure. And I think about why you were talking, I was thinking about, you know, Leader Standard Work and how it can be, it could become, you know, a, if you’re just going through the motions and checking off your stuff, and you’re out on the production floor in the office, and you know, okay, I’m on my, my weekly gimble walk, I gotta go do this thing. But what you what you have to realize is that the people that are out there are human there, there’s a relationship there that you know, that you can take a minute to slow down, say, Hello, have a conversation about how someone’s day is going how their family is, you know, what’s going on at school with the kids or whatever it might be. And that can go so far with someone and that it means just as much to have that conversation as it does to say, you know, or to to, you know, have an audit of their, whether they’re hitting their production numbers or not, right?

 

Katie Anderson 

Yes, it needs to be both. And I’m slipping through this chapter tune as reminded about, you know, the very short ones in a small effort or doing something small. It’s also about giving construction, constructive, and actionable feedback. And how many of his other managers who are more sort of traditional Japanese sort of old school managers didn’t give very actionable or a regular feedback. And one of his early bosses did, and that was kind and caring, and it actually felt like it was that small effort to help him grow and develop. And so kindness to or caring as a leader is not just is not avoiding the challenge, like the challenges it’s about also, in a kind of people link to this guy. And it shouldn’t be respected. At the end of the book, I talked about this. But respect for people, as it’s written in Japanese is really respect for humanity. And so how do we, and when we bring it back to humanity, we can, you know, it’s easy to take that little effort to go a little do something extra, every day. That’s right, because we’re connected to our hearts.

 

Patrick Adams 

Yes, absolutely. Thank you for sharing that I love the deep dive there. And obviously, if anybody wants to, to learn more, they can check out your book themselves. I know you have the audio book out as well. And obviously, the hardcopy with the workbook, but let’s talk about 2023. So we’re, it’s hard to say, you know, already going thinking about next year, when we’re only halfway through 2022. But at this point, you know, we have to start thinking about what’s coming, especially because, you know, a lot, a lot lot is happening in the world as I was changing. And so I’m excited to hear a little bit about what you’re looking forward to maybe this fall and even into 2023 What do you have going on?

 

Katie Anderson 

Yeah, so I’m this fall. So before 2010 During the Pantages keynote, translated in Colombia to the books coming out in Portuguese later this year. So I’m going to conference in Portugal as well. And I’m so I’m so excited to meet colleagues around the world. And what didn’t you the most thrills actually earlier this year, the book was translated into Japanese. And Mr. Yoshino is like the books available in his bookstore and he goes and sends me pictures of him holding up the book and it’s, it’s really special. So that is amazing. And then so speaking of Japan, it has been two and a half years since I stepped foot in Japan. I was there at the end of January, beginning of February 2022. Like literally, the ship was in the Yokohama Bay. You know, the cruise ship and I got out of there safely. Yeah, but, you know, I plan to lead the study trips to Japan. And you were coming with me in May of 2022. I had one in the fall of 20, sorry, 2020, all the way to 2020 as well. And I kept putting more data. You know, we know,

 

Patrick Adams 

this is the only reason why I’ve stayed connected with you, Katie, I’m still waiting for my Japan trip.

 

Katie Anderson 

Put on an amazing trip to Japan, not only for like a business learning perspective, but the culture and the fun and the community of people who come, I can’t wait. I actually have. I have a drama with all the people who came with me in May 2020, no 2019 meeting to fill in the eye, because my goal that I set at that time was to lead a great next trip. And so it’s eyes waiting. So I have dates for May 2023, may 8 to 13. And it’ll be just after the Golden Week, which is the big week long celebration, a Holiday in Japan, you know, I you can go visit and learn more about the trip kvJ Anderston slash Japan trip, I am waiting patiently for the Japanese government to officially open their borders more broadly to tourism, which will allow us to run the trip. But right now I’m making plans. You know, assuming that the government opens the borders, we’re going to be going and if not, we’ll be going on the next one. But if you’re interested in learning more, I know, Patrick, you are because we’re planning on having you.

 

Patrick Adams 

Hopefully, I’m at the top of the waiting list here. Katie, you are you’re

 

Katie Anderson 

you are at the pot. Yes. Are you there’s a spot reserved for

 

Patrick Adams 

Yes, good. I’m glad to hear the waist or down the link and the suppliers.

 

Katie Anderson 

And I’m planning on going to a sock a brewery. And then this company, which is also amazing. It’s where Toyota executives go to learn about like the bigger philosophy about management and leadership. And the Japanese Alps, we go stay at a Rio con, which is a Japanese, you know, the traditional Japanese hotel and just have it we go across different industries and go to a elementary school to learn about these really essential concepts of regret for waste and, you know, care for your community. So it’s an amazing learning and culture and a lot of fun too. So I can’t wait to get back because I’m really missing some amazing Japanese food. And I’m missing seeing Mr. Yoshino

 

Patrick Adams 

Oh, yes, I bet. In person.

 

 

 

 

Patrick Adams 

Yes, for sure. Well, I’m excited to come along with you and be part of that experience and being able to see Mr. Machine or myself and meet him in person. So I’m looking forward to that next year. And hopefully, things open back up. And we’re able to get out there in the spring. But if not, maybe the fall maybe it’ll be we’ll have those

 

Katie Anderson 

Japanese dream as the saying fall down seven times get up eight. So I think I’ve rescheduled these trips, like six times now. So I’m hoping that you don’t have to fall down any more times. Right.

 

Patrick Adams 

I’m excited about it. Looking forward to it. Katie, as always, it’s always fun to have you on the show and just catch up with you and see, you know, what’s been happening in your world on the complete other side of the United States. But I always feel like we’re closely connected in our conversations and just the work that you’re doing and even and how people in tune and

 

Katie Anderson 

I feel, I feel our our bond is strong in our chain of learning. And I love your podcast and being able to connect with so many people here as part of our chain of learning as well. So thank you so much. It’s been a pleasure.

 

Patrick Adams 

All right. Thanks so much for tuning in to this episode of the lien solutions podcast. If you haven’t done so already, please be sure to subscribe. This way you’ll get updates as new episodes become available. If you feel so inclined. Please give us a review. Thank you so much.

Meet Patrick

Patrick is an internationally recognized leadership coach, consultant, and professional speaker, best known for his unique human approach to sound team-building practices; creating consensus and enabling empowerment. He founded his consulting practice in 2018 to work with leaders at all levels and organizations of all sizes to achieve higher levels of performance. He motivates, inspires, and drives the right results at all points in business processes.

Patrick has been delivering bottom-line results through specialized process improvement solutions for over 20 years. He’s worked with all types of businesses from private, non-profit, government, and manufacturing ranging from small business to billion-dollar corporations.

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