How to empower others

Keynote: Kata Talk: The Chutes and Ladders of Continuous Improvement

Building KQ – your ability to improve through deliberate practice

Meryl Runion and Mike Rother join forces for a dynamic keynote or breakout you will remember and talk about.

Mike Rother Toyota Kata

You’ve known about IQ – Intelligence Quotients – from grade school. You learned about EQ – Emotional Intelligence – in the 90s.

But how about KQ – Kata Quotients?

Do you even know you have one, let alone how high it is? Welcome to the next level of continuous improvement.

Presented by communication author and researcher Meryl Runion and Toyota Kata researcher and author Mike Rother, this session was the hit of the Lean conference NEShingoPrize.

Why? Because in its lighthearted and entertaining way, it walks you through

  • the kinds of conversations and phrases that can inspire brilliant insights
  • the kinds that can suppress them

And you thought emotional intelligence in business was cutting edge!

Yes, emotional intelligence in effective communication makes significant difference. But that’s not the real secret of Toyota and employee empowerment.

Your KQ – Kata Quotient – takes your improvement efforts to the next level

This keynote or breakout session combines Mike Rother’s Toyota Kata and Meryl Runion’s SpeakStrong Method to give deep understanding of the unseen mechanism behind Toyota’s improvement successes – of Toyota and employee empowerment. Learn how to empower others: what to say and what not to say to develop your own and other’s ability to learn through practice.

Plus, you’ll get insight into your personal KQ when you navigate the Chutes and Ladders of Continuous Improvement. This session both tests and enhances your ability to navigate the chutes and ladders of continuous improvement. 

You’ll learn how to stay in the “kata corridor” to reach new levels of excellence. 

You’ll have choices at every step of this journey

Will your response lead you to climb the Ladder of Learning toward your next target condition? Or will you slide down the Chute of Conjecture toward terminal mediocrity? Will the pull be with you, moving you up the path? Or will force foil you and send you sliding? How does high KQ turn even the worst slide into a learning opportunity to guide the next step?

Get the on-the-ground guidance you want and need to practice continuous improvement Toyota Kata and SpeakStrong style.

Key takeaways from this session include:

  • What the adaptive thinking underlying Toyota Kata is
  • How to know if you’re inside or outside the kata corridor
  • How to develop inquiry skills
  • What phrases move the Toyota Kata discovery process forward and what phrases inhibit it


By the way, Dwight Bowen of GBMP said it was probably the best session he had ever attended.

Could your next event use an infusion of deep learning that’s fun? Contact Meryl about KataTalk. 

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Keynote: The Collaborative Improvement Advantage

Creating a dynamic continuous improvement communication culture

The trends in business communication are clear – rank and hierarchy have had their day, and silos are breaking down (or desperately need advantages of collaborationto break down) into new dynamics of synergistic communication with leadership at every level. Cutting edge learning organizations are outpacing their more structured competitors exponentially. It’s good business to develop a learning organization.

Simple cooperation doesn’t give the kind of collaborative advantage required in our companies and careers. There is a productivity difference between cooperation and collaboration. Robust information sharing and total authenticity set a foundation for new levels of collaboration and innovation.

  • Just what are the characteristics of a learning organization?
  • How can companies gracefully move into the new age of mass collaboration?
  • What can leaders do to develop a dynamic continuous improvement culture in their organizations – cultures where everyone contributes to progress every day?
  • What is the role of a leader in a collaborative communication culture?
  • How does a leader leave room for different viewpoints and still sound decisive?
  • How does anyone draw out the strengths of those they interact with?


This lively keynote will

  • identify what benefits learning organization 
  • understand the advantages of collaboration
  • identify three things that leaders, coaches, mentors and managers do – intending to empower others, but actually inhibiting creative engagement
  • provide six steps to develop collaborative synergy
  • show you how to empower others to reach their fullest potential


We’ve only begun to experience how dynamic a collaborative communication culture can be. The resources we need are right in our own offices.

Key takeaways from this session include:

  • The four stages of the empowerment ladder
  • Four things a leader can do to encourage productive information sharing
  • How to elicit input without sounding weak or indecisive
  • Three ways to encourage the deepest level of employee engagement


Isn’t it time to embrace The Collaborative Improvement Advantage? Contact Meryl about this exciting keynote. 

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