Graceful Practice: Lessons from a Toyota Visit in Japan

Presented By:

Darril Wilburn

Session Abstract:

During a recent trip to Japan I stumbled upon a description of, what might be called, the sustainability element of Lean.  During a visit to a Toyota logistics facility the guide was explaining how they train and develop their people to ensure a high level of skill and flexibility.  This all seemed like familiar ground until I heard the translator say, “Graceful Practice”.  What followed was a deep discussion about how we must have the courage to do the hard work to become graceful in order to improve.

In this presentation learn how key lean elements come together to illustrate “Graceful Practice”

Learning Objectives:

In this session you will learn…

  • the difference between Training and Education when applied to Kaizen and Job Instruction
  • how the upward spiral of individual and organizational development is dependent upon our ability to courageously unlearn the patterns that produced past success
  • how the upward spiral of individual and organizational development is dependent upon our ability to courageously learn new patterns and continuously improve

About the Facilitator:

Darril Wilburn was a leader in the development and implementation of some of Toyota Motor Manufacturing’s highest profile leadership development programs.  Darril led the Toyota Way 2001 (Toyota core values and principles) implementation at Toyota’s largest manufacturing plant in North America.  Darril worked with The Toyota Institute in Japan in development of the Toyota Business Practice (TBP) leading the global pilot of this program as well as the North American Senior Executive sessions.  While at Toyota, Darril studied the Toyota Production System as a student of OMDD, Toyota’s internal Sensei group. Darril was also part of the team that launched Toyota Motor Manufacturing Texas where he led the assimilation and training of new to Toyota management.

As a Partner at, Darril has had the opportunity to work with both public and private sector organizations including Costco, MM Mars, Nike, Johnson Controls, The Port of Seattle, Washington State Department of Labor and Industry.

Darril is also an active speaker delivering presentations and keynote speeches on Lean Principles around the globe including:

  • Harvard Business Review-Latin America “Lean in Action” lecture series in Chili, Equator, Mexico
  • Featured speaker at Lean Conferences in:
    • The Netherlands
    • Portugal
    • Brazil
  • Keynote AME Australia 2016
  • Keynote Lean Summit, Vilnius, Lithuania 2016

Darril is also co-author and editor of the book, Toyota by Toyota.