February 13, 2023

by Britney Rivers

In April 2023, learners will gather in Ann Arbor for Kata Mindset, a new process improvement certificate course. The 3-day course is taught by Lean practitioners Toni Benner and Elizabeth Aikman. In addition to interactive classroom learning, attendees will spend a day at Zingerman’s Mail Order, a nationally renowned business that depends on Kata in its warehouse. The Kata Mindset course focuses on integrating scientific thinking and key skill sets to help organizations learn, grow, and reach their full potential.


Kata gives us the structure and routine to discover new pathways and propel improvement efforts forward. It provides us with a repeatable pattern to learn to trust our scientific thinking and our capacity for learning and creativity. The practice empowers people to achieve personal and organizational goals.

Toni Benner shares, “In many ways, Kata is an invitation to hold space for our own learning, for the learning of others, and for creating a more effective way to lead.”

Elizabeth Aikman adds, “It helps us take away valuable lessons from our professional and personal lives and become stronger leaders and team players.”

Essentially, Kata is a practice that focuses on building a foundation of skills that can help create sustainable habits and an environment where creativity and growth can thrive.


Kata, by nature, is a beginner’s mindset. The practice is learner-centric and guides us in moments of transition, transformation, and growth. This course is a great option for professionals, at any point in their life or career, from executives to middle management to frontline workers. The Kata mindset can be practiced in all industries, from healthcare and non-profit organizations to manufacturing and government agencies.

Elizabeth says, “The Kata framework can be applied to any team that wants to make an organizational shift. It can serve any industry and it’s flexible to fit various situations.”

Toni adds, “Kata teaches you how to view yourself as an agent for change. A few important questions are ‘What are the possibilities to reframe challenges in your organization? What are the possibilities when teams work together to achieve a goal?”

The Kata Mindset course includes real-world interactive simulations, group discussions, and problem-solving exercises. With a Kata mindset, you, your team, and your organization can develop the skills to navigate through times of uncertainty while achieving success.

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Would you like to request a custom course? Please email Andrea Schuitman at [email protected] or submit the form below.

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