Courage, Humility and Kaizen: The Keys to Lean Development

Presented By:

Darril Wilburn

Session Abstract:

One of the most meaningful projects that I had the opportunity to be involved with at Toyota Motor Manufacturing was the internal Toyota Way global program. This program was Toyota’s effort to define and teach the core principles of Lean Culture.

That experience, combined with working outside of Toyota, for the past 10 years, implementing these principles, led me to refine these elements into traits that can be understood, coached and incorporated into the culture of organizations that are focused on Lean.

This session will describe the elements of Courage, Humility, and Kaizen with pictures and examples of what it looks like when practiced in a variety of organizations. When we understand these basic element we can see how Continuous Improvement and Respect for People come alive.


Learning Objectives:

In this session you will learn…

  • how Toyota went deeper than the production system pillars of Jidoka and Just In Time to describe the Way.
  • the importance of aligning with Lean Principles.
  • the deeper meaning of Courage, Humility and Kaizen in the context of Lean Culture.
  • that Respect for people means more than being polite.

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
    • Washington State Government
  • Abu Dhabi Talent Conference
  • ISM University of Management and Economics, Vilnius, Lithuania

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