Breaking Down the Harada Method: Shohei Ohtani and Norm Bodek’s Success Story


You might remember my blog post from May about the Shohei Ohtani, a Japanese player for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim (that's not a very “lean” team name, is it?).

In that post, I also pointed you to a podcast that I did with Norman Bodek about “The Harada Method:”

I suggested that Norman contact baseball or sports writers at publications like ESPN or The Wall Street Journal. The Journal wrote about Ohtani and Harada last week:

How Shohei Ohtani Visualized His Baseball Success

The Japanese two-way sensation turned to a personal-growth technique called the Harada Method to help him achieve his goals

The article begins:

“As a sophomore at Hanamaki Higashi High School in the Iwate Prefecture of Japan, Shohei Ohtani set a goal for himself: to become the nation's premier baseball prospect by the time he graduated.

To achieve it, he turned to the Harada Method, a personal-growth technique created by Takashi Harada, a former middle-school teacher in Japan. Following the method's guide, Ohtani identified eight key areas in which he felt he needed to develop, both as an athlete and as a person. From there, he narrowed his focus even further, pinpointing eight specific ways he believed would allow him to make the necessary improvements, all in service of his larger aim.”

Harada was quoted in the article and the Angels confirmed that Ohtani still uses the method:

“I believe this was a big pillar for Ohtani to become what he is now,” Harada said in an interview. “And he's still continuing to use it.”

The article also mentions and quotes Norman:

“Ohtani is our superstar,” said Bodek, who used to teach a class at Portland State University on Japanese management practices. “Everybody can't become the best baseball player in the world, but everybody can become the best that they can become.”

And here is a link to Norman's book The Harada Method, co-authored with Takashi Harada.

I still need to take Norman up on his offer to teach me the Harada Method…

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


  1. Hi Mark:

    Great post about Norman Bodek’s book and how it is being successfully applied. I started at AME roughly 4 years ago and one of the first things I did as a new employee was attend Norman’s “Harada Method” AME workshop in downtown Chicago. I found Norman to be an amazing, humorous, humble workshop leader and thoroughly enjoyed that session, the stories he told and getting my copy of his Harada Method book autographed by him.


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