How to Create a Continuous Improvement Culture by Closing the GAPS — with Katie Anderson [Recording]


Today, I was happy to host a webinar that Katie Anderson presented as part of the KaiNexus continuous improvement webinar series.

Access it here:

How to Create a Continuous Improvement Culture by Closing the GAPS

If you register using the link, you can access the recording immediately.

The contest is now closed, but you can enter to win books by doing something similar with future KaiNexus webinars. You can also enter to win one of three signed copies of Katie's book Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning. How to enter? Post or re-post about the webinar on LinkedIn and use the hashtag #KaiNexus.

The webinar description: What does a culture of continuous improvement really look like? How can leaders create an organization where people have the capability and confidence to solve problems?

Effective problem-solving is about closing the gaps between where we are today and where we need to be. While we often think about the process or operational gaps that we must close, we must also identify (and close) behavior gaps related to solving problems and supporting others in problem-solving.

In this session, you will: 

  • Understand a leader's role in creating a “Leading to Learn” culture of continuous improvement
  • Discover the four essential behaviors – G.A.P.S – that enable leaders and team members alike to cultivate more effective problem-solving capabilities
  • Identify one tangible practice to build your leadership superpower and close your process and behavior gaps

You can watch a short preview discussion about the webinar here and can hear it in the KaiNexus podcast series.



Mark Graban: Hi, everybody. I am Mark Graban from KaiNexus. Today, we're doing a quick preview of our upcoming webinar. It's going to be held April 4th, one o'clock Eastern Time. It's going to be presented by Katie Anderson.

She's joining us today to give us a quick preview of her webinar that's titled, How to Create a Continuous Improvement Culture by Closing the GAPS, and that's in all capitals, G-A-P-S, an acronym. You can tune in to the webinar to find out what that stands for and what's behind it.

To register for the webinar, go to Katie, thank you for doing another webinar. Thanks for doing the preview. How are you?

Katie Anderson: I'm great. I'm really looking forward to talking about closing the GAPS, and about continuous improvement as well.

Mark: I think this is a nice follow up to two years ago, the webinar about your book, “Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn.”

Katie: Nice work, you did that right.

Mark: I did stumble. It's not the book's fault. It's my fault. I know it, but I stumble over it. We all make mistakes, so it goes. Katie, let me ask you, I think a lot of people listening or watching, hopefully, are familiar with you and your work, but if not, tell the audience a little bit about who you are and what you do.

Katie: Great. Thanks Mark. It's always great collaborating. We've known each other for almost 15 years now. We were both working in healthcare and hospital systems.

I am a learning enthusiast who is passionate about creating cultures of continuous learning and continuous improvement. Starting off in healthcare systems and environments where I really got passionate about the concepts of Kaizen and how do we make work better by engaging all the people at all levels.

For the last, almost 10 years now, I've had my own consulting practice where I work with companies of all different sizes around the world to really embed the leadership practices as habits to create those cultures that support continuous improvement and learning in their environments. That's a little bit about me.

Then the relationship to my book, Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn is, I had the incredible opportunity to live in Japan for two years, and befriended Toyota leader, Isao Yoshino, and worked with him as well. We can talk more about that in some of the Q&As in the webinar as well.

Mark: Speaking of Katie's book, and I'll put a link in the show notes. You learn more about Katie and all the things she does, including leading Japan tours at her website, I'm going to throw this out there. It is a goal, I do want to go with you in 2024.

Katie: You will. We'll make it happen. Both of my trips are amazingly sold out for this year. I'm looking at setting some dates for 2024, and so people who're interested in joining Mark to join me in Japan, definitely reach out to learn more.

Mark: Again, speaking of the book, Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn, we started doing some book giveaway contest related to the webinars. There's going to be an opportunity. You can enter to win one of three signed copies…

Katie: Woohoo. [laughs]

Mark: …from Katie via KaiNexus. The way to enter that contest is to simply share about the webinar on LinkedIn, and you use the hashtag #KaiNexus. We'll put a little bit more about that in the show notes where you can do that.

Katie, for this webinar, I'm excited because, as you were telling me, it's a new presentation. It sounds like it's based on ideas that you know and have taught for a long time. Give us a framing of this webinar and why people should tune in.

Katie: Thanks, Mark. I've been reflecting a lot on the leadership learning programs and discussions I've had with a lot of my clients over the last year. It's consistently been around, how are we creating these cultures of continuous improvement? How are we solving work problems?

How are we closing the gaps between where we are today and where we need to be? Really looking at it from a process and operational side, and then what leadership behaviors do we need to have? I've been consistently talking with these leadership groups about four key behaviors that will drive this culture of continuous improvement.

I was playing around with actually what they might be called, and it comes to spell the word G-A-P-S. To close the GAPS in process, we also have to close the gaps in our behavior and actions as well, so I'm excited. [laughs]

Mark: That's going to help us. I am too, and that's going to help us, as the title suggests, create a continuous improvement culture.

Katie: It's both about, how do we close GAPS from a behavior standpoint, and then how do those behaviors drive us being able to close the gaps from process as well?

Mark: Former Toyota people, they use the word “gap” a lot. You hear the word “problem” a lot, and related to it, you hear the word “gap” of closing gaps, measurable gaps, creating a gap to help create tension to drive improvement. We have the word, and we'll learn in the webinar the acronym.

Katie: Absolutely. I'm excited to come and join us live, and learn what the leadership GAPS are that you might want to be focused on closing.

Mark: I hope you'll all come, attend live. You'll have a chance to ask questions. We'll have a good robust Q&A session at the end. In fact, two years ago, we had so many questions, Katie and I recorded an additional bonus Q&A. We might have the opportunity to do that again this time.

If you'd like to register for the webinar, go to You can look for a link in the show notes. If you are watching or listening to this after April 4th, you can go find the recording of the webinar through that same web page.

You can find it in this podcast feed or YouTube channel depending on how you are taking this in. April 4th, one o'clock, Katie Anderson, I'm looking forward to it. Thanks in advance.

Katie: Me too. I'm looking forward, too, Mark. Bring your questions, everyone, and looking forward to the discussion.

Mark: If there are GAPS in knowledge, you answering their questions will help close those gaps.

Katie: Indeed, and perhaps, they'll be gaps in what I know and that the best answer sometimes is, “I don't know.”

Katie: Yes, we're going to work on closing those gaps.

Mark: That's a good trait, being able to say, “I don't know.” “I” is not one of the letters in GAPS.

Katie: No, no. There are so many… but we got down to four. We're going to focus on four key behaviors.

Mark: [laughs] Katie, thanks in advance for the webinar. Thanks for doing the preview here today.

Katie: Thanks, Mark, looking forward to it.

Mark: Thanks.

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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.


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