Reflection is the Beginning….Looking Back and Ahead with “Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn”

Wow, I can’t believe it! This past week marks the two month anniversary of the launch of both the ebook and paperback versions of Learning to Lead, Leading to Learn: Lessons from Toyota Leader Isao Yoshino on a Lifetime of Continuous Learning.  So many amazing things have happened since then, and, thanks to your help and interest, the book has already made an impact in the lives of many!

Looking Back On the Past Two Months

Have you ever had a goal that you were so focused on and the momentum to carry it forward that you find yourself realizing that you need a moment to pause, reflect, and adjust?

This past week I did – and I’m using this post as an opportunity to sit down, write, and share my reflections with you.

Moving from one goal right into another

Mid-July was an exciting an intense time when the book I’d spent hundreds (and perhaps even a thousand) hours working on was published. I moved immediately from one goal “finish and publish the book” to a second goal (which actually overlapped with goal #1 for a month) of “promote and amplify the messages of the book in a successful launch”. Now, at the two month mark of the book’s release, I’m taking a moment to do as I coach others — take a moment to pause, slow down, and reflect. I am also using this as an opportunity to adjust and think about my priorities as we move towards and into 2021 — with the book, other professional goals, and at home.

Celebrating the Accomplishments

I also wanted a chance to reflect on — and share with you — all the exciting activities and outcomes that have happened. And thank you for your support and interest in Mr. Yoshino’s and my partnership. Here are just a few of the outcomes of the past two months that I’m excited to celebrate!

#1 New Release on Amazon

Not only did the book debut as the #1 new release in several categories, including Lean Management, Coaching & Mentoring, and Labor & Industrial Economic Relations, it continues to be on international best seller lists. Thank you for your continued support!

Positive responses by readers!

It’s been so incredibly rewarding to read each and every review posted on Amazon, as well as the book reviews written by readers such as Joy Furnival, Simon Gary, and Jaap van Ede (editor-in-chief of Business Improvement EU). Writing a book is hard work and to know that the time, effort, and heart that went into it is having a positive impact on others is so meaningful.

To date, the book has 78 global 5-star reviews on Amazon! Thanks to everyone who shared a review! 

Leaving a review or posting on social are some of the most important efforts anyone who supports the book could do. If you haven’t left a review yet, please consider doing so and/or post on social media about the impact the book has had on you. Your words are much more impactful than anything I could ever say about it. Thank you! FYI, you can download quotes from the book to share on social media on this link.

Podcasts, webinars, and custom events

Over this summer, I had the pleasure of speaking to dozens of groups and reaching thousands of people through webinars and custom events where I had the opportunity to share the book’s message and inspire their teams, organizations, and leaders to lead with intention. For links to many of the webinars, visit the book’s website and scroll down to view past recordings.

I also have had the pleasure and honor of speaking with many thought leaders on their podcasts and webcasts. I’ve enjoyed the opportunity to learn from them, as well as talk about my experiences and learnings from Mr. Yoshino, my approach to intentional leadership, reflections on what it means to be a people-centered leader, and much much more. Thank you to all these podcast hosts who have asked some great questions (my favorite topic in of itself) and helped generate fun conversations full of learning. It’s been a blast — and I hope you too have enjoyed them!

Recording the Unlearn Podcast with Barry O’Reilly this week.

Here are a few of the most recent podcasts from the past month or so:

Learning to Lead Book Clubs

Books clubs around the world have selected the book as a tool to bring their teams together for deeper learning. I’ve enjoyed having the opportunity to speak with many of these book clubs of all sizes ranging from 10 to 75 people and — including a group from Toyota Headquarters in the U.S., and other book discussion groups in the Netherlands, France (you can watch the recording from the Lean Institute France), and North America. If you know a group that may be interested, here’s a downloadable flyer with some ideas on how to use the book within a book club.

Talking with a Book Club organized by Isaac Mitchell – September 23, 2020

Successful Virtual Celebration Events

Publishing in a pandemic certainly was not what Mr. Yoshino and I planned. While we were not able to have the many in person events we had planned across Europe, North America, and Japan this year, we did have not just one, but two, global celebration events!

Launch Party #2 Global Reach

Nearly 150 people, including many of you, took part in two virtual celebration events to celebrate the book’s release and the hard work it took to make it happen. If you didn’t get the chance to join, you can get a glimpse into the video of the first party (unedited for now – it’s on my list for the future to make a highlights reel)! Take a moment to join in the celebration to hear from me and Mr. Yoshino and listen to toasts from John Shook and Karyn Ross. Thank you again to Renee Smith and Gemma Jones for co-hosting these events on our behalf!

Launch Party #1 Toasts with Katie Anderson, Isao Yoshino, John Shook, and Karyn Ross

Reflecting with Mr. Yoshino

Just a few nights ago Mr. Yoshino and I caught up. He too has been adjusting in the pandemic with a new rhythm to life, with many of his classes in Japan cancelled as there are no foreign students currently allowed into Japan.

He has enjoyed reading the positive impact his stories and experiences are having on people, and for the opportunities to connect with people around the world to expand on his insights in book discussions and seminars.

I often say that even if no one read the book, the effort in creating it has all been worthwhile for the rich experience of learning that I have through partnering with Mr. Yoshino and through helping him reflect and “re-learn” anew about his life experiences.

The relationship that we have developed in the past six years — which has deepened through the process of creating this book — is one of the most significant in my adult years. I feel fortunate to have met him and to now be able to share his wisdom and rich experiences of learning from success and failure with you.

The power of learning from failure – and of asking questions

In fact, it is these stories of failure that resonate the most with readers. And certainly me as well. On our call we talked about how his willingness to be vulnerable and dig deeper into the challenges in his life has has been one of the elements of the book that most resonate with people. We can all related to struggle, missteps, and challenges — of not being perfect.

He responded that it was all about our partnership that allowed him to dig deeper, through the questions that I asked and the way that I asked them. He said:

“Asking questions is your special skill. Many of my comments only came out because you asked the questions. And you asked them to help me. You triggered me to open up.”

He then said something that I consider quite profound and important to remember:

“Not so many people are good at asking questions. They only ask questions because they want to benefit from the answer. But if you can benefit the person to whom you are asking the question, that is quite powerful. You both benefit. And this is what you did.”

This reflection and the positive outcome of helping him reflect and celebrate his life through working on the book are what I cherish most.

Looking Ahead

As I continue forward, I’m refocusing my energy to set some new goals and plans for the book and for my professional offerings, in balance with my personal life and responsibilities — including supporting the distance learning for my six and nine year old children, maintaining fitness, and staying connected with family and friends.

I’m in the process of refreshing my personal hoshin (read this article on personal hoshin or goal setting — in part inspired by discussions several years ago with Mr. Yoshino) to learn more about the process of developing a personal hoshin / strategic plan).

Not only am I setting aside some personal reflection and planning time (beyond writing this post), I have also invested in my own personal and professional development by signing up for some courses and coaching communities for me to deepen my own knowledge. Never stop learning!

On the horizon for the book and more:

  • Language Translations – I’m excited to announce that I’ve signed a contract with the Lean Institute Colombia and they are already underway in translating the book into Spanish, with a release later this fall! I’ve been approached by several publishers in other countries who are interested in translating the book and offering it in other languages.
  • Audio Book – Many of you have asked when the audio book is coming. I’m pursuing a few avenues right now and have set a daruma’s eye to fulfill this goal. More to come soon!
  • Supplemental Learning – I’m working on several supplemental learning opportunities to further enrich your experience of the book and your own practices of people-centered leadership, including companion study guide, courses, and coaching. Also more to come soon!
  • Keynotes and Other Events – Mr. Yoshino and I will be taking the virtual main stage at the AME Conference in October to talk about lessons described in book and our expeince of partnering together. I’m also shceuled to present at other events such as Results Washington and other upcoming webinars. Visit my Events Page to see more.

Ways to Practice and Enrich Your Learning

In addition to personal coaching and custom events for organizations, join me this fall to deepen your knowledge and practice of many of the skills described in the book for people-centered leaders.

New Workshop: What if We Stopped Telling Others What to Do?

I’m excited to announce a partnership with Teamraderie to offer not only an engaging learning experience for teams about creating learning cultures, but also provide a new innovative way for groups to gain a deeper understanding of how team members engage with each other in a virtual environment. More info here.

K2C2 Coaching Communities

Cohort #8

Karyn Ross and I are thrilled to leading our 8th “Katie and Karyn’s Coaching Community” Cohort starting in mid-October — this time at a different time to accommodate a later afternoon/evening schedule in the Americas and by request from participants in Australia. More info here.

Asking and Listening Intensive Workshop

We are also launching an intensive 1-week (with 1 week follow-up) learning session focused on developing deeper skills around asking effective questions and listening — to others and yourself. Starts October 5th!  More info here.

Karyn and I welcome you to join us – and as, always, our practice is for “right-sized pricing”. We have a suggested price for each series, but please pay what you can afford, even if it is just $5.

Subscribe and join my community!

Thank you for reading and following my journey of learning and leading — and developing community around the world. Sign up below for my newsletter to be the first to know about new posts, events, and more! In coming posts I’ll have some new author interviews and book giveaways, articles on leadership (and some new insights from Mr. Yoshino too!), and of course, ongoing reflections on learning and leading.