I'm willing to bet that when most Americans hear the word "sensei" they think "Mr. Miyagi" ("Wax on, wax off"). That teen
drama in many ways helped an entire generation learn how to learn, perhaps opening their minds to seeing new ways of doing things.
Mr. Miyagi was not interested in glory, just balance. He had very little interest in the color of your belt "Belt mean no need rope to hold up
pants." No offense to my Six-Sigma friends! He often said karate is for self-defense only, so the glory of a tournament victory wasn't his goal.
He gets value (chores done) while developing strength and muscle memory. Paint the fence - Paint house - Wax the car - Sand the floor.
I use this all the time to explain real importance of 5S (conditioning for kaizen). It is very similar to
Mike Rother's Coaching Kata idea: Keep practicing new things/methods until they feel natural.
Identifying root cause is crucial in the film, and Miyagi focuses his energy on helping his student learn to see the true root cause.
Miyagi: Problem: attitude.
Daniel: No the problem is, I'm getting my [butt] kicked every other day, that's the problem.
Miyagi: Hai, because boys have bad attitude. Karate for defense only.
Daniel: That's not what these guys are taught.
Miyagi: Hai – can see. No such thing as bad student, only bad teacher. Teacher say, student do.
See how he was able to show that the kids' attitudes weren't the real problem?
The downside with Mr. Miyagi is that he often just told Daniel what to do instead of asking questions and letting him find his own answers. There was no
disrespect, but there wasn't a lot of deep understanding going on either.
Kids may think candy is made through magic, but in a lot of ways, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was an entire generation's first exposure to
manufacturing. For the purpose of this tournament, let's look at Willy Wonka from both the 1971 and 2005 films.
In the beginning of both films we see the factory creating chocolates. One-piece flow is evident, there's no extra inventory, and all candy is
transferred directly into "milk run" size vehicles all destined for specific locations with just the right amount in each truck. This is
Lean in action.
A lot of what Wonka chooses to do in his factory also serves multiple goals. One is quality and another is to thwart industrial espionage. Instead
of enacting levels upon levels of security, he makes things in a manner that no competitor can steal. Sort of like the way Toyota makes cars and invites
their competitors to tour their plants.
Wonka also creates a culture of problem solving, with a passion for quality. The Oompa-Loompas may have been having fun, but they were all business, too.