Home > Knowledge Center> 5 Levels of Mastery

5 Levels of Mastery

1/17/2010

Art Smalley, author of Creating Level Pull, recalls asking his mentor at Toyota in Japan how long it would take to complete his basic education of TPS on the machining lines at the Kamigo plant. His mentor estimated about seven years. "I asked him how long it took him to really understand TPS and he replied about seven years," Smalley recalled. "I asked how long it took to get really good at it and he thought that he was proficient at all the tasks required of him as an engineer and a manager in about 20 years. To explain his sensei's answer, Smalley outlines the "five levels of mastery" framework that was frequently touted inside Toyota. The levels are:  (1) To know of or to have heard the concepts; (2) To know and really understand the concepts; (3) To be able to do them on your own very well; (4) To do them continuously very well over time and show improvement; (5) To be able to do and to teach it well to others.

Related Content

Books

Articles

  • Art of Lean on Situational Leadership, Part 1: An Introduction
    Continuing his Art of Lean series, Art Smalley is back with a new topic and five parts, all focusing on situational leadership. In this first part, Art takes you through this topic's history and delves into specific cases and steps within this process, from diagnosing the situation to partnering for performance.
  • Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 8: Processing
    Understand the two aspects of the waste that requires a careful understanding of customer requirements. Watch the final part of an eight-part series focusing on the seven classic forms of waste from the Toyota Production System by Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated.
  • Art of Lean on Work & Waste, Part 7: Defects
    Though he's calling the waste of defects the sixth waste in this series, Art Smalley, president of Art of Lean, Incorporated, says you should consider it the first--or worst--form of waste in some situations. Learn when and why.