Lean Whiskey: 22: Catching Up with Honsha Friends Over Whisky, Sake, and an Old Fashioned

Mark Graban, Darril Wilburn, and Sammy Obara


For Episode 22, Mark Graban is joined by Darril Wilburn and Sammy Obara, two former Toyota employees who are colleagues at the firm Honsha.

They are two of the authors of the excellent book Toyota by Toyota. The three talk about how they met (via LEI and other Lean events) and how Mark was invited by Darril and Honsha to go to Japan with them two years ago (see posts about that trip).

They talk about the “conveyor belt sushi incident” that Mark blogged about. They also discuss many lessons from Toyota, including the idea that “it’s the responsibility of leaders to create a system in which people can be successful.” They also chat a bit about how work and life has changed during the pandemic.

Oh, and the whiskey theme was “drink what you like.” Mark enjoyed a neat pour of Ichiro’s Malt & Grain whisky from Japan. Darril made a very fancy Old Fashioned using a smoked glass and Woodford Reserve Double Oaked bourbon (since he’s from Kentucky originally). Sammy enjoyed sake from Japan. We all enjoyed the chance to catch up and talk.