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What is Obeya

Obeya is a visual management tool

Obeya literally means 'great room' in Japanese. Japan's Toyota was the first organization to use a large room, introducing the Obeya concept and putting it directly into practice. In the 1990s, Toyota developed the first and most successful hybrid car ever, the Prius, with the help of Obeya. The company brought the car to market in about half the time compared to much of the competition.


All those involved – from management to the shop floor – worked together in a room and visualized the product and organizational system. In doing so, Toyota created one shared vision, one version of the truth. By bringing together all the information surrounding the build of the car in one place, the team was able to focus on the value for the customer.

How Obeya works

An Obeya is a space in which a visual link is made between strategy and operation. Working with Obeya leads to an overview and an effective way of working together. This is due to the use of visualization and the use of effective meeting methods.


By visualizing all relevant information, you create insight and overview. In the room it becomes clear what the goals are, what work there is and who is responsible for what. In addition, the progress of projects is clearly visible and performance is continuously improved. The team is helped to set priorities and make well-founded choices. Meetings in an Obeya are short and result-oriented.


Obeya as a powerful leadership tool

How can you make management-level teams work more effectively and help you deal with complexity? By using Obeya as a leadership instrument, you make optimal use of the human leadership potential. Strategies are better aligned, there is more focus, performance is more visible and teams are making real progress.


With the Leading with Obeya method you put the team first. By jointly learning different habits, in which seeing, learning and acting together are central, you break through old patterns and real change is achieved. 

Discover what Obeya can do for you as a manager or coach! Our training courses are available for individual participants or as in-house training.

Improving teams sustainably

A team will not work more efficiently by only talking about plans. Leading with Obeya means getting started right away. The focus is on continuously improving the working method, the way in which you achieve your goals. The most important thing here is learning and immediately applying new habits that suit working with Obeya.


We have the Obeya Team Kickstart especially for teams that want to start with Obeya but do not yet have enough knowledge, experience or capacity to do so. This is a training, workshop and strategy session in one.


In three days we will get your team off to a flying start. Afterwards you will have an Obeya equipped for your team that is ready for use.

Obeya Coaching & Training trains countless teams per year at various organizations. Our trainers know your problems because they are basically the same for almost every team. This enables us to help you quickly and effectively with Obeya.

The benefits of Leading with Obeya

Our method has the potential to change old ingrained leadership patterns. Leading with Obeya ensures that organizations make maximum use of the capabilities of their leaders. But what concrete benefits do teams experience after working with Obeya for a few months?

  • Better coordination within and between teams

  • More focus on strategic goals

  • More effective meetings

  • Respond faster to changes

  • Better insights and more decisiveness

  • Leadership Capabilities Development

  • More trust and collaboration

  • Rewarding and fun

Leading with Obeya Reference Model

Every team that gets started with Obeya uses the Leading with Obeya Reference Model as a basis. The model shows what you expect on the walls of an Obeya and what principles for thinking and acting are expected of the team. Five areas are central:


  1. Strategic direction– Where do you want to go as an organization?

  2. Performance– How well does that work? What is going well and what are the challenges?

  3. Plan by value– How are we going to use our time and resources to do the right things at the right time?

  4. Act & react– How do we deal flexibly with today's reality?

  5. Difficult Problems– Which structural problems limit the functioning of our organization and performance? What challenges are we going to tackle?

Leading with Obeya in practice

Management teams that start with the method must have a good understanding of what they are getting into. It requires a lot of commitment to get started with Obeya. The working method – and therefore the team – is going to change considerably. Collaboration is therefore essential. With the jointly determined goal and strategy in mind, you set up an Obeya as a team.  


Obeya Coaching & Training combines explanation about Obeya with hands-on teaching methods. For example, we work out the strategy on the Obeya wall step by step with the entire team.

Once the wall is complete and we have explained the basics of the Reference Model, the team can get to work. After further furnishing of the room, the team prefers to start using the Obeya immediately the following Monday.


Obeya Coaching & Training helps teams to work in an Obeya: whether they are just starting out or want to further develop an Obeya. We answer questions, supervise improvement sessions, support working methods or take on the facilitating role for a number of sessions to get the team sharp again.

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