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Redefining Problem Solving: A Pit Crew Approach to Business Excellence

Problem-solving is a crucial skill in the business world. Whether you’re an entrepreneur trying to overcome obstacles or a manager looking for innovative solutions, the ability to effectively solve problems can lead to success. However, traditional problem-solving training may only be memorable in the short term. That’s where the pit crew approach to innovation excels.
The pit crew approach to problem-solving takes inspiration from the teams that service race cars during a pit stop. These teams are known for their speed, precision, and collaboration, all while working under incredible pressure. Professionals can redefine their approach and achieve better results by applying these methods to business problem-solving.
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Teamwork is one key aspect of the pit crew approach. Just like a pit crew, individuals in a business setting should work together towards a common goal. This means leveraging diverse skills and perspectives to tackle problems from any and all angles. By pooling their expertise, team members can develop creative and well-rounded solutions that may not have been possible alone.
Preparation is another essential element for pit crew performance. Pit crews practice relentlessly before race day. They know exactly what needs to be done, who is responsible for each task and how to handle unexpected complications. Similarly, businesses can benefit from proper preparation by establishing clear processes and protocols for problem-solving. This could include defining roles and responsibilities, creating a roadmap of steps to follow and conducting regular training sessions to ensure everyone is prepared to handle any challenge.
Speed is also a critical factor in the pit crew approach. In racing, every second counts, and the same holds true in business. By focusing on efficiency and streamlining processes, teams can quickly identify and address problems, minimizing downtime and maximizing productivity. This could involve implementing technology tools and automation, optimizing workflow and eliminating unnecessary steps or bureaucracy that slow decision-making.
Adaptability is important. During a race, pit crews must be able to adjust their strategy on the fly as conditions change. Likewise, businesses must be flexible and willing to adapt their problem-solving approach as new information becomes available or circumstances evolve. This may involve seeking feedback from customers or colleagues, conducting data analysis or staying up-to-date with industry trends to ensure the solutions developed are effective and align with current needs.

The Kata + Pit Crew Experience

NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions collaborates with the Performance Instruction & Training facility (PIT) in Mooresville, NC to provide participants with an immersive and practical pit crew experience. You can view firsthand the fundamental need for teamwork, preparation, speed and adaptability in high-pressure, time-sensitive situations.

What to Expect

You’ll start your day with an orientation to high-performance motorsports, followed by an activity where you become a pit crew member. This is followed by the class segment, where we learn that kata is:

  • Developing new habits and allowing people to think differently about problems and goals
  • A way of working, and of working together
  • Using scientific thinking as an ingredient to make teams and organizations more effective and successful
  • Developing a culture of continuous learning and improvement at all levels through deliberate practice

The Improvement Kata helps develop fundamental skills of working like a scientist. The learner iterates or experiments toward a desired goal instead of deciding the way forward. This way of thinking and working helps people deal with uncertainty and challenges.
The Coaching Kata is a routine by which the teacher or coach gives the learner procedural guidance, not solutions, helping the learner successfully overcome obstacles and develop confidence. With Toyota Kata, managers can simultaneously build their own coaching skills and their team members’ problem-solving skills.


The lean team from NC State University Industry Expansion Solutions facilitates the lean presentations and discussions. Senior-level PIT Instruction and Training staff facilitate the motorsports presentation and activity while professional pit crew members coach the teams.

Benefits of Participating

  • Learn and understand the concept of improvement kata and coaching kata to improve your business
  • Behave like a pit crew under pressure, apply lean principles and observe your impact on performance
  • Discover the importance of developing a culture of continuous process improvement in your organization


Upcoming Opportunity to Attend PIT Training:

Date: October 14, 2024
Time: 8 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.
Location: Performance Instruction & Training (PIT)

156 Byers Creek Road
Mooresville, NC 28117 United States + Google Map


$1,195 per person
Volume discounts are available for two, three or more participants from the same company.
Contact your regional manager to register.


for more information.