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Strategy Deployment with Hoshin Kanri

Nicole Radziwill

Setting up your organizational goals is key for success! Here is why it is vital and important your entire organization is aligned to pursue business goals.

By Nicole Radziwill

Have you ever had a goal so vital and important that your entire organization had to be aligned to pursue it? It’s not easy to get hundreds of people -- or even a handful -- working in harmony towards a single goal. Fortunately, the Japanese technique of hoshin kanri (方針管理) can be used to unify intentions and coordinate work. It also is referred to as strategy deployment because the technique helps an organization deploy all of its resources, at all levels, to ensure that their work is directed towards achieving one strategic goal. Managers start by deciding what to do at a strategic level, but not how to do it. Hoshin kanri serves as the work design process that allows each person to contribute their own knowledge and understanding of what the goal represents -- to determine how best to achieve it cooperatively as an organization.

Hoshin kanri is similar to the traditional Management by Objectives (MBO) approach where managers and employees agree upon clearly defined objectives, usually over the course of a year. But hoshin kanri adds some twists.

First, Deming’s PDCA (Plan-Do-Check-Act) cycle is embedded at all levels -- it is assumed that the right approach will be determined only by learning about the objective. The process by which managers and their teams iteratively engage in PDSA and learn about their adjacent objectives is called “catchball” -- this helps keep the work realistic. Second, visibility is important. MBOs aren’t typically coordinated between people, but hoshin objectives are. The result is a tree of objectives, where each objective is assigned to a single person, and cascades from the original strategy. Additional Reading: Hutchins, D. (2016). Hoshin Kanri: the strategic approach to continuous improvement. Routledge. Available from Amazon: https://amzn.to/2KjOsUk Manos, A. (2010, August). Hoshin Promotion. Six Sigma Forum Magazine (Vol. 9, No. 4). ASQ.

About the Author: Nicole Radziwill is the Quality Practice Lead at Intelex Technologies. Before Intelex, she was an Associate Professor of Data Science and Production Systems, Assistant Director (VP) End-to-End Operations at the National Radio Astronomy Observatory (NRAO), and manager and consultant for several other organizations since the late 1990's bringing quality management to technologically-oriented operations. She is a Fellow of the American Society for Quality (ASQ) with a Ph.D. in Quality Systems from Indiana State University. Nicole serves as Editor of Software Quality Professional (SQP) journal and is a former Chair of the ASQ Software Division. She is an ASQ Certified Manager of Quality and Organizational Excellence (CMQ/OE) and Certified Six Sigma Black Belt (CSSBB).

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October 10, 2018 @ 11:18 AM EDT Quality

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