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Karen Martin

Karen Martin: Start with 4-step “Hoshin Lite” to gain consensus on priorities

By Karen Martin, - Last updated: Sunday, April 28, 2013 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

In The Outstanding Organization, I address my concern that companies often attempt Hoshin planning prematurely, before they’ve established a strong foundation for success. I describe a 4-step “Hoshin-lite” approach I use for clients who aren’t ready for the full monty as it were. The significant behavioral changes that are needed for the successful and full deployment of Hoshin Kanri often take years to develop–and that’s if the leadership team is committed and stable.

My “lite” version (which I obviously recommend) focuses on identifying problems vs. solutions, gaining consensus around the priorities, reducing the number of priorities, using a modified version of catchball, and avoiding organizational ADD throughout the year–versus achieving Hoshin nirvana. The leadership alignment that results from gaining consensus around and commitment to organizational priorities is a powerful first step that’s needed before they’ll be successful with true Hoshin Kanri. In one of my clients, for example, we were at the end of day two of a 3-day planning process before anyone mentioned what ended up being the #1 priority for the coming fiscal year – a vexing product quality problem that had, surprisingly, been displaced from the top priority spot the year before by something less relevant. It’s that type of discovery that points to the immaturity of some organizations that makes it premature to dive directly into pure Hoshin.

In my experience, it can take 2-3 years for a leadership team to habituate the practice of going to the gemba and becoming proficient with PDSA. It’s for all of these reasons that I expose them to Hoshin elements before I even mention the “H” word. But my clients may be different from those that others on the panel provide support to.

Good luck! Be deliberate in each step you take and reflect deeply before taking the next step.

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