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Mike Rother

Mike Rother: A Practical Approach for Attaining Strategic Objectives

By Mike Rother, - Last updated: Monday, April 29, 2013 - Save & Share - Leave a comment

Question: Where to start with Hoshin Kanri in a not-yet-lean company?

The Lean community has been talking about strategy deployment for 20 years. In short, the objective is arrows lined up (i.e., individual process improvement efforts working toward common goals) and an up-and-down dialog that keeps both the top and the operational levels informed about unfolding realities.

So far so good. But the approach we took to operationalize this idea has not been very effective.

We tried to copy Japanese companies’ mature Eastern approach, called Hoshin Kanri, but basic principles of skill-building and brain science suggest this benchmarking or copying approach won’t work because (a) it’s like telling a beginner athlete to copy and replicate an experienced athlete and (b) typical Western organizational culture is different from an Eastern one. Hoshin Kanri has been interesting, but not very replicable here.

Like any athlete or musician who’s learning new skills, you start where you are, practice some basic new routines and, as your proficiency grows, you fine-tune and develop your own style.

Fortunately, almost every reader of this is already using a tool that can help them start practicing better strategy deployment today:  Future State Mapping. In the following SlideShare (link below) Gerd Aulinger takes you through an example to clearly illustrate how future-state mapping and the routines of the Improvement Kata /Coaching Kata come together to effectively connect daily improvement with the strategy and breakthrough challenges of the organization.

A Practical Approach to Strategy Deployment

Notice that Gerd refers to “future-state mapping.” The main purpose of drawing a current state value stream map is not to see problems or wastes for quick resolution, but to provide the basis for designing a future state. Once you have a future-state value stream design, then work toward it by applying the Improvement Kata at the processes in that value stream. That’s goal-directed working, which Gerd illustrates well in the SlideShare.

If you study the details of Gerd’s SlideShare you’ll be amazed at how logical, consistent and powerful the combination of Future-State Mapping and the Improvement Kata can be for (finally) achieving strategy deployment. Keep in mind that you can download the SlideShare… it’s nearly the equivalent of a Lean handbook.

Mike

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