The Hoshin Kanri Method: Concentrate Business Activities in the Right Places
The Hoshin Kanri method is used to clearly target objectives to lead your business to your goal in three years. This is a twofold article for 1) focusing your efforts in the right places and 2) mobilizing personnel through Hoshin Kanri.
1) Hoshin Kanri: A Strategy to Channel Your Efforts
Creativity, ambition, big ideas to develop your organization—does this sound like you? You may not realize that when it’s time to do strategic planning, these great entrepreneurial qualities are actually detrimental to you (with or without your knowing). To reach your targets, you need to stop doing many things at the same time. But how?
Company Personality: A Vital Consideration
First, the Hoshin Kanri method aims to define a mission, a vision, and values for your company if you haven’t already done so. This strategic thinking does take time and effort, but it offers many benefits. That brand identity trilogy:
Guides your decisions
Gives your organization a personality
Projects a positive image of your company (great for recruitment!)
Unites your staff
Strategically Finding your North Star
What’s next? It's great to have a brand identity and a bunch of projects, but to make real progress, focusing on a destination is crucial. In Hoshin management, the “North Star” is the objective you want to reach in three years. It has to be consistent with the mission, vision and values established earlier. Going forward, it will guide your actions and decisions. It will help you better channel your resources. Where do you want to be in three years? Why? Think about it!
The North Star becomes the center of your attention, and your staff’s too. The trick is breaking down this ultimate goal into tasks (or “breakthrough objectives” in Hoshin lingo), i.e., realistic annual goals. You should then establish performance indicators and a timetable for each of them.
Bravo! You now have a long-term goal and milestones to ensure your progress. As a leader, you can delegate the rest to your employees. They will find the solutions to reach the targets by themselves. Everyone chooses their own contribution to achieving the annual goals.
The magic simply happens because there is now a link between the personal objectives (set by the employees themselves) and those of the company. This approach is also smart because it:
Shows your staff that you trust them
Stimulates team creativity
Relieves management from certain tasks
Mobilizes employees and makes them feel their contribution is important
Integrates well into day-to-day management
Speaking of Day-to-Day Management…
The North Star shines and guides your employees. They know what they want to accomplish. But do they have the right tools? Daily management systems (DMS) are technological solutions that guide them in the field. They are visual performance measurement tools that help eliminate variation, clarify roles, track performance, communicate effectively, and more. Ask the experts at Createch—they can tell you more about daily management systems, and support you in their implementation.
And you’re off! In just a few steps, you have focused your energy on achieving micro-targets, working toward an ultimate goal. This process will help you deliver tangible results.
2) Hoshin Kanri: A Management Style That Motivates the Troops
Is the method implemented? If so, then you’re on the right track! But are you aware of all its benefits? As a strategic planning process, the Hoshin Kanri method values the achievement of targets through staff engagement.
In this post-COVID era, a company that fails to mobilize its people is exposed to staff turnover and labor shortage. When employees feel detached from the action, don’t have the same priorities and don’t see progress, they get demotivated. The Hoshin Kanri solution can save you from this pitfall.
Catchball Method: No More One-Way Management
The Hoshin Kanri process begins top-down, because the leader determines the North Star and mobilizes the entire organization to achieve the sub-goals. But it doesn't stop there! The success of the process depends on collaboration within the organization.
Like the back-and-forth of a ball when playing catch, information flows between management and the personnel assigned to operations. Management defines the “what” and teams define the “how.” Communication channels are always open, everyone stays updated on hiccups, delays, and progress. Every level of the hierarchy takes part in the process—it's real teamwork: upper management, directors, supervisors, field workers. Everyone plays their part and understands their role. The entire organization feels responsible for progress and becomes very engaged.
Responsiveness Improves Employee Retention
Responsiveness builds staff loyalty. This quality has saved more than one company during the pandemic. It's simple: if your company can solve problems quickly through quality of communications, your staff can keep moving forward. Employees who progress will feel like they are doing something useful. This results in a sense of accomplishment and pride—a motivation that encourages them to stay.
Createch and Hoshin Kanri Management
Now you can see the benefits of channeling your resources and mobilizing your staff. Many tools can be used to implement breakthrough management: daily management systems, vertical and horizontal goal alignment charts (X-matrix, in Lean parlance) and more.