Organizational Leadership

organizational leadershipHow to Leverage Hoshin Kanri for Lean Organizational Leadership

When deploying organizational leadership and strategy, many lean organizations look to the hoshin kanri methodology. Popularizing the concept in the late in 1950's, Japanese professor Kaoru Ishikawa described hoshin kanri by saying, “each person is the expert in his or her own job and Japanese Total Quality Control is designed to use the collective thinking power of all employees to make their organization the best in its field.”

In other words, hoshin kanri is a management system in which all employees participate - from top-down and bottom-up - in achieving shared organizational goals. Hoshin kanri ties senior leadership into enterprise-wide business improvement practices. It focuses on a shared vision and deploys strategic goals, enabling communication of the organization's direction and holds accountability for milestone achivements. PDCA is a key concept in hoshin kanri to create goals, choose control plans and measurable milestones, and link daily activities to company strategies.

A vital process for lean organizational leadership, hoshin kanri is:

Focused - keeps entire organization focused on the vital few 3-5yr objectives

Highly Visible - visual systems used to communicate strategy and progress

Participative - everyone is involved in the creation and alignment of strategy

Collaborative - integrates and encourages cross-functional dialogue and action

Disciplined - uses standardized formats / processes

People-centric – built in P-D-C-A learning cycles

Reflective - places emphasis on reflection and problem solving of previous cycles

System Mindset - helps develop a disciplined, systems thinking and acting culture

In order to facilitate hoshin kanri, many lean organizations leverage A3 documents. An A3 is simply an 11x17 sheet of paper. A3s are effective organizational leadership tools to communicate information, focus on a common vision/strategy/goals, and set clear milestones for projects so that everyone is "on the same page." The A3 cycle for strategy deployment is made up of different types of A3 documents, including:

A3X: Executive level strategy deployment; Determination of vision; Guiding principles, Company-wide strategies and goals.

Organizational Leadership Questions:

  • What is our vision?
  • What are our guiding principles?
  • What are our strategies?
  • What are our tactics?

A3Z: Management-level strategy deployment; Develops department strategies and goals to support the company vision, strategies, and goals.

Organizational Leadership Questions:

  • How will our zone/department support the vision?
  • What are our zone/departments guiding principles?
  • What are our strategies for supporting the companies and departments goals?
  • What are our tactics?

A3P: Problem-solving model for project implementation to support A3Z strategies and goals.

Organizational Leadership Questions:

  • What are we trying to do? What are the goals?
  • What do we need to do to accomplish our goals?
  • How long will this effort take? How much will it cost to achieve the goals?
  • Will we finish in time to meet our customer’s (and business’) goals?
  • What if there is uncertainty in our estimates?
  • What can go wrong with our project? What will the impact be?
  • Who is responsible for what?

Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group

LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.

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