The process you use to develop your strategic plan is as important as the plan itself. That’s why many organizations turn to the Hoshin Kanri approach, which focuses on creating a plan that takes into account both the daily management of the organization and the tactics necessary to reach those goals that will have the most significant impact. The result is a set of specific action plans and resources necessary to achieve your business breakthrough.
Although some organizations tweak the approach to meet their specific needs, most often, the Hoshin Kanri (or Hoshin Planning) process consists of the following seven steps.
Step 1: Establish the Vision and Assess the Current State
During this phase, it is important to examine your current mission, vision, and values. Are they aligned with your desired state? It is also necessary to review existing processes and procedures that are designed to meet future objectives. What is working well, and what needs to be reassessed?
Step 2: Develop Breakthrough Objectives
Breakthrough objectives are those that require the organization to stretch in new and challenging ways. They typically take three to five years to achieve. Breakthrough objectives often include entering new markets, introducing new products, or adopting a different service delivery model.
Step 3: Define Annual Objectives
What needs to happen this year to ensure that the three to five year goals are met? For example, if the goal is to introduce a new product in three years, it may be necessary to complete a market research study and define the product requirements during this year.
Step 4: Cascade Goals Throughout the Organization
Once you know what you need to accomplish, you can begin to assign department, team, and individual objectives that align with the overall mission for the year. The goals should be measurable and specific, with defined key performance indicators that can be monitored by leadership.
Step 5: Execute Annual Objectives
Step 6: Monthly Reviews
Too often, organizations spend a bunch of time setting up a plan for the year, only to forget about it as the pressure of daily management mounts. The Hoshin Kanri process helps avoid this common problem with monthly reviews. Checking in on each person’s progress toward goals on a monthly basis ensures that forward progress is maintained.
Step 7: Annual Review
At the conclusion of twelve months, it is time to do a comprehensive assessment of the organization’s progress. It may be necessary to make adjustments to goals or time estimates. This is also a good time to ensure that resources are properly allocated for what needs to be accomplished in the next year.
Hoshin Kanri (or Hoshin Planning) is not terribly complex, but each step is important to create an action plan that can be effectively executed in the expected time frame. Aligned goals ensure that everyone is working toward the same ends, and frequent reviews help ensure that work stays on track. If you are looking for a planning method that will help your organization make the leap to the next level, Hoshin Kanri is a great option to consider.