Hoshin Kanri or policy deployment’s purpose is to focus and align all contributions on a limited number of necessary breakthroughs, in order to achieve the goal without diluting limited resources on minor on irrelevant subjects.
The X-Matrix is used to breakdown the higher objectives, usually the breakthroughs, into smaller objectives and actions, setup the KPIs for monitoring and allocating tasks accountability and resources.
So far so good, but how to first identify the limited number of necessary breakthroughs?
Reflecting on achievements so far and brainstorming for improvements may seem a good way, but experience tells that without a structured and logical process, the brainstorm may produce a nice-to-have wish list.
This would produce the opposite of expected outcome: instead of focusing on a limited number of required drastic improvements, this kind of wish list invites again to dilute scarce resources on numerous minor, probably incremental, improvements.
- improvement potentials are infinite, resources are not
- when it comes to resource allocation, everybody likes to have a big share
- breakthroughs and innovations are appealing but scary, while incremental improvements are safer
- people always have ideas about improving somebody else’s business
Preparing Hoshin Kanri is an important exercise which sets objectives for at least the short-term period, usually twelve months, and intended to drive consistently the whole organization to achieve its goal. It has to be carefully built.
Goal Tree prior to Hoshin Kanri
This is where Goal Tree is welcome to give guidance. Remember, a Goal Tree is a logical description of all Necessary Conditions (NCs) to achieve the Goal via a limited number of Critical Success Factors (CSF).
Sounds pretty much like Hoshin Kanri, but while Hoshin Kanri is made for planning and cascading actions, Goal Tree is made for analysis, assessment and designing the future state, depicted in a Tree shaped graphic.
This two tools have much in common, but are different. What is interesting is to use Goal Tree to feed Hoshin Kanri.
When using a Goal Tree to plan the future ideal state, the participants start with setting the Purpose or Goal of the organization in the top box of the tree. Then, they identify three to five Critical Success Factors (CSF) necessary to achieve the Goal. Those CSF often are the minimum condition to stay in competition and are based on benchmarks. Each CSF requires a cascade of Necessary Conditions (NCs) to be achieved, hence the Goal to be achieved.
Once the Goal Tree is built, the management should assess the current state of the organization versus the ideal state depicted in the Goal Tree. From the deviation, the need for some breakthroughs should surface:
- Know-hows or technologies which must absolutely be acquired or mastered
- Performance levels that need drastic improvement
- Services that are awaited by customers but not yet provided
- Regulatory changes that must be anticipated
As the Goal Tree is entirely based on necessity-logic relationship between the items, there is no place for nice-to-haves. An item is necessary or not, nice-to-haves do not find their way through this binary filter. A Goal Tree is therefore robust and Lean by essence. It helps focusing on the important factors and conditions and prevents going astray.
Therefore, when I discovered Goal Tree I was immediately struck by its ability to feed Hoshin Kanri in a very effective way. From then on I started analyzing the current state and define the future with Goal Tree and align and cascade contributions with Hoshin Kanri.
Considering Goal Tree and Hoshin Kanri as companion tools, displaying the seminal Goal Tree altogether with Hoshin Kanri in the operations room helps explaining what the organization is up for, the Goal, and how to achieve it.
Presenting the concept during the June 2016 LTP alumni reunion