Thursday, December 22, 2016

LEAN HARD TALK. Oh No! Please not again! The most common mistakes when implementing HOSHIN KANRI.

  • HOSHIN KANRI ist not a Goal-cascading process.
Paper can be folded and unfolded. Japanese call this Origami. People and their behavior cannot be folded and also cannot be unfolded.
An organizational strategy is not only made of paper (goals), but it is mostly made out of leaders that systematically empower people and processes to better performance. When this empowerment is coordinated towards strategic goals, then we experience organizational alignment. This is desirable and that's why we need HOSHIN KANRI.

BUT... HOSHIN KANRI is not hoshin kanri. And a mechanitsic vision of the inter-dependences that leaders undergo in the so called goal-cascading process, will never be able to foster the necessary trust levels that empowerment needs.

Those who pretend that HOSHIN KANRI is a Goal-cascading / Goal-unfolding process (here an example (Kudernatsch, 2016)), have either never been leaders or they couldn't care less about the people in organizations.
  • The expression "HOSHIN Goals" represents an Oxymoron.
There are not few that state that "A HOSHIN" is a "challenging goal for the next 12 to 18 months" (Boisvert, 2016) for instance.

This mistake results from mixing Goal and Direction.

Here some questions to think about...
  1. Is a star (HOSHIN) a goal or a direction giving entity?
  2. How can you 'hit' the star if a-priori the trajectory is not known.
  3. What would happen if this trajectory is related and depends to many other trajectories of many other stars?
  4. What would be the meaning of a "challenging goal for the next 12 to 18 months then"?
  • The A3-X Matrix creates administrative MUDA.
The A3-X Matrix is used in classic HOSHIN KANRI, to coordinate different organizational units. This communication is usually made through Excel throughout different organizational hierarchies (at best also throughout the value stream) (Akao, 2004).

Why has this created typically administrative MUDA in organizations?

Again, some questions to think about...
  1. Is organizational design made only of hierarchies and processes?
  2. How do we understand Lean Organizational Structure?
  3. And its functionality?
  4. Do Leaders have a clear picture of both concepts in their organization?
  5. What does HOSHIN KANRI to do with all this?
  • KATA (Rother, 2009) implemented in HOSHIN KANRI leads to KATA-STROPHE.
In a society in which people are ready to believe anything that matches their own beliefs (here an example) why should leaders not gladly believe on Target-States?

CURRENT STATE to FUTURE STATE is understood by anyone, right?

And it justifies the need of the leader to be!

This is LEAN post-truth.

Why does KATA leads to KATA-STROPHE when implemented at an organizational level? You can read my opinion about it in this blog article. If you do not want to read further and prefer to think for yourself, here's a hint: organizational complexity.

Think about it!

Answers to all this questions and much more can be found in my book THE HOSHIN KANRI FOREST: Lean Strategic Organizational Design (Villalba-Diez, 2017).

I do not have all the answers and as always, I will be happy to a nice LEAN HARD TALK with you under or

Best Regards from Berlin,

German version of this post:

Akao, Y. Hoshin Kanri. Policy Deployment for Successful TQM. Cambridge: Productivity Press, 2004.
Boisvert, L. Reflections on Hoshin Kanri. New York: CRC Press. Taylor and Francis Group LLC, 2016.
Kudernatsch, D. “Mit Hoshin Kanri Strategien Und Ziele Ableiten,” June 10, 2016.
Rother, M. Toyota Kata: Managing People for Improvement, Adaptiveness and Superior Results. 1st ed. McGraw-Hill, 2009.
Villalba-Diez, J. The HOSHIN KANRI FOREST. Lean Strategic Organizational Design. 1st ed. CRC Press. Taylor and Francis Group LLC, 2017.

Saturday, November 12, 2016

LEAN HARD TALK. Why KATA cannot be combined with HOSHIN KANRI.

If we understand kata as behavioral pattern, then we should observe that there are good and bad katas: i.e. smoking represents a bad habit that, if repeated, can create serious hazards to our health (the system). Meditation, on the other hand, fosters concentration and self control and has, if regularly repeated, many positive side effects.

M. Rother's KATA is based upon the definition of "target-states". I first understand the direction, then I try to understand the current state (A), then I move, through PDCA to this target state (B). At an individual level, all correct. Clean and easy.

BUT... what are the consequences of such a behavioral pattern for the organization?

Think about an organization, maybe yours, in which Value Streams depend on each other to perform. Just imagine that what controlling decides on savings affects the quality of the product or that what the production department decides on throughput affects inventory management. It sounds realistic, doesn't it?

It certainly does! Processes and Value Streams in organizations around the globe are interdependent! Situations in which egoist decision-makers affect other parts of the organization in the fight for scarce resources are part of the organizational nature. KATA neglects this reality. Such a model is therefore clearly at best naïv and at worst just plain wrong because it only fosters local optima and is only conceived for the empowerment of the individual.

Hoshin Kanri interpretations that try to integrate KATA in their thinking are nothing more than sand castles because KATA as described by Rother cannot be made scalable.

In order to implement HK correctly, you need behavioral patterns such as (CPD)nA that is scalable.

You can read more about it under LEAN HARD TALK or in Chapter 4 of the book The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design.

You can also contact me under or leave a comment on this blog!

All the best from Utah,

Thursday, November 3, 2016

HOSHIN KANRI Visualization with Neo4j. Empowering Leaders to Operationalize Lean Structural Networks

Hoshin Kanri Forest can now be visualized and monitorized using Neo4j

Learn how on this Scientific Publication presented @ the 5th CIRP Global Web Conference - Research and Innovation for Future Production (CIRPe 2016)

LINK to Hoshin Kanri Visualization on Neo4j

Thursday, October 13, 2016

LEAN HARD TALK. Kritik an der Hoshin Kanri Vorgehensweise von Fr. Dr. Kudernatsch

Beitrag von Fr. Dr. Kudernatsch,3047450

Kommentar 11.10.2016

Sehr geehrte Frau Dr. Kudernatch,

leider kann ich mich nicht mit Ihrer Interpretaton von Hoshin Kanri (HK) anfreuden.

Konkrete Diskussionspunkte wären...

1. beim PDCA. wie wollen Sie Ziele und Maßnahmen definieren, bevor Sie die Mitarbeiter befähigt haben?
Wenn ich Sie richtig verstehe, schlagen Sie eine HK Umsetzung durch
kaskadierende Ziel-Workshops/Klausuren der Hierarchie entlang. Diese
Vorgehensweise wurde im vergangenen Jahrhundert angewendet, ist aber
leider nicht mehr state of the art.

2. ist die Hierarchie die einzige Dimension fuer HK? Wie laesst sich dies mit dem "funktionalen Ansatz" der Kopfzeile verbinden?

3. stehen "Ziele" tatsaechlich im Mittelpunkt bei HK? anders gesagt: ist HK tatsaechlich ein Zielkaskadierungsprozess?

Den Ausdruck "HOSHIN-Ziele" stellt grammatikalisch ein Oxymoron dar.

Beste Grüße aus Tokyo,
Dr.-Ing. Javier Villalba-Diez

LEAN HARD TALK. Critique to "Toyota Kata Unified Field Theory" by Bill Constantino

Bill Constantino "Toyota Kata Unified Field Theory" in

Dear Mr. Constantino, it is not clear to me if when you refer to “Unified Field Theory” you understand what you are refering to / talking about. 
For instance… From a psychological perspective, the “life space” of a process owner is the combination of all the factors that influences a person's behavior at any time. The interactions between process owner, his/her behavior and the environment make up a dynamic field, which means that the state of any part of the field depends on every other part of it. (Martin, 2003). There have been numerous efforts to quantify such interactions. 
From a physical perspective, a “field” describes the interaction of objects through field equations. For instance a gravitational field. 
Your “Toyota KATA Unified Field Theory” seems to describe solely the interaction of a process owner with several other “target oportunities”. But, what about the rest of the process owners in the organization? Could you explain the gravitational field of the solar system by describing solely the interaction between sun and earth? Could you explain such a field by neglecting the fact that other planets are turning around a sun which is also moving within a galaxy? And what about the dynamics of the galaxy? on and on… 
It is highly questionable that the election of an individual “target state” can be wisely made considering indivual process owners. What are the consequences of achieving a “target-state” for the rest of the organization? This is not explained by KATA. Target States are per definition contrary to the notion of an inter-dependent reality inherent to the nature of organizations / field theory. 
Until you don’t provide a quantifiable approach that describes such systemic interactions, you will not have a “unified field theory”. Until you do not provide equations that describe these interactions you will have nothing at all. 
For this reasons, chances are that the Toyota KATA and a “Unified Field Theory”, based on the notion of “Target States” such as described by Mr. Rother, becomes a Clay-Feet-Giant unable to create the necessary conditions for alignment. 
For these reasons (and some more) is KATA, as described by M. Rother, not the correct approach to create organizational alignment and cannot be used as backbone of Hoshin Kanri. 
You can contact me under @h4lean in twitter. Happy to continue the lean hard talk. 
Best Regards, J Villalba
Martin, John Levi (July 2003). "What Is Field Theory?". American Journal of Sociology. 109 (1): 1–49

LEAN HARD TALK. Kritik an KATA und Zielzustände

Beitrag vom Management Circle

Dieser Beitrag hat einen Kommentar 

Dr.-Ing. Javier Villalba-Diez

  1. Sehr geehrte Frau Blum,
    Erlauben Sie mir eine anderweitige Meinung zu vertreten. Sie sagen: „ohne KATA funktioniert kein Lean-Tool.“ Eine solche Aussage ist aus meiner Sicht zumindest riskant und wissenschaftlich gesehen höchst fragwürdig.
    KATA, verstanden als wiederholender Verhaltensmuster der durch Routinen das Lernen einprägt, ist mit Sicherheit als Befaehigungsinstrument sehr effektiv.
    Aber… KATA nicht gleich kata… Und das „KATA“ von M. Rother, basiert wie Sie beschreiben auf Ziel-Zustaende, trotz Befaehigung auf individueller Ebene, ermoeglicht nicht ein organisatorisches Alignment. Der Grund ist die Komplexitaet des Werstromnetztwerkes. Es gibt nichts in dem „KATA“ was diese Abstimmung vorsieht. Manche sagen: „Dann haben Sie doch den falschen Ziel-Zustand gesetzt!“ Und ich muss immer schmunzeln weil: wie sollten Sie Bitteschön a-priori wissen, in einem durch komplexitaetsgepraegten Wertstromnetzwerkes, wie das erreichen eines individuellen Ziel-Zustandes allen anderen wertstrom Eignern dynamisch beeinflussen wird? Unmöglich.
    KATA, wie H. Rother es beschreibt, kann aus meiner Sicht nicht die Grundvoraussetzung sein fuer den Aufbau eines Lean Systems.
    Mehr dazu erfahren Sie beim Buch The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design (Kapitel 4: Demystifying KATA).
    Wenn Sie, oder Ihre Leser, die Diskussion weiterführen wollen, erreichen Sie mich unter oder
    Beste Gruesse,
    J Villalba

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Lean Manga related to The Hoshin Kanri Forest

Related to The Hoshin Kanri Forest ( is LEAN MANGA ( in which Lean concepts are explained with Manga.

Monday, September 12, 2016

Chapter's Preview + The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design


Strategic Lean Management (LM) efforts almost always fail because Leaders often lack a map of their own organization. The reason for this might be that scholars have so far mostly provided qualitative or rigid one-size-fits-all frameworks for strategically designing organizations. The purpose of this work is to provide a comprehensive quantifiable framework for strategically designing organizations for LM. Combining knowledge about Strategic Organizational Design and LM, we introduce a novel theory called HOSHIN KANRI FOREST that considers organizations as networks with organizational structure, functional connectivity and effective dynamic patterns in the quest of attaining an optimal Strategic Organizational Design towards the strategic goal of LM. This work presents the future of Lean organizations relying on strategically designing its structure, function and effective dynamics so as to emulate nature.


Los esfuerzos estratégicos de Lean Management (LM) casi siempre fracasan porque los Leaders carecen de un mapa de su propia organización. La razón de esto puede estar en que los estudiosos de la materia han aportado hasta ahora esquemas muy rígidos para configurar el diseño de organizaciones. La intención de esta tesis doctoral es proponer un nuevo paradigma para diseñar estrategicamente organizaciones hacia LM. Combinando conocimiento de diseño organizacional estratégico y LM, introducimos una nueva teoría llamada BOSQUE de HOSHIN KANRI que considera a las organizaciones como redes con estructura organizacional, connectividad funcional y una dinámica efectiva regida por patrones para así describir una estrategia de diseño organizacional hacia el objetivo de LM. Esta tesis presenta el futuro de las organizaciones Lean basándose así en diseños estructurales, funcionales y dinámicas efectivas para así emular a la naturaleza.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design

Dear Hoshin Kanri Network,

Today, I am excited to announce the upcoming publication with Productivity Press of my new book: The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design.

This book aims to make your Hoshin Kanri experience more exciting and successful.

You can visit the Book’s Website with more related material. Book's Website The Hoshin Kanri Forest: Lean Strategic Organizational Design

On the Productivity Press Book’s page you can find more technical information about the book.

The Book will be available in the near future and closer to the publication date (probably after New Year) I will contact you again with further exciting details about why, how-to and when this concepts should be implemented.

These details depend highly on the interaction with you. For this reason, if after reviewing the chapter's preview or any of the Youtube videos for instance, you have special interest on a specific topic, just let me know. 
You know you can always reach me at for your questions or comments. I'd love to hear from you!

Please, feel free to forward this information to anyone in your network you think might be interested in this material.

I want to thank from here the Productivity Press Editorial Team (Michael, Alexandria, Iris, Adel, Michelle and many others) for the superb Team work, expertise and patient feedback throughout the editorial process.

Follow background scientific articles on Researcher Profile or the more divulgative manga on Lean Manga and videos on YouTube.


Dr. Javier Villalba-Diez


☞   ResearchLean MangaHOSHIN KANRI FORESTYouTube  ∙ Facebook

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