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.