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Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, once famously opined, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." This statement essentially captures the essence of Hoshin Kanri, a comprehensive and systematic approach to Strategic Planning.

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Flevy Management Insights: Hoshin Kanri


Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, once famously opined, "Good business leaders create a vision, articulate the vision, passionately own the vision, and relentlessly drive it to completion." This statement essentially captures the essence of Hoshin Kanri, a comprehensive and systematic approach to Strategic Planning.

Understanding Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri, also known as Policy Deployment, is a management method that originated in Japan in the 1960s. Its primary objective is to ensure that the strategic goals of a company drive progress and action at every level within the company. Hoshin Kanri has its roots in the philosophy of "Total Quality Management" and leans heavily on other methodologies like Lean and Six Sigma for its implementation.

Principles of Hoshin Kanri

Effective implementation of Hoshin Kanri is built around four fundamental principles:

  1. Focus - Hoshin Kanri ensures that the organization is focused on the same goals. By aligning efforts and actions across all levels, companies can prevent wasted resources and efforts caused by conflicting objectives.
  2. Alignment - Hoshin Kanri requires total alignment of all operations with the company’s strategy. From top management to the frontline workers, everyone should understand and be working towards the same goals. Communication is key.
  3. Accountability - Accountability is at the heart of Hoshin Kanri. Each individual within the organization should know their responsibilities and tasks and their part in achieving the goals.
  4. Rigorous review process - Regular and rigorous examination of the process is incidentally a large part of the Hoshin Kanri process. Continuous checks ensure alignment and help in spotting deviations early.

Benefits of Hoshin Kanri

The systematic and goal-oriented approach of Hoshin Kanri provides a host of benefits for organizations:

The Role of Leadership in Hoshin Kanri

Implementing Hoshin Kanri requires the considerable involvement of top management. Leadership plays a vital role in setting the strategic trajectory of the company - the vision and the goals. They are also responsible for implementation, driving the alignment of processes, and setting up review processes.

Key Challenges and Best Practices

Like any Strategic Planning tool, Hoshin Kanri comes with its set of challenges. These can range from navigating a complex planning cascade to dealing with the difficulty in adjusting the plan based on changing business realities. Leading companies combat these challenges by adopting a few best practices:

In essence, Hoshin Kanri offers a solid framework for aligning organizational initiatives, resources, and actions with the strategic goals, ultimately leading to improved Performance Management, Operational Excellence, and a purposeful march towards the company vision.

For effective implementation, take a look at these Hoshin Kanri best practices:


Explore related management topics: Operational Excellence Quality Management Strategic Planning Performance Management Six Sigma Policy Deployment Best Practices Strategy Deployment & Execution Strategy Development A3 Strategic Thinking Lean Six Sigma Black Belt




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