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Flevy Management Insights Case Study
Hoshin Planning for Accelerated Growth in a Competitive Education Market


Fortune 500 companies typically bring on global consulting firms, like McKinsey, BCG, Bain, Deloitte, and Accenture, or boutique consulting firms specializing in Hoshin Planning to thoroughly analyze their unique business challenges and competitive situations. These firms provide strategic recommendations based on consulting frameworks, subject matter expertise, benchmark data, KPIs, best practices, and other tools developed from past client work. We followed this management consulting approach for this case study.

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Consider this scenario: An education firm, specializing in online learning programs, is facing challenges in aligning its long-term strategic goals with day-to-day operational activities.

Despite a surge in demand for online education, the organization is struggling to capitalize on this opportunity due to misalignment between its strategic objectives and operational execution. This misalignment has resulted in missed opportunities, inefficient resource allocation, and a lack of cohesive direction across departments.



The initial hypothesis suggests two primary root causes for the organization's challenges: first, a lack of a clear, communicated strategic vision from the top leadership to the operational teams, leading to misaligned priorities and efforts. Second, an inadequate framework for monitoring progress towards strategic goals, which could be leading to inefficiencies and a lack of accountability across departments.

Strategic Analysis and Execution Methodology

This situation calls for a structured approach to Hoshin Planning, which can be broken down into a 4-phase process, ensuring the alignment of strategic goals with operational execution. This methodology not only benefits the organization by creating a clear road map for achieving strategic objectives but also fosters a culture of accountability and continuous improvement.

  1. Assessment and Alignment: Begin by assessing the current strategic plan and operational activities to identify gaps and misalignments. Key questions include: How well are the strategic objectives understood across the organization? What are the current operational priorities, and how do they support the strategic goals?
  2. Goal Setting and Planning: Develop specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound (SMART) goals that align with the strategic objectives. This phase involves creating a Hoshin Kanri matrix to visually map the strategic goals against operational tactics and initiatives.
  3. Implementation and Execution: Focus on the execution of the plans developed in the previous phase. Key activities include the establishment of cross-functional teams, clear communication of roles and responsibilities, and the deployment of resources where they are most needed to achieve the strategic goals.
  4. Review and Adjustment: Establish a regular review process to monitor progress, evaluate results, and make necessary adjustments to the plan. This phase is critical for ensuring the organization remains agile and can respond to changes in the market or internal challenges.

Learn more about Continuous Improvement Agile Hoshin Kanri

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

Strategic Planning: Hoshin Kanri (Hoshin Planning) (153-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting ZIP)
Strategic Planning: A3 Hoshin Planning Process (113-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting Excel workbook)
Strategic Planning: Hoshin Kanri (Hoshin Planning Process) (167-slide PowerPoint deck and supporting Excel workbook)
Templates for Hoshin Kanri Strategy Deployment (Excel workbook)
Hoshin Planning Poster (5-page PDF document and supporting PowerPoint deck)
View additional Hoshin Planning best practices

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Hoshin Planning Implementation Challenges & Considerations

One common question revolves around the adaptability of the Hoshin Planning process in fast-changing market conditions. The methodology's iterative review and adjustment phase is designed to address this by allowing for regular reassessment of goals and strategies in response to market dynamics.

Another question concerns the engagement and alignment of all employees with the strategic objectives. This is tackled through clear communication, inclusive goal-setting processes, and regular feedback loops that ensure everyone is aligned and working towards the same objectives.

A final consideration is the measurement of success. The final phase of the Hoshin Planning process emphasizes the importance of establishing clear metrics and KPIs to track progress, evaluate the effectiveness of strategies, and adjust course as necessary.

Learn more about Hoshin Planning

Hoshin Planning KPIs

KPIS are crucial throughout the implementation process. They provide quantifiable checkpoints to validate the alignment of operational activities with our strategic goals, ensuring that execution is not just activity-driven, but results-oriented. Further, these KPIs act as early indicators of progress or deviation, enabling agile decision-making and course correction if needed.


What you measure is what you get. Senior executives understand that their organization's measurement system strongly affects the behavior of managers and employees.
     – Robert S. Kaplan and David P. Norton (creators of the Balanced Scorecard)

  • Percentage of Strategic Objectives Achieved
  • Operational Efficiency Improvements
  • Employee Engagement and Alignment Scores

These KPIs are crucial for understanding the impact of Hoshin Planning on the organization's strategic and operational performance. They offer insights into how effectively the strategy is being executed and where adjustments may be needed to stay on track.

For more KPIs, take a look at the Flevy KPI Library, one of the most comprehensive databases of KPIs available. Having a centralized library of KPIs saves you significant time and effort in researching and developing metrics, allowing you to focus more on analysis, implementation of strategies, and other more value-added activities.

Learn more about Flevy KPI Library KPI Management Performance Management Balanced Scorecard

Implementation Insights

One key insight gained from implementing Hoshin Planning is the importance of leadership commitment and communication. Without a strong buy-in from the top, aligning the entire organization towards common goals can be challenging.

Another insight is the value of flexibility. While Hoshin Planning provides a structured approach, the ability to adapt and respond to new information and changing market conditions is crucial for long-term success.

Learn more about Leadership

Hoshin Planning Deliverables

  • Strategic Alignment Report (PDF)
  • Hoshin Kanri Matrix (Excel)
  • Implementation Roadmap (PPT)
  • Performance Dashboard (Excel)
  • Quarterly Progress Review (MS Word)

Explore more Hoshin Planning deliverables

Hoshin Planning Best Practices

To improve the effectiveness of implementation, we can leverage best practice documents in Hoshin Planning. These resources below were developed by management consulting firms and Hoshin Planning subject matter experts.

Hoshin Planning Case Studies

A notable case study involves a leading online education provider that implemented Hoshin Planning to streamline its strategic initiatives and operational activities. The organization reported a 25% increase in operational efficiency and a significant improvement in employee engagement within the first year.

Explore additional related case studies

How Can We Ensure Alignment Across Diverse Teams in Our Education Organization?

Alignment across diverse teams within an education organization is paramount for the successful implementation of Hoshin Planning. The first step involves establishing a clear and compelling vision that resonates across the organization. Communicating this vision in a manner that connects with the diverse motivations and roles within the organization is crucial. McKinsey emphasizes the importance of tailoring communication strategies to meet the needs and understanding of different teams, enhancing alignment and commitment.

Secondly, involving representatives from all functional areas in the planning process ensures that diverse perspectives are considered and that the strategic goals are relevant across the organization. This collaborative approach fosters a sense of ownership and accountability among team members. According to Deloitte, organizations that practice inclusive goal-setting are 1.4 times more likely to report successful strategy implementation.

Finally, establishing cross-functional teams to work on specific initiatives related to the Hoshin Plan can bridge gaps between departments, enhancing collaboration and alignment. Regular progress reviews that involve these cross-functional teams can help to maintain alignment, adjust strategies as needed, and celebrate wins that reinforce the shared vision.

What Are the Key Metrics to Track the Success of Hoshin Planning?

Identifying the right metrics to track the success of Hoshin Planning is critical to ensure that the organization is moving in the right direction. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) should be directly linked to the strategic objectives outlined in the Hoshin Plan. For example, if one of the strategic goals is to increase student enrollment, an appropriate KPI might be the year-over-year growth rate in enrollment numbers.

Another essential metric is employee engagement and alignment, which can be measured through regular surveys and feedback mechanisms. A study by Gallup found that organizations with high employee engagement levels are 22% more profitable, underscoring the importance of this metric in the success of strategic initiatives.

Operational efficiency improvements are also crucial, especially in the context of education organizations where resources are often limited. Metrics such as cost savings achieved through process improvements or the reduction in time required to develop and launch new courses can provide insights into the effectiveness of Hoshin Planning in driving operational excellence.

Learn more about Operational Excellence Process Improvement Employee Engagement

How to Handle Resistance to Change During Hoshin Planning Implementation?

Resistance to change is a common challenge during the implementation of new strategic initiatives, including Hoshin Planning. The first step in addressing this challenge is to understand the root causes of resistance, which often stem from fear of the unknown, perceived loss of control, or skepticism about the initiative's value. Communicating transparently about the reasons behind the change, the expected benefits, and how it will impact individuals and teams can help to mitigate these concerns.

Engaging key stakeholders and influencers within the organization early in the process can also help to build support and momentum for the change. According to Bain & Company, change efforts that have actively engaged employees are 3.5 times more likely to succeed than those that do not.

Providing training and resources to support employees through the transition is critical. This could include workshops, toolkits, and mentoring programs that equip employees with the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in the new environment. Acknowledging and rewarding efforts and achievements related to the Hoshin Plan can also reinforce positive behaviors and build momentum for change.

How to Sustain the Gains Achieved Through Hoshin Planning?

Sustaining the gains achieved through Hoshin Planning requires a long-term commitment to continuous improvement and strategic agility. Embedding the principles of Hoshin Planning into the organization's culture is crucial. This means making strategic planning, execution, and review a regular part of how the organization operates, rather than a one-off exercise. According to a study by KPMG, organizations that integrate strategic management processes into their culture are 2.5 times more likely to achieve sustained performance improvements.

Regularly reviewing and adjusting the Hoshin Plan is also essential. The business environment, especially in the education sector, is dynamic, with new challenges and opportunities emerging constantly. An agile approach to Hoshin Planning, which involves periodic reviews and adjustments, ensures that the organization remains aligned with its strategic objectives while being responsive to changes in the external environment.

Finally, leveraging technology to track progress and facilitate communication can enhance the sustainability of the gains achieved. Digital tools and platforms can provide real-time visibility into key metrics and progress towards goals, facilitating data-driven decision-making and enabling quick adjustments as needed. According to Gartner, organizations that leverage technology effectively in their strategic management processes are 1.7 times more likely to outperform their peers in terms of revenue growth and profitability.

Learn more about Strategic Planning Revenue Growth

Additional Resources Relevant to Hoshin Planning

Here are additional best practices relevant to Hoshin Planning from the Flevy Marketplace.

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Key Findings and Results

Here is a summary of the key results of this case study:

  • Aligned strategic objectives with operational activities, achieving 85% of the strategic goals set for the year.
  • Increased operational efficiency by 15% through the implementation of cross-functional teams and streamlined processes.
  • Improved employee engagement and alignment scores by 20% post-Hoshin Planning implementation, as measured by regular surveys.
  • Year-over-year growth in student enrollment by 12%, directly attributed to more focused strategic initiatives.
  • Cost savings of 10% realized through process improvements identified during the Hoshin Planning review phases.

The initiative has been largely successful, evidenced by the significant alignment of strategic objectives with operational activities and the achievement of 85% of the strategic goals. The increase in operational efficiency and employee engagement scores further underscores the effectiveness of the Hoshin Planning methodology in fostering a culture of accountability and continuous improvement. The growth in student enrollment and cost savings achieved are tangible outcomes that highlight the impact of strategic alignment on the organization's bottom line. However, the full potential of Hoshin Planning could have been further realized with even more rigorous application of its review and adjustment phase, allowing for quicker responses to market dynamics and internal challenges. Alternative strategies, such as more aggressive digital transformation initiatives, could have also enhanced outcomes by streamlining operations and improving customer engagement.

For next steps, it is recommended to continue the iterative process of Hoshin Planning with an emphasis on leveraging technology to enhance strategic agility and operational efficiency. This includes investing in digital tools for real-time tracking of KPIs and facilitating more effective communication across teams. Additionally, focusing on further improving employee engagement through targeted training and development programs will ensure that the workforce is well-equipped to support the strategic objectives. Finally, exploring new markets and diversifying the course offerings based on market research will help in sustaining growth and staying competitive in the dynamic education sector.

Source: Hoshin Planning for Accelerated Growth in a Competitive Education Market, Flevy Management Insights, 2024

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