Breaking down Organisational Barriers with Hoshin Kanri

September 25, 2023
Breaking down Organisational Barriers with Hoshin Kanri

In any organisation, invisible barriers that hinder teamwork during operations can be a major obstacle. Isolated departments that lead to a lack of team coordination can have an adverse effect on productivity, leaving the workplace fragmented. To foster a culture of innovation and open communication, it is essential to take strategic planning and execution seriously.

Effective strategic planning is essential for an organisation to achieve its goals. It helps to outline a clear vision, identify potential obstacles, and create a roadmap for success. With the help of digital strategic execution software like Hoshin Kanri x matrix, you can achieve greater success. Let's explore how Hoshin Kanri, a strategic approach can be a powerful solution to organisational barriers and drive collaborative efforts within business environments.

Decoding Organisational Barriers

Organisational barriers are structural or cultural obstacles that can negatively impact the organisation's productivity. These barriers can hinder collaboration and efficiency, where different teams or departments work independently with little to no communication or coordination. For example, a lack of inter-departmental communication in a manufacturing company can lead to production delays due to misalignment between procurement and production schedules. Companies can unlock their full potential and drive innovation by fostering an open and inclusive culture where all employees are encouraged to share their ideas and analyses. Hoshin Kanri can avoid possible monopolies in strategic decision-making and establish collaborative results for organisational growth.

Hoshin Kanri - A better way to Plan and Execute your Strategy

Hoshin Kanri, also known as "Policy Deployment" or "Hoshin Planning," is a strategic management methodology that originated in Japan. It was first developed in the 1950s by a Japanese professor Yoji Akao, to align an organisation's strategic goals with its daily activities and actions. The term "Hoshin Kanri '' translates to "compass management" or "direction management," reflecting its purpose of providing a clear direction and focus for an organisation’s efforts. Hoshin Kanri approach aims to ensure that everyone within the organisation understands and works toward achieving the same strategic objectives, fostering a culture of continuous improvement and alignment throughout the entire organisation.

Why should you Overcome Organisational Barriers?

Overcoming organisational barriers can unlock numerous benefits for any institution. It is important to address any obstacles that may hinder progress and success in an organisation. These barriers, often recognised as communication gaps, rigid hierarchies, or resistance to change, hinder collaboration and efficiency. By addressing these obstacles, organisations can foster a culture of open communication and collaboration, leading to improved innovation, streamlined workflows, enhanced productivity, and better employee morale. Additionally, breaking down these barriers enables organisations to align their teams with strategic goals, stay adaptable in dynamic markets, and achieve sustainable growth and success.

5 Ways Hoshin Kanri breaks down Organisational Barriers

Hoshin Kanri, as a strategic management methodology, offers a structured approach to breaking down organisational barriers by addressing key aspects of an organisation's functioning.

1. Strategic Clarity: Setting Clear Objectives and Priorities

Hoshin Kanri emphasises the importance of setting clear strategic objectives, often referred to as "Hoshins." These objectives provide a shared vision for the entire organisation, ensuring everyone understands their role in achieving the goals. This clarity helps break down the barrier of misalignment and ensures that everyone is moving in the same direction.

2. Data-Driven Decision-Making: Harnessing Information for Action

Hoshin Kanri uses Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to drive decision-making. By relying on data, organisations can make informed choices rather than relying on gut feelings or intuition. This data-driven approach improves decision-making and strategy effectiveness.

3. Employee Empowerment: Involving Your Team in the Process

Hoshin Kanri promotes a culture of employee empowerment and engagement. It encourages organisations to involve employees at all levels in the strategic planning and execution process. This involvement helps break down hierarchical barriers and ensures that valuable insights and ideas from employees are incorporated into the strategic direction, ultimately achieving True North.

4. Continuous Improvement: The Kaizen Approach to Problem Solving

The Kaizen philosophy, an integral part of Hoshin Kanri, focuses on continuous improvement. By constantly seeking ways to optimise processes and eliminate waste, organisations can break down barriers which result in inefficiencies. This commitment to improvement ensures that the organisation remains adaptable and responsive in a dynamic environment.

5. Accountability and Monitoring: Ensuring Progress and Adaptation

Hoshin Kanri emphasises accountability and monitoring to track progress toward strategic objectives. Regular reviews and check-ins ensure that teams are on track and adjustments can be made as needed. This aspect helps break down barriers related to complacency and provides a framework for ongoing adaptation and improvement.

How is Hoshin Kanri deployed?

  1. Gain Leadership Commitment: Begin by gaining commitment from top leadership within the organisation. Without strong support from leadership, the implementation may face resistance or lack the necessary resources.
  2. Forming a Cross-Functional Team: Form cross-functional teams representing various departments and levels within the organisation. These teams will play a crucial role in identifying and addressing barriers.
  3. Identifying the Barriers: Conduct a thorough assessment to identify existing organisational barriers. This involves gathering employee insights, analysing data, and identifying areas where collaboration is lacking or efficiency is compromised.
  4. Setting Strategic Objectives: Set clear strategic objectives (Hoshins) to break down these identified barriers. These objectives should align with the organisation's long-term goals.
  5. Cascading the Objectives: Communicate these strategic objectives throughout the organisation. Ensure that every department and individual understands how their work contributes to achieving these objectives.
  6. Implementing the Catchball Process: Implement the "Catchball" process, which involves a back-and-forth dialogue between leadership and teams. This process encourages feedback, input, and refinement of the objectives, fostering collaboration.
  7. Developing Action PlansDevelop detailed action plans that outline specific steps, responsibilities, and timelines for achieving the Hoshin objectives. Each action plan should address a specific barrier.
  8. Ensuring Employee Engagement: Engage employees at all levels by involving them in the action planning and problem-solving processes. Their perspectives and expertise are valuable in breaking down barriers.
  9. Monitoring Progress: Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) to track progress toward the Hoshin objectives. Regularly monitor and review these KPIs to ensure that actions are on track.
  10. Adapting and adjusting accordingly: Be prepared to adapt and adjust the action plans as needed. Organisational barriers may evolve or change, and the process should be flexible enough to address new challenges.

Comparing Hoshin Kanri with other Strategic Deployment measures

  1. Hoshin Kanri vs. Balanced Scorecard: The Balanced Scorecard (BSC) framework transforms an organisation's strategy into measurable Key Performance Indicators (KPIs). While Hoshin Kanri also uses KPIs, it places a stronger emphasis on action plans and continuous improvement as a means to achieve strategic objectives.
  2. Hoshin Kanri vs. OKRs (Objectives and Key Results): OKRs are a goal-setting framework popularised by tech companies. They prioritise setting clear, measurable objectives and tracking key results. Hoshin Kanri shares this emphasis but includes a more comprehensive planning and alignment process that engages the entire organisation.
  3. Hoshin Kanri vs. Six Sigma: Six Sigma primarily focuses on process improvement and reducing variation to enhance quality. While Hoshin Kanri incorporates elements of continuous improvement (Kaizen), its primary goal is to align an organisation's strategic objectives with its daily operations and break down organisational barriers.
  4. Hoshin Kanri vs. Agile Methodologies: Agile methodologies like Scrum and Kanban prioritise adaptability and responsiveness to changing market conditions. While Hoshin Kanri can be adapted for agility, its core focus is aligning strategic objectives with operational activities and fostering a culture of collaboration.
  5. Hoshin Kanri vs. Kanban: Kanban is a visual project management and workflow system that helps teams manage work in progress efficiently. It provides transparency into the flow of work, promotes continuous delivery, and minimises bottlenecks. While Kanban primarily optimises workflow and process efficiency, Hoshin Kanri is a more comprehensive strategic planning and deployment framework.

Hoshin Kanri is a powerful tool in the pursuit of organisational excellence. By fostering strategic clarity, data-driven decision-making, employee empowerment, continuous improvement, and accountability, it not only helps organisations break down barriers but also propels them toward their strategic goals. Manufacturers implementing Hoshin Kanri can use it as a guiding compass for strategic initiatives, resulting in smoother operations, greater efficiency, and sustained growth. In the face of modern complexities, Hoshin Kanri provides a structured approach to navigate, adapt and embark on a transformative journey towards becoming a barrier-free and successful organisation.

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