Managing to Connect the Macro with the Micro
“Just do like I told you and hit your objectives,” said the first executive. “Just do what you think best,” said the second executive.
It is well accepted by now that "lean thinking and practice" is more than just a kit of process improvement tools. That's what has always separated the practice of lean thinking from the various process improvement models that have come and gone over the past few decades, such as total quality management, six sigma, business process reengineering. Those toolkits were exactly that: toolkits to improve processes.
lean thinking and practice begins - as does all systems thinking - with defining purpose or aim. What is the aim of this business, this system (this company, this value stream, this piece of work)? What problem are we trying to solve? What performance do we need to improve? Lean management addresses those questions and tackles them through PDCA, the Shewhart-Deming Plan – Do – Check – Act cycle.
One of the well-known processes of Lean management is “policy deployment” – aka hoshin kanri. Perhaps the most common misconception about hoshin kanri is that it’s a top-down “deployment” process, a relatively straightforward prioritization activity in which the objectives of senior management are “deployed” throughout the organization.
Such “policy deployment” may be a good first step, but mature hoshin kanri is a much more dynamic process, in which lower levels of the organization don’t just execute strategy but help to formulate it. As your lean transformation matures, policy deployment should evolve into “strategy alignment.” It should become a top-down, bottom-up, middle-out process that meshes problems that are technical and social in nature with solutions that are … both social and technical.
“I did as you told me and missed my objectives,” said the manager. “Do better next time, said the executive,” replied the executive. “Yeah, but…how?” thought the manager.
Hoshin Kanri - Aligning Your Organizational Objectives
This workshop will help leaders understand Policy Deployment as a process for "de-selecting" initiatives down to the ones the organization can really achieve while aligning them with company strategic objectives and deploying them down through the organizational ranks.
Let's Celebrate Work
Is your work meaningful or menial? LEI Senior Advisor John Shook challenges us to aim to make all work meaningful by building our businesses based on the work itself and prioritizing the means over the ends.
Fundamentals Redux--An Appreciation of Kaizen Express
Kaizen Express is the expression of an approach to kaizen that is at once a return to basics while at the same time emphasizing the centrality of individual and team learning, says John Shook. This resource is grounded in the belief that the thinking of TPS can only be achieved through doing.
Lean Enterprise Institute Responds to The Wall Street Journal's Mischaracterization of Just-in-Time
A message from LEI to the Lean Community