While hoshin kanri is a process that provides a structured way to implement change in an organization, coaching strengthens that process by helping leaders and team members adopt the mindset and practices that ensure success.
Seemingly easy to understand but challenging to achieve, here are five areas where a coach will help leaders execute a successful organizational transformation.
Learn from, Don’t Denigrate, the Past
There are many ways to tackle a strategic planning process – each is valid for a specific business context. Indeed, the approach that was used in the past had its time and purpose. We must learn from that previous process and build on it, not discredit it. The hoshin kanri process provides a way to use the knowledge gained from earlier attempts as a platform upon which to build the next iteration. When we are dissatisfied with the current state (for whatever reason) and seek a different way to look at the company and shape its future in a changing environment, hoshin kanri offers a collaborative way to think deeply about the situation, build on common ground, and forge a path forward.
Make it Personal through Practice
Lean transformation of an enterprise requires that all people, at all levels, learn to solve problems collaboratively. Executive teams engaged in a hoshin kanri process lead the organization by example, demonstrating the process required to build capability. We know that in learning a new skill, there is no substitute for practice. When the team members see their leaders “walking the talk,” they become more willing to follow the process. Through this consistent practice, both leaders and team members build intrinsic motivation. Coaching reinforces this need to practice the process, which, in turn, makes the process personal and ensures it inspires a move to action from within.
Lean transformation of an enterprise requires that all people, at all levels, learn to solve problems collaboratively.
Build Trust through Facts
Building trust requires the courage to have honest, open communications. Generating a certain level of discomfort is necessary to shift the conversation to the crux of the matter, exposing sore points and eliciting uneasiness with the status quo without assigning blame. Relying on the cold–heartedness of facts to make problems visible allows for an honest, dispassionate analysis of the situation, which, in turn, enables teams to reach a consensus.
Balance Dissatisfaction with Inspiration
The leader facilitating the hoshin kanri process is continually walking a thin line between creating dissatisfaction with the current situation and offering a healthy dose of inspiration with a vision of the future. Facilitators of every step in the process must enable the team members to passionately engage so it doesn’t become stale, lifeless. They must remind the group to “go hard on the system, but soft on people.”
A leader’s role is to support the team in balancing analysis, discovery, ideation, and consensus-building. The coach’s role is to support the executive to improve self-awareness and reflection.
Deploy Strategy, Coach at All Levels
Hoshin kanri is a strategy deployment process that links the company True North with execution plans at all levels of the organization. Naturally, there is a need for coaching lower levels through the functional deployment of the corporate hoshin in succeeding iterations of collaborative discovery. By extending coaching throughout the organization, the experience and knowledge gained during the hoshin process are passed on to others via learning by doing. A process brings the hoshin to life and makes it relevant and appealing to all people involved. Clarity of purpose and what needs to happen is achieved in cycles of refinement.
Coach for Personal Growth
If transformation comes through personal growth, then the coaching that supports hoshin kanri should focus on helping leaders become teachers and coaches who are committed to both self-development and the development of others. Among the most important coaching points are the following:
- Understand the importance of humility and hard work, and how to be comfortable realizing and admitting how much you need to learn and commit to doing the hard work and experimentation.
- Recognize the fear of change for what it is, the fear of the unknown, and how to face it and help others do so, as well.
- Trust that enhancing your team members’ skills and abilities is the key to achieving organizational success, and learn how to facilitate their personal and professional growth.
- Realize the fundamental differences between the process that led to the current state and how to leverage that knowledge to achieve the desired future state.
- Understand that learning by doing is essential to build deep understanding through shared experience.
- Appreciate how focusing on facts builds trust and learn how to shift the conversation back to the facts, reflect, and share back with the team.
- Acknowledge the difficulties of staying the course and learn how to embrace the process, and commit to self-development.
Aligning and Executing on Your Organizational Objectives.