Spring Spotlight: Creating the Purposeful Enterprise
Explore the best practices and insights examining this essential element of lean transformation in this and other articles in this occasional series.
More than anything, hoshin kanri (HK) is a means of connecting the macro with the micro. This enables you to see the highest levels of organizational objectives being worked at the micro levels, and to understand corporate front-line (micro-level) capabilities, creativity, and struggles at the highest levels.
John Shook, 2013 letter about Policy Deployment
When Tracey Richardson worked at Toyota the company used its True North statement as a “guiding beacon,” she says. This clear articulation of purpose tied every single person’s daily work to a broader purpose, in both a general sense and in a grounded, operational manner.
Above all workers could sense a tangible–and essential–“Line of Sight” linking their work to the purpose of the company. In What is Your Line of Sight?, Tracey shares an example of how an effective True North definition creates that connection: “We will always put the Customer first, while making the highest quality product, at the lowest cost, in the shortest lead time, in the safest manner, all while respecting our people.”
This phrase steered away from being too results-oriented (such as aspiring to “be Number One in the market.”) Rather, its aspirational goals informed operating principles, and enabled people to visualize the key performance indicators such as quality, cost, productivity, safety, and human resources. Awareness of how they were performing on these areas drove the company to improve its processes; which in turn boosted the results that people focused on. Tracey calls this work “evolutionary, meaning that if you achieve the lowest cost, you can then raise the bar and continue to improve.”
Hoshin Kanri Remotely: Aligning and Executing on Your Organizational Objectives
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