My Preferred Method for Engaging Change


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What makes Hoshin so unique over other planning methods is the effort that is put into the cascading effect of the Hoshin plan. This effect is called “Catchball”. Catchball drives the strategic planning process into every level of the organization and every employee and provides them the opportunity to define how they will contribute to that success.

Catchball(PDCA) works like this:

  • (Plan) Leaders set the strategies and targets. The team members, made up of the people closest to the work to be improved, put a plan together to make it happen. Ideas are tossed back in forth and open debate is encouraged and expected. Agreement is reached and a plan comes together with a defined course of action and responsibilities.
  • (Do) Continuing dialogue takes place. “Are we on track? Do we have the time and other resources required? What are we learning that needs to be incorporated into the plan?” Changes are made as a result of this dialogue.
  • (Check) The leader or the preceding layer monitors and is responsible for the outcome. The leader resolves confusion and helps at key points acting very much like both a coach and a manager during the process.
  • (Act) Continuous review and discussion will keep the team on target. The goals are accomplished as a result of interaction not because of a prescribed method.

HeirarchyThis is the secret of Hoshin Kanri and I believe the preferred method for engaging change. Most processes are built around the existing organizational structure depicted in the top of the picture. Targets and measures are set and many times a mandate on how we will achieve them. Hoshin Kanri through the use of catchball develops a more collaborative structure (depicted on bottom left) and as a result an easier method for change and even more importantly sustainability.

This is not about relinquishing control. It is about gaining more control over implementation. Collaboration does not insure the best answer gets enacted. It typically insures that something does get enacted. It takes away that paralysis from planning. No longer are we trying to gather buy-in to get something accomplished, but rather change is being driven from the bottom up with a sense of joint accountability. The best answer becomes the best implementable action. Eventually through continuous improvement a better answer will surface than was originally conceived.

Recently, I have been challenging the traditional hierarchy of organizations. I have found it limiting when trying to develop new collaborative structures internally and externally. Dan Pink provides a nice example on an empirical basis.

(Video is an excerpt from Daniel Pink’s TED-Global talk of July 2009.) The members of many companies today practice routines related to traditional, formulaic management concepts like “ROI decision making” and “management by results,” but such routines — and the mindsets and organization culture they produce — may not be well suited for today’s crowded, less-predictable marketplaces.

Paul Yandell is a manufacturing and supply chain specialist with strong skills in identifying and eliminating waste and improving operational performance. His particular strengths are building infrastructure to support turnaround and growth situations, building and leading teams in total quality environments and he is bilingual (Spanish).

Podcast: Transforming Lean thru Middle Managers   eBook: Leading Lean from the Middle

Patrick Lencioni pinpoints the issue of group behavior in the final book of his popular corporate fables trilogy. The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable tells a story and teaches lessons about using leadership to inspire real teamwork.

Patrick has a complete Five Dysfunctions of a Team Workshop Deluxe Facilitator’s Guide Package that is outstanding and can be a great start for not only sales and marketing but your entire organization.

Republished with author's permission from original post.

Joseph Dager
Business901 is a firm specializing in bringing the continuous improvement process to the sales and marketing arena. He has authored the books the Lean Marketing House, Marketing with A3 and Marketing with PDCA. The Business901 Blog and Podcast includes many leading edge thinkers and has been featured numerous times for its contributions to the Bloomberg's Business Week Exchange.


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