Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control


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A number of general principles underlie this method.


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Of utmost importance is participation by all managers in defining the vision for the company as well as in implementing the plans developed to reach the vision. Related to this is what the Japanese call "catchball," which means a process of lateral and vertical communication that continues until understanding and agreement is assured. Another principle is individual initiative and responsibility. Each manager sets his own monthly and yearly targets and then integrates them with others.

Related to this principle is a focus on the process rather than strictly on reaching the target and a dedication to root cause analysis. A final principle that is applied in Japan-but apparently not in the United States-is that when applying hoshin planning, there is no tie to performance reviews or other personnel measures.

In its simplest form, hoshin planning consists of a plan, execution, and audit. In a more elaborated form it includes a long-range plan five to ten years , a detailed one-year plan, deployment to departments, execution, and regular diagnostic audits, including an annual audit by the CEO. The long-range vision begins with the top executive and his staff, but is modified with input from all managers. The purpose is to determine where the company wants to be at that future point in time, given its current position, its strengths and weaknesses, the voice of the customer, and other aspects of the business environment in which it operates.

Beyond stating the goal, this long-range plan also identifies the steps that must be taken to reach it. It focuses on the vital few strategic gaps that must be closed over the time period being planned.

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Once the plan has been drafted, it is sent to all managers for their review and critique. The object is to get many perspectives on the plan. The review process also has the effect of increasing buy-in to the final plan. This process is easier in Japanese companies than in most U. Once the long-range vision is in place, the annual plan is created.

The vital few areas for change that were identified in the vision are translated into steps to be taken this year.


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Again, this process involves lateral and vertical communication among managers. The targets are selected using criteria such as feasibility and contribution to the long-term goals. The targets are stated in simple terms with clearly measurable goals. Some companies and authors refer to such an annual target as a hoshin. Most companies set no more than three such targets, but others establish as many as eight.

Not all departments are necessarily involved in every hoshin during a given year. The targets are chosen for the sake of the long-term goals, not for involvement for its own sake. Once the targets, including the basic metrics for each, are established, the plan is deployed throughout the company.

This is the heart of hoshin planning. Each hoshin has some sort of measurable target. Top-level managers, having discussed it with their subordinates earlier in the process, commit to a specific contribution to that target, and then their subordinates develop their own plans to reach that contribution, including appropriate metrics. Plans are deployed to lower levels in the same way see Figure 1. An important principle here is that those who have to implement the plan design the plan.

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In addition to the lower level targets, the means and resources required are determined. Catchball plays an important role here. A key element of the hoshin discipline is the horizontal and vertical alignment of the many separate plans that are developed. All ambiguities are clarified, and conflicting targets or means are negotiated. The final step in deploying the hoshin is rolling up the separate plans and targets to ensure that they are sufficient to reach the company-wide target.


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  4. If not, more work is done to reconcile the difference. The best-laid plans can come to naught if they are not properly executed. In terms of TQM, the execution phase is where hoshin management hands responsibility over to daily management. The strategies identified in the plan become part of the daily operation of the company.

    If the process has been done properly, all employees know what has to be done at their level to reach the top-level goals and thereby move the company toward the future described in the long-term vision. Essential to hoshin planning is the periodic diagnostic audit, most often done on a monthly basis. Each manager evaluates the progress made toward his own targets, and these reports are rolled up the organization to give feedback on the process to the highest levels.

    Successes and failures are examined at every level, and corrective action is taken as necessary.

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    If it becomes apparent that something is seriously amiss in the execution, because of a significant change in the situation or perhaps a mistake in the planning phase, the plan may be adjusted and the change communicated up and down the organizational structure as necessary. The audit is a diagnostic review, an opportunity for mid-course corrections and not a time for marking up a scorecard.

    Strategic Management Process - Meaning, Steps and Components

    At the end of the year, the CEO makes an annual diagnostic review of the entire plan, focusing not only on the overall success or failure, but also on the entire process, including the planning phase. The results of this audit become part of the input for the next annual plan, along with the five-to-ten-year plan and changes in the internal or external business environment.

    Although full implementation of hoshin planning in a large organization takes considerable effort, it is recognized as having many advantages over traditional business planning. The discipline of Figure 4 hoshin planning uncovers the vital few changes that need to be made and ties them to strategic action.

    It transmits the signals from top management to the rest of the organization in a form that can bring about change at every level. It is participative: the individuals that have to implement the plans have input into their design. Perhaps most importantly, it focuses on the process rather than just the result.

    Strategic planning - Wikipedia

    This includes continual improvement of the hoshin planning process itself. Organizations that persist in this method over a period of a few years report great benefits from its use. Howard Distelzweig and. Revised by Gerhard Plenert. Babich, Peter.

    Hoshin Handbook. Bechtell, Michele L. Collins, Brendan, and Ernest Huge. Collins, James C.

    Goldstein, Leonard D. Nolan, and J. William Pfeiffer. Harrison, Roger, and Herb Stokes. Diagnosing Organizational Culture. San Francisco: Pfeiffer, King, Bob. Hoshin Planning: the Developmental Approach.

    Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control
    Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control
    Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control
    Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control
    Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control
    Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control
    Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control Strategy for Action – II: Strategy Formulation, Development, and Control

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