Newsletter – October, 2013

On My Mind

There is growing interest in Japanese-style Hoshin Kanri in the United States. Hoshin Kanri, also known as Policy Deployment and Policy Management, is a strategic improvement system that originated in Japan in the 1960s. It has been implemented in numerous organizations worldwide and is one of the four core components of TQM along with Cross-Functional Management, Daily Management, and Small Group Activities. Strategic Management activities typically precede Hoshin Kanri activities each year in practicing organizations leading to widespread organizational actions. Some of the Hoshin Kanri roots can be traced to the “Specification > Production > Inspection” control cycle described by Walter A. Shewhart in his classic 1939 book. Peter Drucker’s work on objectives—which led to the popularity of Management by Objectives (MBO)—also influenced Hoshin Kanri. One way Hoshin Kanri differs from MBO is that a Hoshin Kanri policy is composed of an objective (target/goal) and the strategies (means) to accomplish the objective. Both objectives and strategies are deployed throughout the organization during the Hoshin Kanri process. The research I conducted on four Deming Prize winning Indian organizations revealed some advice for beginners: keep the process simple at first; focus on a small number of objectives; make sure senior executives lead; train and involve all employees; link Hoshin Kanri activities to employee development; conduct regular reviews; and learn from other organizations, but don’t copy them. You can learn more about Hoshin Kanri by reading my Policy Deployment research paper located behind the RESEARCH tab on this website homepage.

Interesting Stories

Few professional athletes have exhibited as much class during their career as Mariano Rivera of the New York Yankees. Incidentally, he is also the greatest end-of-game pitcher (closer) to ever play the game and a certain future inductee into the Major League Baseball (MLB) Hall of Fame. Rivera was the last MLB player to wear the number “42” which was Jackie Robinson’s number. He had another amazing season this year after coming back from a freak non-game outfield injury that occurred last year. He ended his career at Yankee Stadium in classic Rivera fashion by retiring all four batters he faced.

Company News

The Fifth Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference was a great success again this year. A big “thank you” is due the presenters: Robert Netzer, Dr. Andy Van de Ven, Barb Spurrier, Bob Mitchell, Sara Rose, Vern Campbell, Jeff Ziegler, Jim Nelson, Kristine Zelinski, Cathy Reiter, Melissa Lenk, Jordan Olson, Jim Buckman, Cathy Moeger, and Lou Schultz. I will be conducting two more public seminars this year: Strategy Tools for Continuous Improvement on October 22 and Creating Successful Standards on November 6.

Intriguing Reads

I recently re-read the class book on strategy by Thomas C. Schelling titled, The Strategy of Conflict. He won a Nobel Laureate in Economics in 2005. This book beautifully integrates the concepts of strategy, conflict, negotiation, and game theory. While many of the examples relate to foreign policy, the content can be applied to any type of organization where strategic decisions have to be made in times of uncertainty. Whether you are trying to understand the conflict in Syria or the competitive battle between Apple and Samsung, this book will enhance your strategy toolset.