Tag Archive | Strategy

Lean transformation model

This is a very interesting new video by the Lean Enterprise Institute about Lean transformation:

The key message here is that effective enterprise transformations need change and innovation improvement at 5 dimensions. Using a house as an example, these dimensions are:

  • Objectives, goals and aspirations (The roof): What is our value-driven purpose? Why do we exist as a company? Do we care just about generating money (goal = profit) or do we want to create value for customers, employees and society (focus = value)?
  • Process (The 1st wall): What is the work to be done? Based on the company’s value-driven proposition, every person in the company must know the answer to this question: “what problem am I here to solve?”. Processes help us accomplish our purpose (just as walls hold up the roof). Process improvement (how do we improve the job?) is a key component of this pillar.
  • Capability (The 2nd wall): What capabilities do we need to do the work and solve problems?. This 2nd pillar makes sure that people are able to do and improve the work correctly.
  • Behaviour (People living in the house): What behaviours (soft skills) are required? What is the management system? How do we react to the different circumstances that happen at work (e.g. somebody makes a mistake)? What systems are in place to find out problems and help people solve them?
  • Culture (Foundations): What is our basic thinking? What are our mindset and underlying assumptions? Some assumptions are visible and explicit but others are hidden and, in some occasions, we are not even aware of them. We have a current culture as it is today and an ideal culture we aspire to. Understanding this will give us a gap to close.

All these dimensions are key for effective transformations and if you leave one out, everything will probably fail. Lean transformations need a situational approach: this means that every situation is different and needs different actions to succeed.

For more information, read the article by the Lean Enterprise Institute or this post.

Hoshin Kanri and policy deployment: the theory


Hoshin Kanri (also known as Hoshin Planning or Policy Deployment) is an important tool for any company. It is not just a tool to communicate the company’s mission: it provides the means to align work, coordinate people, test ideas, adapt the company to changes and check results. It is PDCA at the corporate level. Yes, Hoshin is a great tool and these are some of the wonderful things you could get from it:

  • It helps focus your company’s efforts in the long-term (even sacrificing the short-term if needed), making sure that everybody knows the top corporate goals and how their work can impact them.
  • It forces top management to select, prioritize and make visible the vital few initiatives the company needs. This will avoid department wars, each one fighting to put in place their own interpretation of what the goals are.
  • It’s based in nested PDCA cycles, helping your company learn and react quickly to changes. Everybody is testing and providing feedback continuously. Therefore one layer of the organization can learn from the work of other layers, understand the impact of each change and adapt their work consequently.
  • It is a tool that increases dramatically the sustainability of improvement work. Lean projects and actions will solve real problems and the people who can support the work and remove roadblocks will follow up the results using meaningful metrics.
  • It strengthens communication: senior managers find out too often that most of their people don’t know what the key corporate goals are (following George Bernard Shaw’s famous quote: “The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place). Hoshin creates communication channels in both directions: top-down and bottom-up.

There are many books, articles and conferences out there about Hoshin. This is a starting kit that might be helpful for you:

Picture by: http://www.mcts.com

Book summary: Hoshing Kanri for the Lean Enterprise

“Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise” by Thomas L. Jackson is one of the best references for learning Hoshin and one of my favorite books about Lean. It includes a complete how-to guide and many examples and templates you can use. Of course a book alone is useless without practice, but it can make your first Hoshin journey (with the help of a coach/sensei) considerably easier.

Warning: This book contains the complete Hoshin Kanri system. Many times you don’t need all the tools, especially for the first Hoshin cycles, so just keep it simple. Hoshin is defined as “a set of experiments” so trial and error is part of the game.

Here you can find my book summary/notes, they are totally personal and absolutely incomplete, but maybe helpful for you!

Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise Summary