Strategic Planning and Goal Deployment using Hoshin Kanri

Special Thanks to Greg Sieber for his contribution and guidance.

The image most often depicted in U.S. literature on Hoshin Kanri is that of a ship’s compass distributed to many ships, properly calibrated such that all ships through independent action arrive at the same destination, individually or as a group, as the requirements of the “voyage” may require.

Hoshin Kanri is a systems approach to the management of change in critical business processes using a step-by-step planning, implementation, and review process. Hoshin Kanri improves the performance of business systems. A business system is a set of coordinated processes that accomplish the core objectives of the business. For every business system there are measures of performance and desired levels of performance. Hoshin Kanri provides a planning structure that will bring selected critical business processes up to the desired level of performance.

Hoshin Kanri is applied at two levels:

Strategic Planning Strategies—Business Simulations

Daily Management Strategies —Business Operations



The origin of Hoshin Kanri can provide insight into its concepts. The term Hoshin is short for Hoshin Kanri. The word Hoshin can be broken into two parts. The literal translation of ho is direction. The literal translation of shin is needle, so the word Hoshin could translate into direction needle or the English equivalent of compass. The word Kanri can also be broken into two parts. The first part, KAN, translates into control or channeling. The second part, RI, translates into reason or logic. Taken altogether, Hoshin Kanri means management and control of the organization’s direction needle or focus.

Hoshin = a course, a policy, a plan, an aim

Kanri = administration, management, control, charge of, care for

The most popular English translation of Hoshin is Policy Deployment. Most books by American authors use Policy Deployment as the name for Hoshin. Other frequently used translations are ‘Management By Policy’, ‘Hoshin Planning’, ‘Policy Management’, ‘Managing for Results,’ Strategic Deployment’ and ‘Goal Deployment’. No matter what you call it, Hoshin is effective and helps organizations become more competitive.


The purpose of Hoshin Kanri (or Policy Deployment) is to make it possible to get away from the status quo and make a major performance improvement by analyzing current problems and deploying strategies that respond to environmental conditions. Policy Deployment cascades, or deploys, top management policies and targets down the management hierarchy. At each level, the policy is translated into policies, targets and actions for the next level down.

With Policy Deployment, top management vision can be translated into a set of coherent, consistent, understandable and attainable policies and actions that can be applied at all levels of the company and in all functions of the company. When these actions and policies are applied, they result in a vision becoming a reality – and major, continual improvement in performance.

At the beginning of the Policy Deployment process, top management sets the overall vision and the annual high-level policies and targets for the company. At each level moving downward, managers and employees participate in the definition—from the overall vision and their annual targets—of the strategy and detailed action plan they will use to attain their targets. They also define the measures that will be used to demonstrate that they have successfully achieved their targets. Then, targets, in turn are passed on to the next level down. Each level under top management is, in turn, involved with the level above it to make sure that its proposed strategy corresponds to requirements. Regular reviews take place to identify progress and problems, and to initiate corrective action.

Policy Deployment ensures that everyone in the company is made aware of the overall vision and targets, and the way that these are translated into specific requirements for their own behavior and activities.

Hoshin Kanri can be thought of as the application of Deming’s Plan-Do-Check-Act (PDCA) cycle to the management process. The PDCA cycle represents a generic approach to continual improvement of activities and processes.

IN THE ‘PLAN STEP, a plan of action is developed to address a problem. Corresponding control points and control parameters are created. The plan is reviewed and agreed.

IN THE ‘DO’ STEP, the plan is implemented.

IN THE ‘CHECK STEP, information is collected on the control parameters. The actual results are compared to the expected results.

IN THE ‘ACT STEP, the results are analyzed. Causes of any differences between expected and actual results are identified, discussed and agreed. Corrective action is identified.

The Plan-Do-Check-Act Cycle is a logical sequence for behavior. PDCA implies that once one cycle of the sequence is completed with the ‘ACT step (in which corrective action is identified), the ‘PLAN step (in which a plan to address how corrective action will be generated) of the next cycle should be started.

Initial Considerations…

The initial considerations in the Hoshin Kanri approach to business system change are as follows:

Measuring the business system as a whole Setting core objectives of the business

Understanding the environmental situation in which the business operates

Defining processes that make up the system, and their activities, goals, and metrics

Providing resources to perform activities to achieve business objectives.

The Hoshin Kanri approach aims to ensure that insight and vision are not forgotten and ignored as soon as planning activities are over. It aims to guarantee that planning documents, once finalized, are kept alive and acted on daily, and not shelved as soon as they have been completed. It aims to prevent the daily quota of fire fighting, unplanned ‘strategic’ meetings, and quarterly bottom-line pressures taking precedence over the really strategic plans. In the Hoshin Kanri environment, short-term activities are determined and managed by the plans themselves. There is a continual process of checking to make sure that what is done each day reflects the intentions, the targets, and the vision the company has agreed to pursue. Both planning and deployment are critical features of Hoshin Kanri, hence the term policy deployment.

Hoshin Kanri provides an opportunity to continually improve performance by disseminating and deploying the vision, direction, targets, and plans of corporate management to top management and to all employees so that people at all job levels can continually act on the plans, and evaluate, study, and feed back results as a part of a continual improvement process.

The intention is that, in companies using Hoshin Kanri, everybody is aware of management’s vision, departments don’t compete against each other, projects run to successful conclusions, business is seen as a set of coordinated processes.

Happy LEANing,

The Common Sensei

Check out our Hoshin Kanri Toolkit at:hoshin-kanri-toolkit






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Filed under Business, Goal Deployment, Lean, Lean Six Sigma, Management, Strategic Planning

Effective Government Coalition

August 2016

Effective Government Coalition – Exploratory Phase

The Effective Government Coalition (EGC) announces its non-partisan mission to create an efficient and streamlined government that lives up to the same operations standards, efficiency, and integrity that the American people have come to expect and require from public companies and businesses that affect their everyday lives from the 21st Century.

The Effective Government Coalition is comprised of some of the nation’s top experts in business process improvement and operations management including Lean Six Sigma experts, CEOs, COOs and process and systems experts from all political backgrounds. The Coalition is comprised of people of all generations from baby-boomers to the recently designated largest generation in America; the 75+ million strong millennials.

Creating an effective and efficient government in which Americans have faith is vital to the future sustainability of American democracy, opportunity and prosperity. Currently, faith in government is at an all-time low due to the continued mismanagement of funds, programs and more. This is because many government officials are forced to manage bad processes.

The Coalition is recruiting all Americans who wish to reshape the Federal Government in a way that allows every tax dollar to be spent creating positive value for tax payers by identifying and eliminating waste, redundancies, fraud, and abuse in all federally controlled programs, systems, and processes. To do this, the Coalition will promote the use of strategically-driven performance improvement capabilities across the entire Federal Government to increase efficiency and effectiveness.

Annual waste estimates from all government and government-affiliated entities range from $200 billion to $1 trillion with a 10-year savings in the trillions.

Imagine all the ways that this money could be put to more effective use.

A focused top-down driven effort will reorient government to provide effective services, reduce the cost of government, grow our economy, accelerate job creation, restore faith and trust and keep America on top of the world economy. Most importantly, this effort will drive a reduction in the national debt; a debt that is being passed down to future generations.

The Coalition will build public support for its mission and present government officials with ideas and research on concrete steps on how to move towards an effective and more efficient government that is expected of America in the 21st century.

The Coalition will work towards its goals by utilizing the collective resources of the members, their firms and their experience in the private, public and political sectors.

Please join us on this very important mission by visiting our link and signing up.



The Founding Coalition

  • Chairman, Founder: Kellen Giuda, NY, NY
  • Founder: David Allway, Washington, DC
  • Founder: Jack Merritt & Bill Casey, Philadelphia, PA

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Filed under Business, common sense, consulting, efficiency, government consulting, Health Care, Lean Six Sigma