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Monday, July 24, 2017

Be FAIR with Your Strategic Initiatives

One of the most persistent challenges that managers face these days is “initiative overload” – having too many projects on the plate and not enough time to get them done.  If too many projects are launched, too many improvements strived for or too many goals targeted, chances are that despite great efforts and spending, the dilution of limited resources will not earn noticeable / satisfactory progress.

It's about prioritizing. If you chase two rabbits, you won't catch either one of them. So you have to prioritize.  - Eric Thomas

The lesson of focus and choice is certainly a driver of success with strategic initiatives. Effective leaders have the discipline to focus, choose the best target, and pursue: it is the #1 characteristic of outstanding performers.

World class organizations focus on the vital few projects, instead of the trivial many. If you want to improve your revenue and profitability performance, you will get better performance by limiting your portfolio to a few key strategic initiatives. And it’s worth abiding by the definition: not everything is a strategic initiative. As it becomes clear which are the strategic initiatives, it becomes easier to give them sufficient resources and the best of leadership.
Improvement opportunities are infinite in any organization. Think about a factory, a hospital or an office building. What comes limited are resources: money, people, equipment, material, floor space… and time.

Hoshin Kanri or Hoshin planning, strategic planning or policy deployment is a method designed to focus and align all contributions of the organization’s staff on required breakthroughs in order to achieve the top strategic objectives.

The Hoshin framework is made up of four phases similar to the PDCA cycle. The entire process is also designated as 'F-A-I-R'.

1. It begins with the Act stage, where senior company executives, along with general managers, revise the company's corporate strategy. This is termed the 'Focus' phase of Hoshin Kanri, where a few vital strategic objectives are determined for the company.

2. Next is the Plan stage, termed the 'Alignment,' when the select few vital objectives are rolled down cross-functionally within the company to each division or business unit. The divisions work to develop the plans necessary to meet these objectives.

3. The Do stage is the 'Integration' of these plans into daily management and project working.

4. The Check stage, known also as the 'Responsive' phase, refers to the management of the strategic objectives in the processes of daily working. It involves both daily and periodic reviews of the work in progress. While the processes should be continually monitored, and modified as necessary, a major quality audit is conducted annually.

Hoshin Kanri is an excellent method for improving communication within the organization. It works on both a strategic planning level and an everyday level to make certain that all levels within the company are aware of the major goals of the organization and are implementing processes to successfully to achieve them.

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