Hoshin Kanri and KATA..make the difference

30 novembre 2015 § Lascia un commento

Blue metal compass isolated on white background

Blue metal compass isolated on white background

I’m glad to share with you an article that make the difference..

Nobody think about how much is important to plan the future with real numbers, real target with a defined approach


Jeff asked an interesting question in a comment to the post Often Skipped: Understand the Challenge and Direction:

[Hoshin Kanri] seems to suggest I reach long term objectives (vision) through short term initiatives/projects as if I can (should?) know the steps. [Toyota Kata] says I don’t know the way to reach my long term vision, so I limit focus to next target condition and experiment (repeatedly) toward the vision.

Seems contradictory to me. What am I missing?

Let’s start out with digging into what hoshin kanri is supposed to do. I say “supposed to do” because there are a lot of activities that are called “hoshin kanri” that are really just performance objectives or wish lists.

First, hoshin kanri is a Japanese term for a Japanese-developed process. We westerners need to understand that Japanese culture generally places a high value on harmony and harmonious action. Where many Americans (I can’t speak for Europeans as well) may well be comfortable with constant advocacy and debate about what should be worked on, that kind of discussion can be unsettling for a Japanese management team.

Thus, I believe the original purpose of hoshin kanri was to provide a mechanism for reaching consensus and alignment within a large, complex organization.

In the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, hoshin kanri concepts emerged out of their Japanese incubator and came to western business. In this process, the DNA combined and merged with western management practices, and in many (never say “all”) western interpretations, the hoshin plan tends to be something patched onto the existing Management By Objectives framework.

That, in and of itself, isn’t a bad thing. Hoshin kanri’s origins are from MBO migrating to Japan where they took MBO and mixed in Japanese cultural DNA.

However, I’m not comfortable that what we have ended up with in the west meets the original concept or intent.

With that as background, let’s get to the core of Jeff’s question.

What is the purpose of hoshin kanri?

Let’s start with chaos. “We want continuous improvement.”

In other words, “go find stuff to improve,” and maybe report back on what you are going to work on. A lot of organizations do something like this. They provide general guidance (if they even do that), and then maybe have the sub-organization come tell and report what they expect to accomplish. I have experienced this first hand.

“I expect my people to be working on continuous improvement,” says the executive from behind his desk in the corner office. Since he has delegated the task, his job is to “support his empowered workforce” to make things better.

Flatly, that doesn’t work unless the culture is extremely well aligned and there is a
continuous conversation and stream of consciousness within the organization
. That is very rare. How to achieve that alignment is the problem hoshin kanri is intended to solve. It isn’t the only way to do it, but it is an effective method.*

A Superficial Overview of the Process of Hoshin Kanri

The leadership sees or sets a challenge for the organization – something they must be able to do that, today, they cannot. This is not (in my opinion) the same as “creating a crisis.” A crisis just scares people. Fear is not a good motivator for creative improvement.

Different parts of the organization may get a piece of the challenge, or the leadership team may, as a whole, work to figure out what they need to accomplish. Here is an important distinction: “What must be accomplished” is not the same as a plan to accomplish it. A challenge, by its very nature, means “We don’t know exactly what we will have to do to get there.”

This can take the form of KPI targets, but that is not what you are doing if there is a simple percent improvement expected with no over-arching rationale.

Now comes the catchball.

Catchball is not Negotiation of the Goal

Catchball is often interpreted as negotiating the goals. That’s not it. The goals are established by a market or competitive or other compelling need. So it isn’t “We need to improve yield by 7%.” followed by “Well, reasonably, I can only give you 5%.” It doesn’t work like that.

Nor is it “You need to improve your yield by 7%, and if you don’t get it then no bonus for you.” That approach is well known to drive some unproductive or ineffective behavior.

And it isn’t “You’re going to improve your yield by 7% and this is what you are going to do to get there.”

Instead, the conversation might sound something like “We need to improve our yield by 7% to enable our expected market growth. Please study your processes as they relate to yield, and come back and let me know what you think you need to work on as the first major step in that direction.”

In other words, please grasp your current condition, and come back with your next target condition.

That sounds a lot like the Coaching Kata to me.


Toyota Kata is not a problem solving method.

Toyota Kata is a set of practice routines designed to help you learn the thinking pattern that enables an organization to do hoshin kanri, and any other type of systematic improvement that is navigating through “We want to get there, but aren’t sure exactly how.”

An executive I am working with mentioned today that Toyota Kata is what isinforming their policy deployment process. Without that foundation of thinking, their policy deployment would have been an exercise in assigning action items and negotiating the goals.

So what is the difference between hoshin kanri and Toyota Kata?

There isn’t a difference. They are two parts of the same thing. Hoshin kanri is a mechanism for aligning the organization’s efforts to focus on a challenge (or a few challenges).

Toyota Kata is a practice routine for learning the thinking pattern that makes hoshin kanri (or policy deployment) function as intended.

In hoshin planning, you are planning the destination, and perhaps breaking down individual efforts to get there, but nothing says you already know how to get there.

It isn’t an “action plan” and it isn’t a list of discrete, known action items. Rather, it is specific about what you must accomplish, and if you accomplish those things, then the results are predicted to add up to what you need.

What to Do vs How to Get It Done

At some point, someone has to figure out how to make the process do what is required. That has to happen down at the interface between people and the work actually being done. It can’t be mandated from above. Hoshin helps to align the efforts of improving the work with the improvements required to meet the organization’s challenge.

From the other side, the Improvement Kata is not about short-term objectives. The first step is “understand the challenge and direction.” Part of the coach’s job is to make sure this understanding takes place, and to ensure that the short-term target condition is moving in the direction of the challenge.

We set shorter term target conditions so we aren’t overwhelmed trying to fix everything at once, and to have a stable anchor for the next step. It enables safer learning by limiting the impact of learning that something didn’t work.

However, in Toyota Kata, while we might not know exactly how to get there, but we are absolutely clear where we have to end up.

The American Football analogy works well here. The challenge is “Score a touchdown.” But if you tried to score a touchdown on every play, you would likely lose the game. The target condition is akin to “get a first down.” You are absolutely clear what direction you have to move the ball, and absolutely clear where you need to end up in order to score. But you aren’t clear about the precise steps that are going to get you there. You have to figure that out as you go.

Hoshin Kanri focuses the effort – “What to work on.”

Toyota Kata teaches the thinking behind “How to work on it.”

*Though hoshin kanri may be effective, getting it to work effectively is a journey of learning that requires perseverance. It is much more than filling out a set of forms.



Today to be Analog is not enough..you must be digital as well

26 novembre 2015 § Lascia un commento


What’s mean ANALOG?

Means, develop concrete activity, physical activities, or simply do our job, but there’s an easier question  to be answer:

It’s enough to develop our business?

Today we must develop a new kind of communication, a new kind of relationship, then we need to focus on the Digital approach

Everyone can now communicate on the digital Wolrd through Ipad, Iphone or any other Device, but how many have an digital strategy? how many have a clear Target?

Below you find and abstract of Quesenberry’s article that help you to measure your activity.

As we always say, “if you want to improve you must measure”


Conducting a Social Media Audit

Keith A. Quesenberry

Whether marketers like it or not, consumers are now generating over 25% of content that appears in web searches for specific brand names, and consumers often trust those social media messages more than advertising or news articles about the brand. Research has shown that this “electronic word-of-mouth” is seen as reliable by consumers and significantly affects a firm’s perceived value.

But with such a panoply of channels out there, how can social media marketers keep track of what people are saying? And what strategies can be implemented to engage those consumers to influence the conversation? That’s where a careful social media audit can help. It’s a systematic examination of social data to help marketers discover, categorize, and evaluate all the social talk about a brand. This approach captures what consumers are saying about a brand, what competitors are doing on social media, and what the brand itself is doing.

I developed a social media audit template for the book Social Media Strategy: Marketing and Advertising in the Consumer Revolution from the principle of the Five Ws that is taught to journalists: who, where, what, when, and why:

  • Who categorizes data according to who is talking, whether that is the company, consumers, or a competitor.
  • Where lists content by social media channel and environment. Channels include outlets like YouTube, Facebook, or Pinterest, while environment refers to the look and feel.
  • What lists the type of content, such as article, photo, or video, plus the sentiment of the post as positive, negative, or neutral.
  • When quantifies the frequency of activity, like number of posts, comments, views, or shares, per day, week, or month.
  • Why determines the purpose of the message from awareness and promotion to complaint or praise. If applicable, key performance indicators (KPIs) are included.

Finally, each observation is scored as either a problem or an opportunity to help determine appropriate marketing action in the social strategy.

Conducting a social media audit following this template helps compel companies to figure out each channel’s purpose and key performance indicators. For example, “why does the organization have a Pinterest page and how is success being measured?” Simply because the competitor has a page is not a sound strategic reason.

It also helps marketers to see their brands from the consumer’s perspective and ideally helps marketers shift their mindsets from control to engagement.

Business-to-business marketers can also benefit from this social media audit tool. When HP needed to change their perception of only being for larger corporations, their laptop and desktop business unit turned to social media. Instead of simply advertising small and medium-size services, they took the time to audit their digital presence from the target audiences’ perspective. They found small and medium business influencers were interacting with each other on LinkedIn, and not using their HP website that was filled with useful business guides and advice.

HP developed a new Business Answers LinkedIn group and recruited a focused target audience of users by title, company, and association affiliations. The group included ongoing discussions, links to HP content, polls, podcasts, and industry experts answering questions and soon grew to more than 5,000 members. A survey of the LinkedIn group members found they were twice as likely to rate HP as excellent in listening to its customers and were 20% more likely to recommend HP products to their colleagues. Today, HP runs the LinkedIn group Small Biz Nation that has over 20,000 members and more than 30,000 discussions.

Here’s an example of a social media audit template that’s already been filled out:


In this simplified example, this company currently has a Twitter and Flickr account. They are sharing text with links on Twitter and photos with links on Flickr to drive traffic to their website. Ultimately they want more website traffic, especially unique visits to increase conversions. They currently have little engagement with these brand posts. Consumers are tweeting to the company by asking questions and seeking help, but the brand has not been responsive. Consumers are not discussing the brand on Flickr, however they discovered active photo sharing around the brand on Instagram. The company’s main competitor is on Twitter, but is sharing a lot of photos and videos with their links, using hashtags and tweeting twice as much per day. The competitor is also on Instagram where they are sharing photos, text, and hashtags that are driving a lot of consumer engagement.

In this example, Flickr is identified as a problem because it is not driving traffic to the website and this company may consider shutting the account down. Based on positive consumer brand activity on Instagram and the competitor’s success, the company should consider opening an Instagram account. Their Twitter presence could be improved by delivering more visual content, and by becoming a channel where they actually respond to user complaints. The company may also consider increasing the frequency of their posts based on their consumer’s activity and the success of their competitor.

Once negative customer issues have been resolved, and the brand is creating more valuable content on more appropriate channels for the target market, they should look for opportunities to increase and encourage further brand discussion. The brand could think of hashtags, apps, or contests to motivate additional brand sharing with user-generated content and recommendations from insights gathered in the social media audit.

Social media marketing is not about completely giving up all control of the brand, but changing methods to maintain influence in the new consumer-controlled social media reality. The social media audit tool helps marketers make sense of the many opportunities these platforms offer by allowing marketers to see their brands from the perspective of the consumer.

True LEAN Organization – Fake LEAN Organization – ITA

18 novembre 2015 § Lascia un commento


In questo momento c’è una grande “moda” nei sistemi di organizzazione aziendale, definita sotto il nome di LEAN..

Ma quanti realmente sanno cosa vuol dire? quanto hanno praticato il metodo e applicato più e più volte? quanti sono in grado di capire profondamente il significato di questo METODO o come amo definirla FILOSOFIA?

Per prima cosa ci tengo ad evidenziare il fatto che tutti parlano continuamente di LEAN PRODUCTION, mentre si deve parlare di LEAN ORGANIZATION, la parte di produzione è solamete una parte, e spesso piccola ma la parte struttura e i processi precendenti sono quelli che fanno si che il sistema possano funzionare.

Purtroppo non esiste una vera e propria certificazione, ma è facile capire chi lo sa fare e chi no, basta metterlo alla prova in campo, o nel gemba come dice il metodo, e sarete in grado di capire tutto.

Oggi le aziende non hanno bisogno di solo metodo, solo formazione, o solo tecnici, ma hanno bisogno di persone che attraverso una visione esterna, proveniente da esperienze differenti, ma con base tecnica (e non parlo solo di meccanica, ingegneria, fiscale….) siano in grado di dare un supporto concreto basata su numeri e dimostrazioni che le azioni e il cambiamento si può fare, e perchè no si sappiamo mettere in gioco e si prendano le dovute responsabilità anche dirette.

Perchè dico questo, in questo momento sul mercato si trovano tante persone che si inventano specialisti del metodo o propongono attività, dopo aver letto 5 libri e applicato per qualche mese in aziende che lo applicano da anni, e credo di sapere tutto – RISULTATO= le aziende e le persone perdono fiducia nel metodo/filosofia e dicono “da noi non funziona”.

Ebbene, il miglioramento continuo FUNZIONA, e funziona nel lavoro come nella vita personale, è sufficiente utilizzare tutti gli ingredienti corretti non solo l’analisi e lo sviluppo del processo…c’è tanto altro.

Prima di credere oggi c’è la necessità di vedere e toccare con mano, solo così potrete capire se affidarvi ad un team di persone che vi possano supportare nel cambiamento – da soli non possiamo raggiungere obiettivi importanti, possiamo di certo fare piccole modifiche e qualche cambiamento, ma sono sufficienti per rimanere sul mercato?!

Vivete il miglioramento, portatelo con voi, e potrete vivere al meglio la vostra vita.

Giuseppe Ravazzolo



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