Updated: Aug 9
In the domain of organizational obligations and compliance, the concept of promises holds significant importance. According to Promise Theory, formulated by Mark Burgess, policies are the set of promises made by organizations to meet their obligations.
However, effectively translating these promises into action requires negotiation between those accountable for obligations and those responsible for compliance.
This article explores the power of the one-person approval principle and the Hoshin Kanri method of policy deployment, shedding light on their potential to enhance accountability and fulfill commitments throughout the organization.
The One-Person Approval Principle: Clarity in Accountability
The one-person approval principle, often dubbed "one neck to grab," has found success in high-risk industries. It establishes a clear line of sight regarding accountabilities for obligations and risks, stretching from top management to the boots-on-the-ground.
By designating a single individual as the ultimate accountable authority, decision-making becomes streamlined, ensuring that commitments are met and risks are mitigated. This principle instills a sense of responsibility and ownership by providing a straightforward framework for holding individuals answerable for their obligations and associated risk.
Commitments as Responsibilities: The Many Hands Principle
While the one-person approval principle highlights accountability, it is crucial to recognize that commitments and responsibilities are often shared by multiple individuals within an organization.
Compliance with obligations requires the collective effort and collaboration of various teams and individuals. Each person responsible for executing tasks plays a vital role in keeping promises. Acknowledging the "many hands" principle ensures that no one person bears the burden alone and that all individuals involved understand their responsibilities in fulfilling commitments.
Hoshin Kanri: Catching the Ball of Policy Deployment
To bridge the gap between obligations and promises throughout the organization, the Hoshin Kanri method, also known as Policy Deployment or "Catch Ball," offers a valuable and effective mechanism.
This approach facilitates negotiation and collaboration between those accountable for obligations and those responsible for compliance. Hoshin Kanri involves a process of iterative communication, where objectives and strategies are cascaded from top management to lower levels (and back up again) allowing for input and feedback at each stage. This iterative process ensures alignment, commitment, and a shared understanding of obligations and the necessary actions to fulfill them.
Dropping the Ball: A Missed Opportunity
Despite the potential benefits of the Hoshin Kanri method, many organizations falter when it comes to catching the ball of policy deployment. The failure to effectively negotiate and communicate commitments leads to misalignment, confusion, and a lack of ownership throughout the organization.
Without a clear understanding of obligations and the necessary actions, promises can remain unfulfilled, compromising compliance efforts and exposing the organization to unnecessary risks.
Unlocking Organizational Accountability: Embracing Promise Negotiation and Policy Deployment
To unlock organizational accountability and ensure that promises turn into actions, organizations must embrace the principles of promise negotiation and policy deployment.
By engaging in open and transparent discussions between accountable parties and those responsible for compliance, organizations can foster a culture of shared responsibility, collaboration, and commitment.
This can be accomplished by following these steps:
Clearly Define Obligations: Organizations should establish a clear understanding of their obligations and translate them into well-defined policies. These policies serve as the promises made to meet obligations and should be communicated effectively throughout the organization.
Negotiate Commitments: Promise negotiation should involve discussions between accountable parties and those responsible for compliance. This collaborative process ensures that obligations are understood, and commitments are realistic and achievable within the organization's capabilities.
Embrace Policy Deployment: Implementing the Hoshin Kanri method allows for the effective deployment of policies and commitments throughout the organization. The iterative process of catching the ball facilitates communication, feedback, and alignment at all levels, ensuring that promises are understood and executed appropriately.
Foster Ownership and Collaboration: Every individual involved in fulfilling commitments should be empowered and encouraged to take ownership of their respective responsibilities. Collaboration and cross-functional teamwork should be fostered, creating a shared sense of accountability and ensuring that everyone understands their role in fulfilling the promises made.
Communicate and Reinforce: Effective communication is essential for maintaining clarity and reinforcing commitments. Regular updates, progress reports, and feedback loops should be established to keep everyone informed and engaged in the process. By consistently communicating the importance of obligations and the progress towards meeting them, organizations can reinforce a culture of accountability and responsibility.
When it comes to organizational obligations and compliance, the translation of promises into action requires more than just one-person accountability. It necessitates the negotiation of commitments and the effective deployment of policies throughout the organization.
By embracing the principles of promise negotiation and policy deployment, organizations can unlock organizational accountability, ensuring that promises are fulfilled, risks are mitigated, and obligations are met.
It is through collaborative efforts and transparent communication that organizations can catch the ball and successfully bridge the gap between promises and actions, ultimately fostering a culture of accountability and success.