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Operationalizing Obligations: A Guide to Policy Deployment using Hoshin Kanri

Ensuring that organizational obligations and policies are effectively deployed and upheld is a critical task. This is where Hoshin Kanri, a Lean practice, comes into play.

Hoshin Kanri offers a structured approach to operationalize obligations across organizations, providing a roadmap to align objectives, ensure accountability, and drive continuous improvement. In this blog post, we will delve into the framework of policy deployment using Hoshin Kanri, shedding light on its key components and how it helps organizations steer towards better outcomes.

The Framework: Policy Deployment using Hoshin Kanri

Alignment, Accountability, and Assurance Framework
Integrative Framework to Operationalize Obligations

At its core, policy deployment using Hoshin Kanri is about translating high-level organizational goals and policies into actionable plans that permeate throughout the organization. This framework can be summarized as follows:

  • Define Obligations and Promises: The journey begins by defining organizational obligations and high-level policies. These policies provide guiding principles that align the organization with its strategic direction. Promises are more specific commitments derived from the policies, essentially breaking down the high-level goals into tangible objectives.

  • Policy Deployment Plans (PDPs): Once policies and promises are established, they are captured in Policy Deployment Plans (PDPs). These plans serve as roadmaps, outlining the specific actions, responsibilities, and timelines required to meet the promises. Each PDP is a detailed action plan that brings clarity to the path forward.

  • Negotiation: The negotiation phase is where the rubber meets the road. PDPs are not handed down from the top; instead, they are negotiated with those responsible and accountable for their execution. This negotiation process is known as "Catch-ball." It encourages open dialogue and collaboration, breaking down silos and ensuring everyone is on the same page.

Alignment, Accountability, and Assurance

Policy deployment using Hoshin Kanri is a powerful framework because it helps drive alignment, accountability, and assurance across the organization:

The 3 A's of an Effective Compliance Program
The 3 A's of an Effective Compliance Program
  • Alignment: The process aligns every individual and team with the organization's policies and objectives, creating a shared sense of purpose.

  • Accountability: Through the negotiation and Catch-ball process, clear responsibilities are assigned, leaving no room for ambiguity. This enhances accountability at all levels of the organization.

  • Assurance: By monitoring both quantitative and qualitative aspects, the organization gains assurance that it is not only meeting its targets but also advancing its long-term obligations and outcomes.

Two Primary Loops: Quantitative and Qualitative Regulation

In policy deployment using Hoshin Kanri, there are two primary loops that guide the process:

  1. Meeting Objectives (Quantitative Regulation - Compliance 1): This loop focuses on quantitative regulation, ensuring that the organization is meeting its numerical targets and objectives. It involves tracking key performance indicators (KPIs) and metrics to measure progress towards the promises made in the PDPs.

  2. Meeting Obligations and Advancing Outcomes (Qualitative Regulation - Compliance 2): While meeting numerical targets is crucial, qualitative aspects are equally important. This loop emphasizes qualitative regulation, ensuring that obligations are met and outcomes are advanced. It involves assessing the impact of policies on the organization's culture, values, and long-term sustainability – it measures effectiveness.

A Proactive and Integrative Program

What emerges from policy deployment using Hoshin Kanri is an integrative and proactive program. It's not merely about meeting immediate goals but about strategically advancing the organization towards better outcomes. It's a dynamic process that encourages continuous improvement and adaptability in a rapidly changing environment.

Building a policy deployment program using Hoshin Kanri requires a structured approach:

  1. Leadership Commitment: Start by securing commitment from top leadership. Without their buy-in, it's challenging to drive such a comprehensive change.

  2. Education and Training: Provide training and education on Hoshin Kanri principles and methodologies to all levels of the organization.

  3. Policy Development: Develop clear and concise organizational policies that align with your strategic direction and organizational obligations.

  4. Promise Identification: Identify specific commitments derived from these policies, ensuring they are actionable and measurable.

  5. Policy Deployment Plans: Create detailed PDPs that outline responsibilities, timelines, and metrics for each promise.

  6. Catch-ball Process: Implement the Catch-ball process to negotiate and refine the PDPs with those responsible and accountable.

  7. Monitoring and Feedback: Continuously monitor progress using KPIs and gather feedback to make necessary adjustments.

  8. Continuous Improvement: Encourage a culture of continuous improvement, where the organization learns from its successes and failures.

Policy deployment using Hoshin Kanri is a robust framework for operationalizing obligations across organizations. It not only ensures alignment, accountability, and assurance but also drives organizations towards better outcomes. By following the structured approach outlined in this blog post, you can build a proactive and integrative program that transforms your organization's policies into tangible objectives, making a meaningful impact on its success and sustainability.


To learn more on using Policy Deployment Framework to drive better compliance outcomes covering: safety, security, sustainability, quality, regulatory, and other mission critical objectives consider becoming a member of our advanced program: The Proactive Certainty Program™.

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