6 Hoshin Kanri resources you need to know in 2020



With so many resources to support your deployment of Hoshin Kanri in 2020, it's hard to know which you truly need to consider. Here are our top 6 recommendations for all things Hoshin Kanri.

Written by: James Milsom, Digital Marketing Manager

Hoshin Kanri is a powerful way to ensure your Strategy Execution is on-track and performing well. When implemented properly, it bridges the gap between your developed strategy and its execution, resulting in organisation-wide alignment and focus.

But achieving that is easier said than done. Only 56% of strategies succeed and the majority fail because of poor implementation. Aligning your strategy deployment with your business model is critical. Organisations which report poor alignment additionally suffer from weaker financial results.

A planning and deployment method can be a key element in transforming your once struggling strategic performance. And, in many ways, Hoshin Kanri can resolve the underlying issues that cause yours, and countless others' strategies to stutter in the first place.

To start, you must understand the basics of Hoshin Kanri methodology. Additionally, there are added benefits in understanding how Hoshin interacts with Plan Do Check Act (PDCA), Management by Objectives (MBO) and the Balanced Scorecard (BSC).

Here are the top resources to help you succeed with Hoshin Kanri.


Understanding the Hoshin Planning System

The most logical resource to begin with is one which answers the question "what is Hoshin Kanri?".

Hoshin planning gives you a process for aligning goals at all levels of your company with your wider strategic vision.

It helps to communicate your strategy to everyone in your organisation, and demonstrate the connectivity of their work on the overall strategy.

This requires a few steps, including:

  • Defining the objectives you want to achieve as an organisation.
  • Breaking this down into sub-goals and cascading throughout the company
  • Communicating these goals and driving engagement through a systematic approach such as catchball.
  • Developing a governance system to track performance.

Hoshin Kanri policy deployment and goal deployment eBook

Unpicking the X-Matrix

The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix (also known as the Hoshin Planning Matrix) helps organisations to capture strategic objectives, cascade priorities and assign ownership.

Its name comes from the X that divides the matrix into four key areas:

  1. Long-term goals (South)
  2. Annual objectives (West)
  3. Top-level priorities (North)
  4. Metrics to improve (East)

The X-Matrix and its use is best described visually.

This video resource gives an easy-to-understand introduction to the matrix and Hoshin Planning as a whole:

Knowing Hoshin’s roots: Management by Objectives

It pays to know some of the key influences on Hoshin Kanri’s development. One of which was Peter Drucker’s Management by Objectives (MBO).

The MBO approach seeks to align employees’ objectives with the organisation’s goals, involving every level of a company, from the Boardroom to entry-level.

The process is clearly laid out with this diagram from Expert Programme Management:

MBO diagram process

For an introduction to Management of Objectives, Investopedia offers a good introduction to the basics and principles of the methodology, and MBO in practice.


Another influence on Hoshin Kanri is Deming's Plan-Do-Check-Act approach that continuously improves performance.

It involves systematically testing processes, assessing the results and then implementing the solutions with the best returns.

It’s also known as the Deming Cycle, and the Balanced Scorecard Institute provides a useful explainer article.


Balanced Scorecard

Speaking of which, the Balanced Scorecard (BSC) is often used alongside Hoshin Kanri to improve strategy execution and manage a long-term strategy.

The benefits of combining both approaches is discussed in several academic reports, including:

Balanced scorecard and hoshin kanri: dynamic capabilities for managing strategic fit

Witcher and Chau's 2007 paper examines the combination of the BSC and Hoshin Kanri.

The first paper of its kind, it's a seminal read into how the two methodologies can, in fact, complement each other in strategy execution.

A valuable Hoshin resource to consume, it reveals how the combination are a useful framework for managing sustained competitive advantage for organisations.

To understand more about the Balanced Scorecard, the Balanced Scorecard Institute is a one-stop resource.Want to learn more about Hoshin Kanri? Be sure to download our free 24-page eBook as we explore everything you need to know about sucecssfully deploying your strategy in 2020 and beyond!


Delving deeper with Hoshin Planning

Hoshin Kanri can be tough to get your head around when approaching it for the first time.

There are plenty of online resources available, as well as discussions and books.

Hoshin Kanri for the Lean Enterprise is a fantastic book for an overarching look at Hoshin Kanri and its applications.

We would also recommend visiting our Hoshin Kanri resource center, which includes a wealth of Hoshin related content, including:

Click here to visit the resource center.


Want to learn more about Hoshin Kanri, MBO and other strategy execution methodologies, tools and principles?

Take your pick from the resources below:

About the author

James is i-nexus' Digital Marketing Manager. Bringing a passion for strategy from a marketing angle, you'll find he loves to intertwine sports and strategy. His background covers industries such as energy, broadband, education and employee benefits.

If you'd like to talk more about your strategic challenges, reach out to James on james.milsom@i-nexus.com or connect with James on LinkedIn for more strategic insights.

Hoshin Kanri eBook

Recent Posts