Hoshin Planning and Nemawashi – Keys to Effective Planning and Deployment

July 3, 2017

You are precisely on-track with your line of thinking.  There is an added aspect of Hoshin planning that is not well understood but practiced by the Japanese, called catchball or nemawashi.  This practice is characterized by the passing of plans from on-high to the next level down, "tossing the ball".

After reviewing and providing feedback and details for execution at the lower level, the plan is "tossed" back to top management.

This cycle continues until the plan is approved.  The next layer of management begins "tossing" the plan to yet the next level down.  This process continues until all levels are involved and there is a unified plan at all levels.

This level of effort is foreign in Western management thinking and practice.  In the Western world, we plan - do - replan - redo - replan - redo, many times before we get it right - at the cost of many mistakes, false starts, delays and wasted effort in rework.

The hoshin/catchball approach suggests a better approach - plan, plan, plan, plan and then do ONCE.  Overall this cycle takes less time in the long run, costs much less and results in doing it right the first time . . . not a bad thing!


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