The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix is a strategy deployment tool that helps businesses achieve goals over the short and long term. Hoshin Kanri is a method that seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution. Strategic objectives are clearly defined and the goals of every level of the organization are aligned. With everyone moving in the same direction, process coordination and decision-making ability are strengthened.
Understanding the Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix
In terms of business executive responsibilities, strategy deployment is arguably the most crucial.
When executed correctly, strategy keeps an organization aligned and pointing in the right direction.
But it is easy to lose sight of longer-term objectives, especially in the face of day-to-day challenges that put a strain on resources.
Hoshin Kanri is a method that seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution.
Strategic objectives are clearly defined and the goals of every level of the organization are aligned.
With everyone moving in the same direction, process coordination and decision-making ability are strengthened.
Visualizing the Hoshin Kanri method
The Hoshin Kanri method is best visualized using an X-matrix.
The matrix illustrates objectives, targets, and actionable items and the relationship between short and long-term goals.
It also allows project teams to define ownership and facilitate cross-functional collaboration.
Each Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix is divided into four quadrants by a giant “X”:
Breakthrough objectives (bottom quadrant)
What are the key strategic objectives to be achieved in the next 3 to 5 years?
Annual objectives (left quadrant)
In this quadrant, list the short-term goals that will assist in achieving breakthrough objectives.
The design of the matrix allows the team to connect each annual goal to the breakthrough objective it supports.
Annual improvement opportunities and priorities (top quadrant)
What are the key priorities that must be established in the next 100 days to achieve annual objectives?
Executives must come together to brainstorm priorities.
They must also agree on how success will be measured and who will be accountable.
These details must then be placed on the far right-hand side of the matrix.
Metrics to measure and targets to improve (right quadrant)
What are the programs or initiatives that will get the organization to where it needs to be? This includes short and long term targets.
Interpreting the Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix
It’s important to reiterate that the matrix is essentially a one-page visual representation of objectives, measures, targets, programs, and action items.
Each of the four quadrants is interconnected and shows the degree of alignment between the different elements.
In each corner of the “X” where the four quadrants intersect, dots are placed to represent causal links or relationships between the elements.
Hoshin Kanri matrices also rely on a process called catchball, which is used to communicate and refine optimized goal cascades.
In some cases, the team must make a hard decision to omit any goal that is not likely to drive the vision forwards.
With the continual process of element addition, subtraction, or refinement, the elements of a powerful strategy start to reveal themselves naturally.
Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix vs. Balanced Scorecard
Whereas the Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution, the Balanced Scorecard allows an organization to focus on big-picture strategic goals through four perspectives:
- The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix is a strategy deployment tool that helps executives make aligned and purposeful decisions. It seeks to bridge the gap between strategy and execution.
- The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix has four quadrants: breakthrough adjectives, annual objectives, annual improvement opportunities and priorities, and metrics to measure and targets to improve. Causal links or relationships between each quadrant increase the alignment of related strategic elements.
- The Hoshin Kanri X-Matrix advocates the continual refinement of objective goals. Teams that can make hard calls will be rewarded as a powerful strategy starts to reveal itself organically.
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