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Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning

Have you ever asked a question about teamwork? I am sure you did, not once but multiple times. Is teamwork a limited group of people? Leaders, who are in charge? How about we agree that every employee should be empowered to be part of a team. Let me introduce to you strategic planning policy, where not only leaders but all employees are involved to create an environment of collaboration and trust.

Hoshin Kanri, which in Japanese means "Policy Setting" or "Policy Deployment" is a strategic planning process that originated in post-war Japan. It consists of seven steps shown in the picture below. The individual steps strive to ensure that the strategic goals are oriented towards the development of the entire organization and lead to action plans at all levels. In the Hoshin Kanri process, each employee pulls in the same direction at the same time. This is achieved by aligning the goals of the organization (strategy) with the plans of middle management (tactics) and the work done by employees (operation). Through an improvement mechanism known as "Catching the Ball", the entire organization is involved in the process of achieving breakthrough results.

Here are the individual steps:

1. The organization's management sets and develops a strong vision appropriate to the question "Why does our organization exist?"

2. Leadership and team leaders define breakthrough objectives. If achieved, they will create a competitive advantage for organizations and secure a strong market position.

3. The team leaders, together with the management, shall divide the objectives into annual objectives.

4. Once the annual objectives have been established, they need to be "deployed" at all levels of the organization. This is a "goal setting" process that begins at the top and is disseminated to every employee.

5. In the next step, the actual implementation of objectives will begin. This step is performed hand in hand with the following two.

6. Monthly reviews or checks shall ensure that the plan is implemented as planned.

7. An annual review shall be carried out at the end of the year, confirming the final result achieved.

As shown in the picture above, Hoshin Kanri's strategic planning is not just a top-down approach. It has a built-in mechanism of continuous improvement, which is a key element in the success of this process. The tools for continuous improvement are "Catching the Ball" and PDCA.

An important moment in the success of the entire Hoshin Kanri strategic planning process is the collection of feedback from employees. The advantage of discussing objectives/goals with employees who will work actively on them is that they will think in more detail about the details compared to management. And that is the essence of "Catching the ball". Well-communicated, realistic, and agreed goals are important because they promote ownership and increase motivation, create valuable feedback, and improve engagement in the implementation process.

The Deming PDCA cycle consists of four steps:

PLAN: Schedule an experiment

DO: Implement an experiment

CHECK: Confirm the experiment hypothesis

ACT: If successful, standardize the experiment results and restart the sequence


Let’s now look into Hoshin Kanri's strategic planning implementation in a hospital setting.

The application could consist of the following approach:

- Learning about Hoshin Kanri strategic planning

- Elaboration on Hoshin Kanri strategic planning procedure

- Approval of Hoshin Kanri's strategic plan by management

- Implementation of strategic planning by Hoshin Kanri

Hoshin Kanri Strategic Planning Procedure

The procedure consists of a description and demonstration of the tools for the individual steps of Hoshin Kanri's strategic planning listed in the table below:

1. Vision settings

The future position of a hospital is described by a vision. The vision is usually handled by the top management of the organization. In this case, chief doctors and nurses of individual departments will be involved in the process of defining and setting the vision. It is they who represent other employees at various levels and units.

The development process requires certain rules to be followed:

- The hospital culture, values, and outlook for the future were clearly defined through interviews with employees.

- Individual employees supported the vision creation process.

- The focus was set on a commitment to key parties, including employees, patients, suppliers.

- The defined vision is achievable, and realistic.

The definition and setting the vision will take place after several meetings and consultations, which are preceded by mutual consensus on all sides.

2. Defining goals

A simple technique, SMART, can be used to define goals. SMART is an acronym that consists of the initial letters of the English goals attribute names. Picture below explains the initial letters.

SMART is an analytical technique often used to design goals in management and planning. It can be used in both personal and work environments, and its simplicity lies in setting specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely goals.

3. Division of goals

The defined goals must then be divided into short-term and long-term. These goals are then further divided into Daily, Weekly, Monthly, Quarterly, Yearly. Next, you use the "Catching the Ball" mechanism between management and employees to involve the entire hospital in this process. Visual management is a suitable tool to make the defined goals visible. Below is a picture demonstration of visual management.

4. Deployment of goals

When the goals are deployed, it is possible to follow the organizational structure of the hospital. A visual management will be created for the individual departments, where the set goals will be defined.

5. Implementation of goals

For the implementation of plans (see below), it is necessary to identify the team and individual team members responsible for the implementation of individual items. Each item is included in the implementation plan and it is regularly monitored who is responsible and when it is necessary to implement the item. If there is a postponement, cancellation, or change, this information must be recorded and kept so that the reason for the change is not forgotten. In addition, the team starts the PDCA process to implement the required items and make positive changes.

6. Monthly reviews

During regular monthly reviews, the responsible team meets at visual boards and monitors the actual state of implementation of the implementation plan. The implementation plan serves as a suitable basis for checking the functionality of the entire system. Monthly reviews have their time limit and their purpose is narrowed to evaluate the fulfillment of set goals and items.

7. Annual review

At the end of twelve months, it is time to carry out a comprehensive assessment of the hospital's progress and development. You may need to make adjustments to goals or time estimates. This is also a good time to ensure that resources are properly allocated to what is to be achieved next year. The annual review takes place during a meeting with the hospital management and all interested hospital representatives. It is a time of joy and gratitude for your achievements and a way of motivation to move forward so that you can constantly grow and improve.


In closing, I hope you have found the above information beneficial in your strategic planning with the involvement of all employees. I believe that all employees want to contribute their work to the fulfillment of goals and be an integral part of the whole. So, I want to ask you not to forget those who, for example, clean and tidy. They are also part of the team and want to be heard because they are also involved in fulfilling your goals.




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