A goal without a plan is just a wish.
― Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
Now that you have a defined future state and understand the gaps, it’s time to create a plan to achieve the future state. In Lean there is a form of strategic planning called hoshin kanri, hoshin planning, or policy deployment. Hoshin means “set direction” and kanri “together.” You are setting a direction together with your team and organization, which is a bit different than a traditional strategic planning process.
The first part of a hoshin plan is to list the top three to five long-term or ultimate goals from your future state.
Next you and your team needs to develop a set of intermediate term, perhaps three to five years out, breakthrough objectives. Breakthrough objectives are very significant improvements or changes, and they should be linked to each of the long-term goals from above.
Next you need to develop annual objectives for the next year, again tied to each of the breakthrough objectives. Keep SMART in mind for the objectives – Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Realistic, Timely.
Many leaders forget two critical components when doing planning: Who and How. Or perhaps they assign the Who and punt the How to them. It is critical to assign key responsibility for each breakthrough objective and annual objective, and also determine how they will be accomplished. Are there sufficient resources to accomplish all of the goals? What other activities may need to be reduced in priority? This is a big reason for this next step.
The last step is to validate the hoshin plan with all stakeholders by performing what is known as catchball. The plan is circulated, and stakeholders confirm that the plan is realistic, supports the Principles and Why?, and offer suggestions for improvement if necessary. The output of catchball is a plan that everyone agrees on and has ownership in.