Times are Tough, Stick to Your Strategy

In times like these when new business is hard to find, top employees are weighing their options, and suppliers are begging for help, you must have a clear and concise strategy and you must align all resources and activities to that strategy. This week’s post is to share a tool that will help your organization operate daily in a manner that aligns with strategy, maximizing the effect of your precious resources. If you are like me, you have more great ideas than you do resources to execute. Further, it is natural for managers to see any opportunity as a good opportunity in lean times. The worst thing you can do in these times is chase every opportunity that comes along in the hopes that something good happens. One of my favorite axioms “Focus and Achieve” applies now more than ever. This doesn’t mean you need to be myopic. Not at all. It just means you need to have a good strategy, SMART objectives, and effective initiatives in place. Then you need to track your market and competitors closely, adjust smartly, and do not allow shiny bobbles to distract you away from your strategy.

The tool best suited for keeping your organization’s activities in alignment with strategy is the goal deployment matrix. This tool is from the Japanese Hoshin Kanri body of knowledge and it is used successfully in numerous high performing organizations such as Toyota, Xerox, and Caterpillar. An example of the matrix is shown below.

Goal Deployment Matrix

Typical Goal Deployment Matrix

Using the tool is simple Once you have identified your goals and objectives, enter them in to the left most column. Then work with your internal teams and departments to define the means for accomplishing these objectives and enter them into the top row. This is often accomplished through a back and forth vetting process. Assign ownership and metrics for the objectives and the means. If you are a Lean Six Sigma organization, you will charter the means, assign Black Belts, etc. Then use this tool to review status at least monthly. If you have a large organization, you can cascade these goal deployment matrices to avoid creating one overwhelming document. Now, every great idea and every request for funding must be analyzed against the goal deployment matrix for fit and alignment. Further, if progress on strategic objectives and means is not apparent in monthly reviews, you may have a hidden factory that needs to be exposed.

To learn about the entire body of knowledge for goal deployment or Hoshin Kanri, comment here and I will help you as time permits, or you can find a lot of good information on the Internet.

Effective and efficient operations don’t happen by chance.

About gmsieber
President and CEO of Management Science & Innovation

One Response to Times are Tough, Stick to Your Strategy

  1. Tom Chisari says:

    Not following a strategy is the same as not having one. The easiest way a company can show there in trouble is continuous reorganization. Changing strategy over and over with no end in sight causes panic and uncertainty.

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