The holiday season is my favorite time of year for two reasons: the holidays themselves and business planning. Proper business planning requires significant reflection, an activity that Lean Leaders embrace and do regularly and less effective leaders often skip.
While I continually reflect during the year, it’s more intentional and formalized in the last quarter. I spend significant chunks of time reflecting on what’s working and what’s not, what I want to do more of and less of, how I want to grow the business in terms of people and products, which services I want to discontinue offering, etc. The result of all this reflecting is a hoshin plan (a work plan) for the coming year that provides clear direction about the target conditions we aim to achieve and the work priorities for achieving them. (You can use hoshin planning to achieve personal goals as well; I wrote about this earlier this year.)
While much has been written about the technical aspects of hoshin planning (also called strategy deployment), there are two key success factors that haven’t captured as much air time: listening and humility. It’s difficult to create an effective plan that gets you from Point A to Point B if you fail to listen deeply or operate with a hubris-filled heart and mind.