A Manufacturing Executive’s “Favorite Mistake” with Hoshin Kanri (Strategy Deployment)


For the second week in a row (after this one), my latest episode of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is one with deep Lean content that readers here might likely enjoy:

Manufacturing Executive Martina Kuhlmeyer Had Too Many High-Priority Initiatives

You can get the episode through the link above or you can scroll down on this page for the audio player and the YouTube video player.

Before becoming a leadership coach, Martina spent 30+ years working for small and several fortune 100 companies, including General Electric, Textron, Fidelity Investments and Liberty Mutual. Martina held a variety of executive roles focused on continuous improvement AND driving large strategic change initiatives. As P&L owner, she managed the successful turnaround of a $1.3 billion asset portfolio management company. 

She worked with my friend Karyn Ross at Liberty Mutual and that was the connection that led to this interview.

In the episode, Martina talks about mistakes that were made at Textron related to their Hoshin Kanri work (mistakes that she was part of).

The mistake of having too many “high priority” breakthrough initiatives is a common one, and it's a mistake that I've seen at many hospitals. Martina and her team also made the mistake of reviewing the status of every initiative, which led to some really long meetings — until they learned to just review “by exception” when there were issues or delays.

I love how she uses the phrase “strategy alignment” — which, to me, seems like a far better phrase than “strategy deployment.” To me, deployment sounds very top down (although the practice of Hoshin Kanri / SD is not supposed to be. The word “alignment” seems to suggest the collaboration or “catchball” that's supposed to occur.

We also discuss if it's a mistake to have a large-scale initiative (like Lean or Six Sigma) when the CEO isn't fully leading it… and how to build a culture of learning from mistakes.

You can listen to the episode or watch it using the embedded players below:

Thanks for listening or viewing. Do you have mistakes that you've made (or seen) related to Strategy Deployment where you've worked? Feel free to leave a comment.

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Check out my latest book, The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation:

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Mark Graban
Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker, and podcaster with experience in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. Mark's new book is The Mistakes That Make Us: Cultivating a Culture of Learning and Innovation. He is also the author of Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More, the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, and the anthology Practicing Lean. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus.


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