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Bridging the Strategy Gap: A3 Hoshin Planning Unveiled

Allan Ung

Bridging the Strategy Gap: A3 Hoshin Planning Unveiled.

"Your work is going to fill a large part of your life,

and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do

what you believe is great work.”

Steve Jobs


In the ever-evolving landscape of strategic management, organizations are continually seeking effective tools to translate their visions into tangible results. A3 Hoshin Planning emerges as a dynamic approach, blending simplicity, clarity, and strategic alignment to propel organizations toward excellence.

What is A3 Hoshin Planning?

A3 Hoshin Planning is a strategic deployment framework that empowers organizations to navigate from their Current State to a Desired State. Unlike traditional planning approaches, A3 Hoshin focuses on prioritizing crucial aspects, allowing leaders to concentrate on what truly matters without being overwhelmed by unnecessary details. This transformative process serves as a clear path for organizations to streamline efforts, foster continuous improvement, and achieve strategic objectives.

What Makes A3 Hoshin Planning Unique?

A3 Hoshin Planning stands out for its simplicity, making strategic planning accessible to all organizational levels. It ensures crystal-clear alignment with the organization's "True North," fostering unity in purpose and emphasizing execution over theoretical concepts.

Why A3 Hoshin Planning?

The methodology serves as a blueprint for organizational success, offering a structured approach to address critical business needs, develop people, and consistently achieve pivotal results. Its adaptability and focus on execution distinguish it as a preferred choice for strategy deployment.

Objectives of A3 Hoshin Planning

1. Define clear organizational goals and objectives.

2. Foster collaboration and unity across all levels.

3. Bridge the gap between planning and tangible results.

4. Provide a structured approach for continuous improvement.

Principles of A3 Hoshin Planning

A3 Hoshin Planning is guided by key principles:

1. True North: Establish a clear organizational direction.

2. PDCA Cycle: Embrace continuous improvement.

3. Catchball: Foster dynamic collaboration.

4. Focus on Critical Few: Concentrate on crucial goals.

5. Alignment: Ensure all activities align with True North.

6. Execution Emphasis: Bridge planning and results.

7. Integrated PDCA Cycles: Foster continuous learning.

8. A3 Thinking: Frame problems and plans visually for clarity and effective decision-making.

True North and A3

A3 Hoshin Planning and Execution Tree

A3 Hoshin Planning and Execution Tree (Source: Adapted from Dennis)

A3 Hoshin Planning finds its roots in the concept of True North—an organization's guiding principles. The A3 tool acts as a practical canvas to translate True North into actionable plans, ensuring a shared understanding of strategic objectives.

A3 Hoshin Planning and the PDCA Cycle

A3 Hoshin Planning Process is Based on the PDCA Cycle

A3 Hoshin Planning Process is Based on the PDCA Cycle

The methodology seamlessly integrates with the Plan, Do, Check, and Adjust (PDCA) cycle. It provides a systematic and iterative approach, allowing organizations to plan strategically, execute efficiently, monitor progress, and adjust strategies based on real-time feedback.

A3 Hoshin Formulation and Deployment

A3 Hoshin Planning Journey

A3 Hoshin Planning Journey

A3 Hoshin Planning involves the formulation of key elements like organizational objectives, critical goals, and action plans. Deployment ensures that these strategies cascade through all levels, fostering a collaborative approach to achieve organizational goals.

The 8 Steps to Creating an A3 for Hoshin Deployment

To effectively deploy your strategy using A3 Hoshin Planning, follow these 8 steps:

1. Clearly define the main objective for the year.

2. Identify Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) illustrating the objective.

3. Reflect on the successes and failures of the previous year.

4. Establish critical few goals for the current year.

5. Provide a rationale supporting the critical few goals.

6. Develop an action plan outlining specific steps to achieve the objective.

7. Keep concerns in sight and monitor their impact on the plan.

8. Implement a monitoring system to track the progress of the plan.

A3 Hoshin Planning Template.

A3 Hoshin Planning Template

Key Factors for A3 Hoshin Planning Success

1. Clear and concise communication.

2. Collaborative decision-making through "Catchball."

3. Continuous improvement through PDCA cycles.

4. True North alignment for shared purpose.

5. Emphasis on execution over theoretical concepts.


A3 Hoshin Planning emerges not just as a strategic tool but as a cultural shift towards organizational excellence. By embracing its principles and following the 8-step process, organizations can chart a course towards their True North, fostering unity, clarity, and execution excellence.

Allan Ung

Article by Allan Ung, Principal Consultant at Operational Excellence Consulting, a distinguished management consultancy based in Singapore. Our firm specializes in maximizing customer value and minimizing waste through the strategic adoption of Design Thinking and Lean management practices. For further details, please visit


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