Policy Deployment #3 – Creating the Plan

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Over the last couple of weeks I have posted on policy deployment (here and here.)  In the first post we talked about the importance of a big multi-year goal.  In the second we talked about the importance of real people, those who would have to execute being involved in determining the how and the support required to achieve the big goal.  That really is …The Plan. In this post I will show a couple of ways that you might break that big multi-year goal down into some smaller goals for this year and how to create a plan for fulfilling the big goal.

Set successive year goals a little less than the previous year's, it will probably get harder as you go.

First we should decide how much of the goal we are going to try to complete in year one.  How do you eat an elephant?  In successively smaller bites.   Since it will probably get harder to improve as you move forward you should be prepared to ‘make hay’ early in deploying the vision – call it diminishing returns (I am sure that economists will say that’s not right, but it works as a mental model.)  By pushing hard early you will be able to assess the difficulty in improvement and should know if you are going to off track timely enough to do PDCA on why you are falling behind early and still have sufficient time to achieve the big multi-year goal.   As well as deciding on a schedule for improvement, we need to begin to break that big goal down in to smaller, specific, actionable things.

A common method to do his is the construction of one or more x-matrices (from here.)  One simpler ay to do this is to use a tree diagram (sometimes called goal – means flow down.)  The purpose of a goal means flow down is to break any goal into the means that will be required to fulfill the goal.

A goal-means flowdown helps reduce a goal to the means for accomplishing it.

Just put the goal at the top then fill out the next level.  Do this by asking, “what is everything we would need to accomplish in order to achieve this goal?”  When you think you have enough little goals, ask “if we carry out little goals 1, 2,3, and 4 will we have accomplished the big goal?”  If the answer is yes and the little goals are directly actionable – that is you can go execute improvement on them – then you pretty much have your plan.  It might be a good idea to attach a timeline to it.

If your little goals are not small, specific, nor actionable as they stand then you might need to add some levels to your goal-means flowdown.  Just create flowdowns for each little goal.  Do this until you have specific and actionable goals that are clear enough to begin the planning part of PDCA.

It may take more than one level of littler goals to get your big plan down to specific, actionable goals.

This sounds like a lot and it is.  It usually doesn’t happen in a single sitting or off-site event.  It can take days, maybe even weeks to allow all the appropriate people to think, and contribute.  This process is often called ‘catchball.’  We’ll save that for another post for now.

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One Response

  1. […] If you lead a group of people and share the same view of uninspiring business plans, I encourage you to try playing “catchball” with your group. Catchball, as described by Pascal Dennis here, is the best method I’ve have found to truly engage your team and achieve astonishing business results.  It’s a crucial part of Policy Deployment that Bruce has been blogging about.  (here, here, and here.) […]

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