Principle of war #1 – Objective

Objective: Direct all efforts toward a clearly defined, decisive, and attainable objective.
Clarity of the objective is essential to success. In military units there is something called “commander’s intent”, which is simply the objective. If subordinate leaders understand the intent they can make split second decisions during times of chaos and confusion. Without a clear objective we are guessing to some degree, not good in a military campaign and not good with operational processes.
We (Lean Six Sigma folks) often begin with strategic planning methods – especially Hoshin Kanri. When the high level organizational objectives are known we can guide project selection and process improvement events. We use various other tools like the project charters, problem statements, ideal state value stream mapping, KPIs, and SMART goal setting to clarify the specific objective. Clarifying the objective is key for both high level strategic plans and low level tactical activities – Kaizen events.
Talk to any Green or Black Belt and they will have a story of how Kaizen efforts failed because of lack of clarity concerning the objective. As Lean Six Sigma professionals we must do all we can to nail down a clear objective for our organizations and for specific Kaizen activities.
Objective, don’t begin your Kaizen without it.