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 a common understanding of the objective. If subordinate commanders 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 organizational processes.    We (Lean Six Sigma folks) often begin with strategic planning methods – especially Hoshin Kanri. When high level organizational objectives are documented it enables us to better guide project selection and process improvement events. Various tools are used at this stage like project charters, problem statements, ideal state value stream maps, KPIs, or SMART goals. Clarifying the objective is key for both high level strategic plans and low level tactical activities – aka Kaizen events.    Talk to any Green or Black Belt and they will have a story of how Kaizen efforts struggled because of lack of clarity concerning the objective. As Lean Six Sigma professionals we must do all we can to nail down a clear (SMART) objective for our Kaizen activities. If nothing else it communicates what success looks like.   Objective, don’t begin without it.      

Quote   “Leadership requires two things: a vision of the world that does not yet exist and the ability to communicate it.”   Simon Sinek, Author “Start With Why”