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Self-Test: Try Your Hand at the Magic of Managing Your Life

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Grab a pencil and paper for this self-test!

Create Your Personal HoshinTM Map

There is a reason good Hoshin trainers are highly paid: they take simple tools and create magic. I hope this process will spark a little magic in your life, but for that to happen you'll want to take the process step by step as if a trainer were guiding you on what to do next. In other words, trust the process and don't read ahead. Read each step and do it. You'll want to set aside 20 to 60 minutes; if you're pressed for time, the process can be done in two parts.

Step 1: Map Your Present Condition

Place a bold dot on the axis line of each life quality category, indicating how satisfied you are with that aspect of your life. (0=low, 5=average, 10=perfect). Then connect the dots to reveal your present condition.


Step 2: Choose the question you will live

Hoshin almost always starts with a question, and built into the process is the assumption that you have the answers inside you. You want to choose a question that really excites you, where you would feel phenomenal if you woke up living the answer to that question. Your question ought to be concise and focused. Don't build answers into the question. In a typical seminar, people often frame their question around the life issue where they scored lowest on the radar graph. You may select any area of your life -- or your whole life -- to complete your focus question.

What are the key issues that must be addressed in order for me to achieve/enjoy great success/fulfillment_______________________________?

Complete your question by adding your chosen focus, such as "in my marriage," "in my career," "in my spiritual life," etc.

Step 3: Write five diverse answers to your focus question above.

Each answer begins with the words "I must..."

Use a total of five to nine words long (including "I must").

Phrase each answer in a positive way.

(Hint: If your question is a table holding a gourmet feast, each answer is one of the legs supporting the table. Test each question with your heart. Do you feel a lift? If the answer is flat for you, choose another question.)

Step 4. Quickly rank your answers in order of priority (1 is very important and 5 is less important). 

A____ B____ C____ D____ E____


Step 5: Copy answers A and B onto the North Star diagram.

Now look at the two answers and ask yourself whether they are related or should be. If so, complete the dotted line between the two. (If they are not related, skip to step 6.) If you can complete the line between them, then ask yourself which answer drives the other. In other words, which is the root and which is the fruit? Fill in the arrow to show which drives the other. Only fill in one arrow. (Hint: The art of the Hoshin is trust. If you can't decide which is the driver, choose the one closer to your heart.)

Step 6: Copy answer C onto the North Star diagram.

Now ask yourself whether A and C are related. If so, complete the dotted line. Then decide which is the driver and complete the arrow. Next consider answers B and C. Are they related? Which is the driver?

Step 7: Copy answer D onto the North Star diagram. 

Working clockwise around the diagram, decide if there is a relationship and which is the driver between D and A? D and B? D and C?

Step 8: Copy answer E into the North Star diagram.

Working clockwise and around the diagram, consider the relationships between E and A, E and B, E and C, E and D. Where there is a relationship or ought to be, fill in the dotted line and then the arrow. (Hint: If you can't immediately see a relationship, ask yourself whether relating one issue to another would help to support your desired outcome.)

Step 9: Scoring

For each box, count the number of arrows Out. Each arrow Out is worth one point. Now rank your answers with your highest score as number 1 and your lowest score number 5. If there is a tie, the one that drives the other ranks higher. If there is a tie and neither drives the other, use your heart to decide which ranks higher. 

Hoshin rank

1. I must__________

2. I must__________

3. I must__________

4. I must__________

5. I must__________

Step 10: Interpreting your score: Being, Doing, Having

In the Hoshin Ranking, your #1 (and perhaps #2) is your primary driver. They represent the driving, critical issues that will best support your desired state's coming into being. These top drivers should be where you spend most of your energy to live the question you created for yourself. 

The next two answers, #3 and #4, typically represent a state of action. If you put your focus into the primary drivers (above), you will be more inspired and better able to accomplish these two.

The final answer is typically the outcome, what you will get if you put your energy into the preceding drivers with a top-down focus.

Chances are your initial ranking of your five answers and your Hoshin ranking are not the same. I find that most people never really clarify or objectively evaluate their priorities, which all too often leads them into a well-intended yet misplaced focus on the wrong ones. That's why people face the same problems again and again. If your initial ranking and your Hoshin ranking are different, and you take your hoshin results seriously, you'll probably discover that life can be more fun and productive. It's "nature's path of least resistance," where the wind is more often at your back and the right steps in the right order become clear.

Click here for our related article explaining Hoshin


America’s Leading Priority Strategist, Matthew Cross is an acclaimed thought leader, speaker, Deming Scholar and Hoshin Kanri strategic alignment specialist. He has authored eight books to date, including The Hoshin Success Compass™The Golden Ratio Lifestyle Diet™ and The Millionaire's MAP™. See www.LeadershipAlliance.com.


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