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Hansei

 

Hansei is a Japanese term meaning self-reflection. It is a central idea in Japanese culture and has two meanings. First one being - Acknowledging one's mistakes or errors is the first step to improvement and second - taking success with modesty and humility.
The first one ensures that the mistakes are not repeated and second one ensures that there is always scope for improvement.

 

An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by R Rajesh on 29th November 2018. 

 

Applause for all the respondents- S D Khalandar, Sahil Anand, Ramakanta Routaray, Alpana Shah, Ferdoz Yunis

 

Question

Q. 113  Why is Hansei considered to be a “Central Idea” in Japanese Management? How does Hansei relate with Kaizen?  

 

 

This question is open till 5 PM on Friday, 30th November 2018. All rewards are mentioned here - https://www.benchmarksixsigma.com/forum/excellence-rewards/

 

Please remember, your answer will not be visible immediately on responding. It will be made visible at about 5 PM IST on 30th November 2018, Friday. Your answer should not be copied from elsewhere. Plagiarized answers will not be approved. (and therefore will not be displayed) 

 

All questions so far can be seen here - https://www.benchmarksixsigma.com/forum/lean-six-sigma-business-excellence-questions/

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Nothing in this world can be perfect or 100% correct. However and whatever we do, there may be always a chance of improvement.The moment, a person feels that he/she has done enough, he/she stops to grow especially, in his/her professional career/ work. Every person has to do a self-reflection on how he/she did his/her current work. This self-reflection is what Hansei is all about.

 

Why it is a central idea in Japanese Mgmt:
By doing a self-reflection, a person is aware of his/her strengths and weakness (area of improvement). He/she can
polish that missing attributes from his/her reportoire. If that person's work quality or results or work ethic is falling short of expectation, then the person ensures he does an apology to the rest of his/her colleagues/management. This is a prevailing cultural behaviour of the Japanese.This is essentially captured by Hansei. Hence this self-reflection mechanism plays a critical role.

 

How does Hansei relate with Kaizen:
As i stated earlier in my first paragraph, if nothing can be 100% perfect, then there is still scope for Improvement. Did not we hear this regularly,  that a particular company operates at 'X' Sigma, another company operates at 'y' sigma. Why ? because every company wants to push itself to get the maximum results. Ideally they would want the individuals as well as team to do continuous improvements, which is what Kaizen will do. Once a kaizen is done, the team (which did the kaizen) would reflect upon what went well and what can be improved. The team will make a honest assesment of what it did and how it could have been done better - with an individual and team assessment. This is where Hansei comes into picture.


Let me give an example how Kaizen and Hansei can be correlated and why Hansei is essential:

 

In an IT organisation, one portfolio for a customer relationship(engagement with a specific customer organisation), was operating under a Managed Service model in an Agile environment, and one of the project teams improved itself from doing manual testing (unit and functional) to automated unit testing using JUnit(Unit Testing) and Selenium as a Kaizen initiative. The team was happy on the achievement, but when it did a retrospection at the end of one Sprint later than when it was implemented, to see how the automation works , it felt the test cases covered were not effectively implented. The focus on 100% test coverage and the requisite quality was missing. This made the team to again working on improving the process - in this case about writing quality test cases - . So the team decided to moved to Behaviour Driven Development approach. So after doing the self-relfection, the team decided to do an improvement activity(Kaizen).   

   

Conclusion:   

Self-awareness is a must for any person to grow, personally and professionally. Here we are focussing on the professional front. No one (for that matter any team) can be 100% right. Telling in lighter terms to portray this aspect alone, if you are an avid fan of the game of Cricket, you can notice the fact that the legendary Sir Donald Bradman had an average of 99.96% (he could not score 4 runs in his final innings to get the coveted 100%). Whatever you are going to do as an individual/as a team, there is always going to be scope for improvement. Improvement cannot occur unless you realize what you did, how you did and what could be done better. This self reflection with a degree of humbleness, and eagerness to improve things, will make an indvidual grow as a human being in his/her professional career and a trust-worthy leader. 

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Both terms - Hansei - "Self reflection" & kaizen - "Continuous Improvement" are found by Toyota Production System. As per my knowledge, Hansei is the integral part of kaizen & deals when someone's make mistakes/ faults, how they reflect their own actions to prevent it from reoccurring & if Hansei is success leads to Yokoten & if it fails, leads to kaizen.

 

Hansei is all about acknowledging one's faults/mistakes and to pledge for improvement. Kaizen means “continuous improvement,” and practiced as a team to achieve goals as a learning organization. Both are will come under 2nd quadrant of Eisenhower matrix- Not Urgent but Important.

 

In general, approximately 60-70% Continuous improvement projects will suffer with revised EDC's (Expected Date of Completions), caused by many factors like human, management, Environment, market & technology trends etc.,

For human/management faults, Hansei is one of the key tool for preventing them through self awareness by continuous learning, which results in stretched performance in achieving SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time specific) goals as per project timelines. 

 

In TPS, Hansei sessions generally conduct at key stages/ at the end of a projects to identify opportunities, scope for fault(s) occurrences while executing the project, develop countermeasures along with action plan & communicate to rest of the people  to prevent them proactively.

Hence, Hansei is key concept for learning organizations along with kaizen & it is generally refer to the step "Check" in Plan- Do- Check- Cycle to verify the countermeasures periodically.

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Hansei is more or less a review mechanism which focuses on any gaps which have resulted due to any measurable deviation from the target. Both Hansei & Kaizen focus on  continuous improvement. 

Kaizen is religiously practised in six sigma organizations as each day brings new challenges and those challenges are critically evaluated to find opportunities for improvement. 

Both Hansei & Kaizen do share a symbiotic relationship.

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1) Japanese focus on continuous improvement rather than a sudden or quick improvemet  which doesn't stand valid for a long time.

Especially continuous improvement build long term success.

 

2) Continous improvement on an individual or organization or group requires understanding the  root cause in transparent manner and then working towards that.

 

3) Transparency in communication, in accepting any fact is the key to approach any problem and finding a best possible solutions to that problem.

 

4) Especially in manufacturing organization or assembly or reaseach organization, it is very much essential to keep informed all stakeholders about the problem. Sharing transparently with others about the problem always give benefit of finding an optimum solutions.

 

5) This transparency communication will happen when an individual accept his or her own mistake in understanding or in analysing or in communicating or in supplying inputs to next customer.

 

6) This forms a close look of information sharing and collectively approaching towards a problem and finding a solution.

 

7) Accepting one's own mistake will open up transparency and will get support from the extended hand.

In Japanese,

 

8) Hansei  means acknowledge one's own mistake and promising for improvement.

 

9) Once acceptance of own mistake is done, next step is make a promise for improvement gradually step by step.

Hence hansei is the central idea.

 

10) It enhances learning ability

It gives chance to improve from one to next gradually

 

11) Hansei is related with kaizen, which specially focus on continuous improvement.

 

12) To achieve continuous success, hansei is a key to that, a stepping stone to that.

 

13) As it emphasizes on accepting one's own mistake and improve gradually.

Hansei is an essential key element for a long term success

 

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Hansie means reflection and it's the central idea in Japanese culture. It says to acknowledge one's mistake and to pledge improvement. With this kind of foundation an organisation will always be on the path of continual improvement and certainly it will result in success.

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Hansei means reflection. It is a deeply internal process which can be done individually or in a group. The focus is not the mistakes, but what could have been done better. This focus leads to Kaizen ideas.

 

R Rajesh's answer is the chosen best answer for this question. He has detailed out how Hansei is connected to Kaizen and not used the word mistake but  terms such as retrospection, reflection and opportunity for improvement. These words indicate the true spirit behind Hansei.

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Hansei is the Japanese word for this form of self-reflection, and it should be the single most important activity to happen in every PDCA cycle.

 

Hansei is a central idea in Japanese culture. Its meaning is to acknowledge your own mistake and to pledge improvement.

 

In Japanese companies it's common practice that a manager expects hansei from his subordinates in case of mistakes. The manager takes the blame in public, whereas the department works on solving the problem.

 

We all agree that it is important for businesses to improve and continuously evolve – whether you call this Kaizen, Lean, TQM, TPM or any of the other plethora of methodologies.

Hansei is an important part of Japanese culture – a continuous form of subtle meditation undertaken to look at past mistakes, outline the lessons and pledge to act on those lessons. “Han" means to change, turn over, or turn upside down. "Sei" means to look back upon, review, and examine oneself.

 

Hansei looks at personal failures rather than systemic or process issues. Therefore, it is a conditioning of our mind where we are able to talk truly to our self and find out our real weaknesses that exist within us. Once we recognize there is a problem, we must work towards ascertaining the GAP. GAP is the difference between the expectation from the project or activity and our actual achievement.

Hansei is one of the keys to kaizen, as the concept itself focuses on improvement

Through hansei we understand our shortcomings so that we can improve ourselves to be better. Kaizen (change for the better) can happen through hansei. Daily practice of hansei helps us to assume responsibility to see problems and keeps us open for improvements. Daily hansei is an exercise to promote humility and be a life-long learner.

 

Hansei is both an intellectual and emotional introspection. The individual must recognize the gap between the current situation and the ideal, take responsibility for finding solutions, and commit to a course of action. The examination involves a review of successes and failures, to determine what works and what needs to be improved. Hansei leads to ideas for kaizen and yokoten, the sharing of best practices from one location to another.

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