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Catchball is a lean approach in which proposals or ideas are passed from one level to another across the organization's hierarchy for feedback and action planning. This results in refinement of objectives via two-way communication and alignment of actions with the strategic objectives.

 

An application-oriented question on the topic along with responses can be seen below. The best answer was provided by Santosh Sharma on 9th Jan 2021.

 

Applause for all the respondents - Sankar Chinnasamy, Santosh Sharma, Sanjay Singh

Question

Q 329. Catchball is a simple and effective lean technique to realize continuous improvements. What is catchball and its benefits?

 

 

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Catchball is a practice that make Lean one of the most effective methodologies for managing teams. Which allows us to align company’s goals and objectives with the actions of the people on all hierarchical levels of organization.

 

It has a vertical application meaning that top level of management sets goals for the company and creates a strategy. They toss it like a ball to the lower level and wait to receive tactics proposition and feedback.

 

image.png.35b45771276641b103048ed36c2d8c96.png

 

In next step, mid-level management tosses the goals down to front line managers, and process is repeated until “the ball” has reached the person at bottom of the pyramid.

The final goal is to give input & align every action in a common direction, provided by every person who is working towards achieving the company’s goals. There may be some iterations before the consensus is reached.

 

In Lean, tactics and process improvements are tossed up by lower management levels and regular team members, Although strategy is usually thrown down by executives. This makes this process extremely suitable for companies that have embraced a culture of shared leadership.

 

It is a effective way to make sure that employees understand how they fit into the picture and become more connected to the organization's.

 

Benefits of Applying Catchball

Catchball is a practice that can lead to a rapid increase of engagement in the team, which will help to achieve continuous improvement.

 

When looking at new ideas / plans for company, this element of Hoshin Kanri method can help get a better understanding of practicality of the plans and help executives to decide whether they will be success or not.

 

This is done by allowing people from multiple areas to contribute to the analysis of the plan/idea. They will be able to suggest practical improvement coming straight from the “gemba” and will be more determined to execute the plan wanting to prove that their suggestions have an actual value.

 

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The term "Catchball" is a effective lean technique to catch the ideas and information from one person to another person or group as like where we use to play passing the ball and get as much as information without any negativity or discourages and from leadership level to floor level 

 

Benefits:

>. Its breaks the wall of hierarchy

>.Encourages for cross functional involvement

>.It will be focused on final goals & Objectives

 

 

 

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Catchball is the technique for creating & maintaining the open feedback loops across all the levels of the organization by establishing the two –way Communication platform. Under this Top Management set the strategic goals & the proposed strategy and toss to the the lower level like the ball & take the feedback & their Views, After several looped discussion they come to the common Consensus.

Similarly Middle level Management tosses the goals to the lower level management (Team leaders, Engineers, Supervisors etc) & repeat the same process  until ‘the ball/Goals’ has been reached at the person which is at the bottom.

Ultimate Aim is that every person who will be working  towards the company Goals should provide their Input & their actions should be aligned in common direction which are fulfilling Company Goals & Priorities.

Key Enablers for Catchball Process

  • Every should be a part of the Process , you must not miss any member or skip any level
  • Every Person should be given enough time to Investigate the Plan & to provide feedbacks & data before Passing the ball to the next team member or returning to you
  • Make people Understand that they are one team & their every small suggestion will be respected & encouraged
  • Person holding the ball must take the ownership of their ideas & suggestions, So make sure a s a team they should be executed if accepted by the team

Key Benefits of the Catchball Process

  • Increase of information sharing across all the levels of the Company
  • Every Persons actions are aligned as per the goal of the Company
  • It increases the Continuous Improvement culture inside the organization

 

image.png.9d8fef5e54317b950e0fbd96c9bfd674.png

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Both Santosh Sharma and Sanjay Singh have provided appropriate answers.

The winner for this question is Santosh Sharma as he has provided a crisp explaination and has also highlighted the source of this approach as Hoshin Kanri. 

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