“Ho-Ren-So”, having the same sound as the word for spinach in Japanese, is an “abbreviation of “Hokoku” (to report), “Renraku" (to inform) and “Sodan”(to consult). It is utilized as a basic business rule in Japan in order to conduct smooth business communication. The origin of “Ho-Ren-So” comes from Tomiji Yamazaki who was the ex-president of Yamatana Security firm. In 1982 He started using the term for effective business communication in his firm and it has been widely spread and used throughout Japan through his book, “Strengthen your company with Ho-Ren-So”.
“Hokoku” is to report on a process or result of business from a subordinate to a superior. In Japan, subordinates don't have much authority to make business decision. Usually the decisions are made by an organization as a whole. Therefore, a subordinate must report everything to superior immediately and exactly. It is especially important to report a mistake or a problem immediately because his/her superior has the responsibility for it.
“Renraku” is to inform facts. One must inform the facts and decision to the relevant parties. One should not include one opinion and guesses. If "Renraku" is not done or not completed, then you cannot control your team. And then, "Renraku" communicated to the people who need it. Finally, "Renraku" done quickly. Its content might need to prepare for the next action.
“Sodan” is to consult or discuss. For example, a superior give a subordinate an advice, and an employee talks over with superior about some unnecessary consultation in Japanese business. Because a superior rarely speaks to a subordinate in the Japanese company, but, they want to be ask for their advice. They want others to think that "you can always count on me." So, they feel better if they receive request for consultation from their subordinate.
Pros and Cons
There are a lot of Pros in "Ho-Ren-So" as below. First, if a trouble of tasks is reported, it can be resolved quickly because a manager controls it and decides how to resolve it. Next, if information is contacted with team members and it is known all members of a team, they can control a schedule and a task each other. Finally, if information is consulted from a subordinate, a decrease of quality will be prevented and it will not be worked again.
On the other hand, there are some Cons in "Ho-Ren-So". First, there is a cost of management. It needs a lot of times to do it. Thus employees can't get enough time to do your work. Next, a subordinate always waits for an order from his/her manager. It prevents that they don't consider of their tasks by themselves.