On 1 April 2007, New Future Formula set out on its journey. Over the years, we have assisted organizations create convincing and lasting productivity gains. We have had the pleasure of cooperating with early infancy start-ups as well as thriving businesses in need of new inspiration. Over the next 10 weeks, we will be sharing with you the essence of our learnings plus tips and tricks from our first decade. We hope to provide you with inspiration to continue your journey towards the top. Over the past couple of weeks we have mapped processes (1) and found potentials (2). And so we might as well get started on reaping the fruits from the improvement projects? No! We must allow ourselves time to think; we must make sure to ‘sow the seeds’ that will enable us to 'harvest’ the benefits next year. With this in mind, this week's theme is ‘reflection’.
New Future Formula, 10 years
We have the formula for continuously improving effectiveness
3. Think carefully if you don't want to lose momentum...
On 1 April 2007 New Future Formula set out on its journey. Much has happened since then. New Future Formula has been dedicating the past few years to fine-tuning our many approaches to making business enterprises work in a better, faster and more intelligent manner. We call this “CBI – Continuous Business Improvement” because it embraces the entire organization and supports a variety of already on-going effectiveness-enhancing initiatives. CBI can therefore improve revitalization of on-going programmes, if this is required. Our CBI is also the ideal tool for companies looking for a simple yet powerful structure and sturdy tools for their future effectiveness-enhancing programme. We are celebrating our 10-year anniversary by serving you, the readers of New Future Formula's newsletter, 10 easily digestible titbits.
Using the CBI formula, organizations continuously achieve three things:
- Documented bottom-line revenue improvements to the tune of 4-16 %.
- Year by year, improvements that the customers can understand and which make sense for the staff.
- Year by year, people with enhanced skills and improved systems to see and to carry through improvements.
You know what you want and why (0). You have mapped processes and products (1). You have identified the potentials (2). And so, you might as well get started – go ahead deciding on improvements and implementing them. No need to hang back, many people might say. That is why they don't get to sow their seeds – they harvest and harvest and harvest, and then one day, they are baffled why the tree has no more delicious, low-hanging fruits and the grass seems to hide no more attractive apples. They run out of opportunities, ideas and energy.
Organizations that time and again generate above average CBI results introduce a reflective phase before defining their projects. They know very well that in order to obtain long-term successes, you need to sow, fertilize, plant and trim the trees to be able to harvest your fruits over the years to come, too. They know that the portfolio of projects has the right balance between short-term harvesting projects and long-term sowing projects and that especially the ‘sowing projects’ rarely crop up out of the blue.
So what could be sowing projects? Sowing projects are anything that leads to harvesting projects from a long-term perspective. Briefly a few examples:
- Plan and establish a system that will record the types of potentials you have identified. We know today that the potentials are huge but not their exact sizes or components.
- Develop and introduce a reporting system to ensure that already automatically compiled data about a given potential is distributed to the entire organization in a simple and smart process on a regular basis.
- Conduct an analysis into the actual causes, effects and circumstances of a particular issue thereby leading to a number of harvesting projects.
- Train employees in conducting improvement projects.
And how do you identify these sowing/improvement projects There are, at least, two approaches.
You could use ordinary common sense and good dialogue: Which information, which competencies and which systems might increase the scope of the improvements considerably from a long-term perspective? You clearly build on the process map, the process overview and the potentials. You will be faced with the challenge to create an environment where participants work with each other’s ideas, so that the result is synergistic. You should pay attention to the downside of group dynamics, when what is said sometimes matters less than who says it. You should be aware of this already when preparing for the process. There are many tools and techniques you can use, but the simplest method – awareness of the topic – is often the best.
You could also use an evaluation model – for example the Learning Information System, QIS or the recognized EFQM Business Excellence model. The model approach is great, because it gives you a lot for free. It gives you a standardised and thoroughly tested framework for topics and questions, which makes the participants feel comfortable and in control. It typically comes with an evaluation model that can be used for benchmarking. This enables us to trigger that special combination of competition, learning and fun, which most people find so stimulating.
In summary, an organization working with evaluations should ask itself the following questions:
- Do you pay equal attention to your long-term sowing opportunities as well as you short-term and specific harvesting opportunities, that is your potentials?
- Do you have a common model that you can use for systematic and regular evaluations?
- Do you make positive and active use of your evaluation model?
- Does your atmosphere allow for reflection and evaluation? This means that all participants stay focused and listen to each other.
You might want to address these questions at the next the meeting of your CBI steering group.
Next week, we will address how to decide on a sufficient number of projects so that you can eventually convert last week's and this week’s reflections into actions.
New Future Formula is dedicated to working with CBI - Continuous Business Improvement. Together with our client:
We design, introduce and support new CBI programmes.
We inspire, evaluate and improve existing CBI programmes.
The CBI formula is our framework. To begin with we look at purpose, objectives and direction. Through continuous process improvements, employee development and system optimization we create a steady flow of results. This allows us to spread out the continuous effectiveness efforts to all corners of the company and its life.
Since 2007, New Future Formula has completed more than 8,300 improvement projects for more than 80 organizations with a documented effect on the bottom line in excess of EUR 148.6 million. In the process, more than 500 people have received training.