New Future Formula has been assisting organizations for 10 years. To celebrate this we are sharing tips and tricks with you over a period of 10 weeks. We wish to provide you with inspiration to continue your journey towards the top. We have mapped processes, identified potentials, reflected on opportunities, decided improvement projects and realized the improvements. But this is not a one-off process, we need to repeat the process again and again. As part of our corporate culture and in structured manner. With this in mind, the theme of this week is how to install an appropriate repetitive rhythm for your journey.
New Future Formula, 10 years
We have discovered the formula for continuously improving effectiveness
6. The need for repetition...
On 1 April 2017 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 the 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.
In the past five postings, we have discussed how to identify, decide on and realize a portfolio of improvement projects using the CBI formula. A typical project portfolio for an area with 100 people may involve 5-25 projects which will all lead to documented bottom line improvements to the tune of 2-8 % when completed within 100 days.
But can you do it again? You not only can – you should do it over and over again, two or three times a year forever. Just like you would not stop keeping yourself physically and mentally fit. You adopt a lifestyle that will at best keep and preferably raise your level through endless repetitions. Every day you do those little things, like taking the stairs instead of the lift. You might organise milestones that make you commit yourself, like going on the annual bike ride in the company of good friends and the annual holiday when you go skiing with the family.
Our lives and calendars are full of such patterns and repetitions, seasonal events such as Christmas, the opening night of the newest James Bond film, the traditional annual reunion with old friends the last weekend in January. These all create a comfortable and familiar traditional setting that can hold both the expected and the unexpected. And no matter how things turn out, everybody is set to go next year at almost the same time. This is how you create a good culture – through repetitions, habits and patterns you have agreed on and which evolve over time.
CBI is a programme that was developed with a view to continuously improving effectiveness. CBI is not only a project and not only a programme. It is also a collective lifestyle change and a cultural conversion process. This is not just something you plan. It takes action – and then thoughts, adjustments and planning. Over and over again. Just like every other major and engaging repetitions in life, you will mostly encounter joy and success, but there will also be sadness and mistakes that you will need to handle and learn from. In this connection, the acknowledged repetitive pattern of a calendar is excellent because it leads you to the good habits that promote the desired culture.
We prefer to compile the repetitions in a CBI cycle or a Wheel of the Year. An innate part of this is the joys and successes that the organisation will have from working with CBI. Working with the CBI cycle, this is when attempts are made to pinpoint the exact nature of the CBI culture.
Most organisations are able to manage two or three cycles a year. You may want to call the concrete plan of a cycle listing specific deadlines and those in charge a master plan. Especially the first master plans is difficult and important to an organisation. Difficult because having knowledge from and experience with CBI in particular and improvement work in general can be a fragmented, huge and also unpredictable task. Important because the first master plan also lays the groundwork, provides the DNA of the contents of the CBI cycle – and with this also future master plans.
Managements often make the following mistakes when they define a fixed framework for the CBI journey (the CBI cycle) and a short-term framework (the master plan):
- The cycle and the master plan are unrealistic, which kills all motivation.
- Management goes far too much into detail with the cycle and the master plan – or too little.
- The cycle and the master plan are realistic and easy to understand – but not followed by the entire organisation.
- The cycle and the master plan do not provide a joint framework for all types of improvements in all branches of the organisation.
- The contents of the cycle and the master plan change with every cycle – either too little or far too much.
- Management does not reflect and learn from the process in a qualified manner from one cycle to the next.
The underlying causes of each of these mistakes are highly varied. Identifying them, learning from them and acting based on them are exciting challenges that will provide any management with insight about themselves.
All managements should be able to answer four simple questions in order to assess whether they can manage to successfully implement CBI improvements – over and over again.
- Do we have – and are we living – a cycle where CBI is beneficial? Do we share – and are we living – a framework where we commit ourselves to identifying, deciding on and carrying through a steady flow of improvements and effectiveness enhancements?
- Do we have a suitably detailed master plan and a goal in place for our CBI efforts for the next six months?
- How do we support the ability of middle management to do their own detailed CBI planning using sticks and carrots?
- How do we follow up on the ability of middle management and project managers to implement plans, obtain results – and in the process find it educational and rewarding?
- How do we achieve a process of reflection in a qualified manner and learning from one cycle to the next at all levels?
You might want to address these questions at the next the meeting of your management group.
Creating and defining a pattern for the continued improvement efforts of your business are not enough, meaning a CBI cycle. Successful organisations also strive to improve the qualifications and the infrastructure of the organisation in parallel with this. These are the issues that we will be discussing in the following two postings. We will start by looking at qualifications.
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.