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News CBI Formula: 2. See the opportunities...

CBI Formula: 2. See the opportunities...

On 1st of April 2007, New Future Formula saw the light of day. 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 a period of 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. Last week we mapped the processes – this week we unveil the opportunities. The theme this week is ”Potentials”.

New Future Formula, 10 years

We have the formula for continuously improving effectiveness

2. See the opportunities...


On 1st of 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 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.

As you are mapping processes and products, as we discussed in our last posting, you will invariably also note opportunities – meaning aspects to improve. In this posting I will discuss how to grasp hold of the many opportunities and more than most.

The goal is to provide you with an extensive catalogue of opportunities for improvement.

To begin with, we must acknowledge that we perceive things in surprisingly different ways. We view the same horse as a potential racehorse, a friend or an draught animal. Whether or not we are looking at a horse, a process or a product, there is a huge difference between what we as individuals ‘see’ and thereby perceive as immediate opportunities, waste, quality costs – or in other words ‘potentials’. The one big challenge is to manage a process that leads to ‘great potentials’ that everybody can agree to. Actually, you can state this in numbers. All clever organizations claim that at least 20% of their organization holds a potential and the best of these often characterize 50% of their activities as having a potential. Some leaders tend to become somewhat nettled the first time they encounter this claiming that ‘Naturally we don’t waste between 20% and 50 % of what we are doing’ followed by ‘At management level we would of course never accept this.’ The simple fact is, however, that an organization surprisingly seldom makes a relatively realistic identification of its potentials. And even more rarely does it manage to create a culture and a structure ensuring review of the potentials a few times a year. If you do that, as management, you are already in the European elite division.

The first, and perhaps only really important task for management, is to create a pleasant, free and enjoyable atmosphere with management’s express acceptance, where potentials can be unearthed – where what has been left unseen for years is now seen and what has been left unsaid for years is now said. Management must create an atmosphere where potentials are seen as realizable opportunities that make life more interesting, generate lower costs and higher prices. The atmosphere must convey that it is OK to be ‘not optimal’ most of the time, even to fail several times a day. The atmosphere must convey that sharing all this with each other is harmless, because we are neither stupid nor evil and together we can and we must limit non-optimal aspects, faults and stupidities.

Way to often, the corporate culture does not encourage employees to put their energy and creativity on the line. The focus remains rigidly on cost reduction. Management demands the use of cumbersome, predefined success tools from ‘the 1980s Japanese car manufacturers.’ There are well-intended but overly bureaucratic registration processes (tied up in layers of red duck tape). Their focus might well be facts but they are also very restrictive due to their focus on inferior details. There are skilled people dedicated to lean, quality and finance who do not support the employees’ abilities to put their knowhow and insight into words but instead flash their grand self-confidence nurturing tight models, even though their horizon is narrower than what they have the self-realization to admit.

In summary, an organization working with CBI should be able to provide answers to the following questions:

  1. Do employees regard ‘potentials’ as opportunities that might benefit all stakeholders? Or do they think and speak of and treat ‘potentials’ as something negative like faults, crimes and punishment?
  2. Does the entire organization and the individual branches identify min 20% of its activities as a source of potential?
  3. Do you have a vibrant and learning organization whose potentials increase year by year because a decrease due to improvements is constantly being surpassed by increases tied to newly discovered potentials?
  4. Is the definition of potentials broad, is it understood by every man jack in your organization and used constantly?
  5. Do employees mostly identify the potentials using common sense – or are they mostly identified by management in its infinite wisdom and using the special toolboxes of staff specialists?

You might want to address these questions at the next the meeting of your BKI steering group.

It is very tempting to take action now and pinpoint your projects – but as next week's posting will remind us you need to think before you act...

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.

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