A Time for “Renaissance Thinking”

SOURCE: Kay Sever | June 1, 2020

A life-long dream of mine was to tour Italy to see Roman architecture and the art and sculptures of the Renaissance period, so last fall I booked a 12-day trip to Rome, Florence, Venice and Milan. The focus of the trip was art-history, so many of the works and sites that I have admired were on the itinerary. I was supposed to leave on March 22, but as you can guess, I did not get to take my trip AND lost the money I paid because “country borders closed” was not a reason for cancellation covered by travel insurance.

Even though my trip to Italy was impossible to take, I realized that I had to make a decision about how I would feel when the departure date came. I had two choices: 1) I could either be depressed about what I was not seeing every day and about losing my money OR 2) I could try to have an Italian experience while “sheltering in place”. I decided on option two and designed a “virtual” trip that followed my itinerary.

I watched videos of the sites I was supposed to see, fixed Italian dishes each day, drank Italian wine that I purchased after taking a wine class last year, and painted watercolors of my favorite spots on the trip. Was it the same as being there? No… but I was able to learn about the details behind the design of the Coliseum, the Roman Forum and St. Peter’s Cathedral. I was able to climb to the top of Vesuvius and walk through the streets of Pompeii. I gained insights into the creation of Michelangelo’s David and the history of the Ponte Vecchio in Florence, the horse races of Siena, glass blowing in Venice, and DaVinci’s Last Supper in Milan. I was able to create memories without leaving home, but I had to first THINK differently about what had happened and look for the opportunity in the midst of a loss!   

When I researched the Renaissance Period, I discovered that it was founded on “renaissance thinking”… reaching for what had never been achieved and thought to be impossible. Artists, sculptures, architects and builders worked with a “limitless” perspective. It allowed them to achieve a level of perfection without computers and high-tech tools/equipment… works that cannot be duplicated 500 years later.

So… what does this all have to do with optimization and your business success?

Optimization is about achieving the best possible performance with your people and your equipment. To achieve optimization, your barriers that have prevented that level of performance in the past must be lifted, which means that your management team needs to be aware of what is holding them back and takes action to remove them. Some barriers to optimization suppress your equipment performance; others suppress your organization’s performance. True optimization cannot be achieved until the barriers are lifted on both segments of your company.

Are there equipment losses that you have accepted as part of normal operations? Have you ever wondered if you are losing money because of the way your people work together? Have you considered that some management system tools/elements could actually be holding you back because of the way they are used in decision-making? Could it be possible that you are missing data that would link you to your hidden operating potential? Are there losses not accounted for in the general ledger that are subtracted from reported earnings without your knowledge?

Before any of these questions can be debated, your management team must be willing to abandon long-held beliefs about traditional “plug-and-play” management methods. They must be willing to consider some new concepts that can be incorporated into their management beliefs and style to make them stronger and smarter than ever before!

Today all businesses are faced with challenges that we never thought we would see… business losses will be huge and some companies will not survive this downturn. Businesses cannot afford to lose money without knowing it. If there was ever a time to look for what’s missing, it’s now!

Finding your losses in a down period gives you’re a huge advantage when things come back. Now’s the time to examine your barriers. Find out what’s been holding you back and take action to remove them. Position your company to tap into its earnings potential. It all starts with a new way to find opportunity in the midst of loss! If there was ever a time to adopt “Renaissance Thinking” in business, it’s now.

Thought for the month: “Full Optimization” requires a new way to think, measure and communicate about opportunity in the midst of loss!


Kay Sever is an Optimization Management Expert who reduces financial losses that prevent optimization. These losses are caused by weaknesses in corporate cultures and organizations. She has developed a LIVESTREAM management training system for Optimization Management called MiningOpportunity – NO TRAVEL REQUIRED. MiningOpportunity modules teach executives and management teams how to find and quantify their losses and apply strategies and tactics that stop them. Unique insights from Kay’s 3-year study of management’s barriers to change and optimization are included in the content. See MiningOpportunity.com for her contact information and several training options for your team, including the NEW “Spend a Day

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Kay Sever
Kay Sever Author
P.O. Box 337 Gilbert, AZ USA 85299-0337

Kay has worked side by side with corporate and production sites in a management/leadership/consulting role for 35+ years. She helps management teams improve performance, profit, culture and change, but does it in a way that connects people and the corporate culture to their hidden potential. Kay helps companies move “beyond improvement” to a state of “sustained optimization”. With her guidance and the MiningOpportunity system, management teams can measure the losses caused by weaknesses in their current culture, shift to a Loss Reduction Culture to reduce the losses, and “manage” the gains from the new culture as a second income stream.