Achieving Optimization: A Vision and a Decision

SOURCE: Kay Sever | September 1, 2020

Kay Sever

For the past few months we have explored the topic of Renaissance Thinking and what it means to your business success and your ability to optimize the performance of your assets and your people.

The concept of Renaissance Thinking was born in the Renaissance period, a time in history when artists, architects and builders reached for what had never been achieved or what was believed to be impossible. Renaissance Thinkers had “a vision” for what they wanted to create or build. To transform their visions into reality, Renaissance Thinkers had to make “a decision” to abandon conventional practices used for centuries and ignore criticisms from peers that would steal their passion for a project. A vision without this decision would have prevented their success!

Conventional practices and criticisms from peers are “timeless barriers” that all innovators have faced and must choose to overcome. How does this truth apply to optimization and business success today?

A Vision for Best Possible (i.e., Optimization):

It is easy to have a wish or vision for being the best. People set a personal standard for doing their best job at work. Executives set company goals for “being the best”. These goals are reflected in vision or mission statements with words like “we are the best” or “we will work to be the best”, etc. Executives imagine what “best possible” would look like in their organizations… no production losses, no wasted dollars, no problems between departments, employees that are free to speak about problems without retribution, projects that come in on time and on budget, a focus on strengthening weaknesses instead of hiding them… you could probably think of other examples.

Your vision is the starting point for optimization, but your actions taken make “best possible” performance (i.e., optimization) a reality!

Acting on Your Vision – A Two-Part Decision

Optimization is an innovative business practice that shifts an organization’s focus towards achieving a “best possible” goal. This shift creates a set of barriers that are unique to the goal of being the best; some of these barriers are asset-based and others are organization-based. It is imperative that business leaders understand both sets of barriers and make a decision to overcome them if they are serious about achieving their “best possible” goals.

  1. If executives decide to act to achieve optimization, the first thing they often do is spend money. Executives have been told that new equipment and systems will deliver optimization to their doorstep by eliminating production bottlenecks, excess costs and other asset-based barriers to optimization. The problem with this belief is that new equipment and systems can remove only one set of a company’s barriers to optimization.
  2. A second set of barriers to optimization reside inside the organization, specifically inside the management system. Regardless of product or service, executives/management teams use a common subset of tools and practices for financial and organizational goal setting, problem-solving and decision-making with the intent of achieving budget. And here is the problem… Managing to meet budget IS NOT the same process as managing to optimize performance!

To achieve optimization, leaders must change the way they manage assets and people. If this subset of conventional tools and practices is not upgraded to meet management’s new challenges and responsibilities, disconnects between the goal and the system used to achieve the goal will create barriers that handicap management’s day-to-day decision-making ability. These barriers hide upside potential of equipment/processes, create doubt what is possible to achieve or change, and cause leaders to make poor choices when letting go of old ways of doing things and adopting new ways of working together. Making this subset of management tools and practices “optimization-compatible” will remove this set of barriers and increase management effectiveness long-term. If this upgrade is overlooked, millions of dollars of future profit over LOM are at risk.

A Parting Thought…

Achieving your “best possible” performance must begin with a shift in thinking about what is possible to achieve/change, followed by a decision to abandon conventional practices that will prevent you from achieving that goal. Renaissance Thinkers had to “make a decision” to abandon traditional thoughts and practices that prevented them from trying new approaches. In 2020, CEOs, executive teams and management teams must make a decision to adapt/upgrade a subset of their management tools and practices to fit a new goal of achieving “best possible” performance.   

Thought for the month: Your Vision and your Decision will make or break your optimization success.


Kay Sever is an Optimization Management Expert who helps executive and management teams reach their optimization goals. 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 strategically “upgrade” parts of their management system to remove barriers that steal profit, divide people and prevent optimization. Training will use your problems and examples to maximize learnings and accelerate change. Unique insights from Kay’s 3-year study of management’s barriers to change and optimization are included in the content. See for her contact information and several training options for your team, including the NEW “Spend a Day with Kay” option.

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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.