Optimization and Renaissance Thinking-The Link

SOURCE: Kay Sever | December 28, 2023

In 2024 we will explore the invisible barriers that make it hard for you to achieve or sustain performance optimization… the barriers that live outside the boundaries of a traditional optimization scope… barriers rarely spoken about or recognized. We will arm executives and management teams with strategies that expand management’s ability to sustain an optimization culture at your operations. As part of that work, you will gain insights about new “territories of thought and action” that will expand your thinking about what it means to “be the best” and 2) actually “achieve your best performance” at your site or company. 

Why this topic now? 

After speaking and writing for years about data, calculations, management perspectives and practices that hide profit potential… AND after sharing case studies about success and failure with optimization, I still find that business leaders believe it is IMPOSSIBLE to lose millions of dollars and not know it. 

Recently I talked with a childhood friend who later became a high ranking financial executive in a major steel company. I told him about my unique work in optimization and said that, based on my experience, his company likely left millions of dollars on the table (over time) without knowing it. He said “I don’t believe that’s possible”. I replied “I know you don’t”. 


THEY ARE LIKELY LEAVING MILLIONS OF DOLLARS ON THE TABLE that could have been reported as profit with no additional investment and are forfeiting the opportunity to capture of those losses. 

My friend believed that the financial system included all losses on the income statement because that is what is taught in every accounting class. What is NOT taught is what’s NOT reported: NO DATA OR DOLLARS for operating/financial potential (the difference between what was possible to achieve and what was achieved). This omission insures that NO MANAGEMENT TEAM can just use their financial statements to determine if their operations or their companies have achieved optimization! This fact about the financial system creates an invisible barrier when optimization is the goal. 

The GOOD NEWS is this: if an optimization dataset is used in conjunction with the financial system, then management has the data it needs to achieve and sustain optimization. 

There is a small subset of other management tools and practices that have been used for decades to measure and manage performance. They work OK until optimization becomes the goal… then they are a mismatch for achieving that goal. It is not necessary to replace these tools with new ones… minor changes in the management’s use of these tools is usually all that’s required. But when management teams believe that they already have what they need to succeed, this opportunity is missed.   

So… how do we fix this? Where do we start? Would a look back at history give us an idea for breaking down the paradigms that stand in the way of you achieving your best performance?

 The Renaissance Period and Renaissance Thinking 

The Renaissance was a period of time between the 1300’s and 1600’s where people in Italy and adjacent European countries sought out new knowledge and made many discoveries in the arts, architecture, sciences and philosophy. Many of these incredible creations and discoveries of artists, builders, mathematicians, engineers and authors can still be seen today. 

Some individuals like Leonardo DaVinci and Michelangelo were experts in multiple disciplines (engineering, painting, sculpting, building). Their ability to combine new insights and knowledge across multiple disciplines led to creations and inventions that pushed the boundaries of what society believed was possible to create, build or achieve at that time.   

Renaissance Thinking – Exploration and the Intentional Search for Knowledge

During the Renaissance, the desire to explore the unknown was strong. To gain new knowledge, some people traveled to unknown parts of the world by ship or caravan. These explorers did not know what they would find when they arrived in foreign lands, but chose to make the journey anyway because they (and their sponsors) valued new knowledge more than the fear of the unknowns they would encounter along the way.     

This same kind of Renaissance Thinking is required to begin your optimization journey. Why? Because what you believe about the systems and tools you use every day to run your company determines your willingness to question their effectiveness in an optimization environment. This level of questioning is what leads to the discovery and capture of hidden operating and financial potential NOT MEASURED, MANAGED OR REPORTED by your current management system/toolset. 

Renaissance Thinking… the desire to explore for what’s missing or unknown about your company… needs to be the first step in the Optimization Process because it gives a management team “permission” to step outside of their current mindset and make new choices. Without that desire, you will never know what you are missing from your management system and how those voids impact earnings and your ability to achieve and sustain your “best” performance.

This year we are going to “go exploring”. We will be exposing some of the weak points in your management tools, your organizations and your processes that hinder your ability to optimize performance. I hope you join me on this Optimization Renaissance journey.   

NEXT MONTH: Did you know that the accounting system we use today has its roots in pre-Renaissance trade (800 years ago)? We will dive into this topic next month (see below) to understand the mismatch between an accounting system’s original purpose and its ineffectiveness as a tool if optimization is the goal. Understanding accounting’s history/purpose gives new insights for the need for optimization data.   

Thought for the year: Connecting history and process mismatches to optimization initiatives gives your executives and management teams a huge advantage when pushing the boundaries on what’s possible to achieve. Fostering and nurturing the desire to explore for hidden profit potential is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP in defining what it means to “be the best” in your industry and “achieving and sustaining your best performance” at your site or company. 


Kay Sever is an Expert on Achieving “Best Possible” Results. Kay helps executive and management teams tap their hidden profit potential and reach their optimization goals. Kay has developed a LIVESTREAM management training system for Optimization Management called MiningOpportunity – NO TRAVEL REQUIRED. See MiningOpportunity.com for her contact information and training information.

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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.