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I-Power continuous improvement process

October 4, 2018

“I” Power: The Secrets of Great Business in Bad Times was written by two friends, Martin Edelston and Marion Buhagiar, in 1992. The book provides a continuous improvement technique that I have been extremely successful with since learning it from this book. My success was in my practice as well as by facilitating meetings with clients’ staff where it has always led to great ideas and suggestions that were eagerly implemented afterwards.

I-Power gives Martin Edelston’s secret of how he quadrupled his business in just a few years without any increase in personnel. For those who don’t know, Marty was the founder of the Bottom Line, Inc. publishing empire, which includes some of the most successful newsletters in business history and is also one of the world’s largest publishers of non-fiction books.

I-Power is a continuous improvement system that cuts costs, increases sales, decreases employee turnover and makes change easy. Its principles are not difficult to adopt and can be put to work quickly often yielding amazing results.

The I-Power technique creates a mechanism to have staff and employees make suggestions and present ideas that can improve the business and employee engagement and performance. The process calls for a meeting where each person comes with one or two ideas that would make their job either easier or more productive, or where the company could save money or make more money. I suggest limiting the size of the meeting to about six staff and a facilitator and having these meetings over a one and half hour lunch.

Every idea is rewarded nominally just for the idea, with gradually bigger rewards for the better ones. The better ideas should then be implemented, and quickly. If not, those generating them will probably stop offering suggestions. Successful implementation usually breeds additional ideas.

At the end of the meeting, a summary would be either prepared and presented to management or the facilitator would use the information gathered to formulate their recommendations at a meeting with management. Most I-Power lunches are standalone meetings, but I occasionally use the lunches as part of a business retreat.

A byproduct of the I-Power method is the exposure or articulation of unpleasant or unproductive processes or actions employees occasionally encounter. Even though many companies have a “suggestion box” or an open door policy, it is rare when an employee will criticize the boss or what they are told to do even if the comments are constructive. The I-Power meeting provides a forum that brings these issues up.

I-Power creates an atmosphere where ideas are encouraged and rewarded, and where the criticism is presented as a continuous improvement idea. I-Power allows a better and fuller means of communication and a more open dialogue.

“I” comes from the positive approaches that are incorporated in many “I” words including: Ideas, Ingenuity, Invention, Incentive, Individual, Invigorate, Inquisitive, Innovation, Inspiration, Intelligence, Imagination and Improvement.

I have been doing this for many years and have adapted the book’s I-Power process to a style and manner that suits me. If you want to find out more information I wholeheartedly recommend reading the book.

If you would like further information about Marty and my relationship with him, here is a link to a blog I posted soon after he passed away. https://partners-network.com/2013/10/08/martin-edelston/

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