Using KAI to help a major oil refining business cut costs by £70 million

An experienced KAI Practitioner was brought in by the executive team of a major UK oil refining business. The organisation faced significant challenges, and wanted to find new ways to:

  • Streamline the business
  • Cut costs by £70 million – without firing staff
  • Move the company forwards in a positive way

The consultant was brought in because of their experience working on creativity and innovation in an applied way, and because they had used the KAI to help another organisation in the same sector.

There was a range of adaptors and innovators across the group.

Profiling the executive team

Across 18 months, the practitioner used the KAI as a tool to profile the top team who were engaged in this challenge.



After the executive team completed the KAI, the practitioner helped them to understand that those who scored as adaptive problem-solvers were: thoughtful, analytical, typically not heard in meetings.

The consultant explained that this is because adaptors often need time to gather their thoughts, reflect and feedback a quality answer.

Therefore, the innovators in the group had been very dominant in team conversations but had not moved the business forwards in a positive way.

This was because they were not ‘following through’ initial ideas with structured plans-of-action – a task that adaptors are typically very good at.

Teaching the most senior figure to act as a ‘Bridger’

After the executive team completed the KAI Inventory, the practitioner discovered that the most senior figure in the company had a midpoint score.

This meant that, with some coaching and guidance from the KAI consultant, this individual was able to act as a Bridger between the need for structure (adaption) and shaking things up (innovation).

The senior figure was able to:

  • Understand the points of view of both adaptors and innovators
  • Mediate discussions between different members of the executive team
  • Ensure all views were heard, before agreeing on a path forward

With the KAI practitioner’s guidance, the Bridger moved executive team discussions forwards in a positive and constructive way.

The adaptors with detailed knowledge of the industry, and knowledge of how long certain new processes would take to implement, were given more time and space to bring in their ideas. Meanwhile, the innovators sometimes had to ‘sit on their hands’, but now knew why they were required to do so.

Appreciating and valuing diverse thinking styles

With the guidance of the KAI practitioner, the business’s executive team began to appreciate and value diverse thinking styles.

Furthermore, the KAI results mirrored what the individuals already knew about their own tendencies, and gave them a non-pejorative language through which to talk about the strengths of different team members.

As a result of the use of KAI in this business, the company was able to:

  • Cut costs by £70 million – without firing staff
  • Use the mental resources of the team more effectively
  • Collaborate in a better and more fun way to deliver results
  • Mediate all discussions through the presence of a ‘Bridger’

The team put down their effectiveness to the understanding and insight provided by the KAI Inventory and the practitioner.

Want to talk to one of the team?

Fill out our contact form or call us today on 01923 286999 for a no-obligation chat.