Urgency in Turnarounds

When a team has tried everything in their power to solve a dilemma and is unsuccessful, the turnaround manager must step in. The buck stops with him; if a third party cannot reach resolution with company staff, someone with more clout must reestablish credibility. Use of a consistent complain resolution process can prove quite effective. It frees the team up to not have to stress relationships with those with whom they have either had long term relationships or with whom they must transact business once the turnaround is complete. Even managers should appeal to the business owner or turnaround executive if a third party will not accept their efforts to resolve issues.

Doing the Job Effectively

Encouraging employees to perform their jobs thoroughly, to the point they exceed performance standards, is most easily done by providing responsibility and reward. Treat employees as peers, recognizing that they too have responsibilities and commitments. Offering them the opportunity to wield more authority is rarely rejected. Promote a diligent working atmosphere wherein employees want to go the extra mile.

Ask all employees to document any problems with suppliers, customers, or service providers. Often, taking it a step further and documenting issues with sales teams, distributors and governmental agencies (where appropriate) can provide a paper trail to  help the executive team and turnaround artist in their work to remove roadblocks. When relevant facts are understood, appropriate actions can be taken.

Dealing With a Lack of Resources

When a company is in the middle of a turnaround, certain items that would make work easier are not going to be available due to a lack of funds. Using skills and abilities creatively to overcome this lack of resources or other unpredicted occurrence as an example for employees to follow. In tough situations, executives should look for a way to overcome the situation rather than dwelling on the inconvenience caused.

Successful turnarounds are a tribute to employees who strive to overcome limitations and exceed performance standards rather than merely meet them. To bring work projects in early and under budget, everyone must strive to do much better than is required, constantly searching out ways to improve efficiency. No time can be wasted–every minute and every dollar that exceeds schedule or budget extends the distance between a struggling company and its ultimate goal of renewed profitability.

Following the Turnaround Plan

All employees need to be reminded that a plan has been developed to promote optimal recovery and that all actions taken are done so in accordance with the dictates of the plan. United by common objectives, the work force can and will help to implement the turnaround plan. Three essential principles apply:

  • Some short-term gains will be sacrificed for ling-term profitability.
  • Some long-term successes will have to be postponed for short-term cash flow.
  • The means of implementation is always open to suggestion and never open to argument.

Creating a Sense of Urgency

Certain goals, particularly dates and milestones, need to be met without fail. To accomplish these goals, a sense of urgency must prevail. Departures from the schedule can cause the company to lose out on windows of opportunity. The interest carrying cost of financing operations longer than anticipated is an example; if work projects are completed on time, lines of credit can be paid down sooner. Even one foot-dragging employee can impede the progress of the group, and the resulting missed deadlines can mean substantial financial losses.

Meet With Employees

Sit down with your staff and clearly and frankly describe the situation. Inform them that the company is experiencing some short-term problems in meeting its objectives and that actions are being undertaken to minimize long-term  impact. Explain and reiterate throughout the turnaround that company health can be restored through combined best efforts. Explain the turnaround plan, with an emphasis on the valuable role of each and every employee in reaching plan goals.

Meet With Management

Regular meetings with managers will be needed to discuss progress in detail. Begin with twice weekly meetings and progress to biweekly as the situation improves. Update reports should be given on activities since the prior meeting, with input required from managers from each department. Discuss problems and develop plans to resolve them within the meeting. Take advantage of a quorum of opinions to move the company forward in rapid-fire fashion.


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