You have a great plan to turn things around at your failing company and you are ready to implement it. Time to stop and take a deep breath because before you put any new plan in place there are critical things you need to do first. Here is a list of them:
Accurately Evaluate the Status of Things
This is the most difficult part for any business-owner to do, because it takes some soul searching and admitting that things went bad under your watch most likely because of things you either did or did not do. This step is by far the most valuable because it sets you on the road for fixing the real problems.
So before you can turn things around you need to fully understand what went wrong, why, and how you ended up where you are right now. The harsh reality is that when businesses fail it is usually directly attributable to ineffectual management. Management will often say that the problems were anything other than them including not enough funding or marketing, sales or operations teams that did not perform, but these are typically problems that exist because management in charge of each of these areas, is the culprit. Another thing to keep in mind is that it is highly unlikely that the people who oversaw things when the problems occurred will be capable of fixing the problems.
This means you need to be prepared to discuss things with experts like Marc Leder who has successfully managed the turnarounds of companies operating far below their potential. An outside voice can not only give you a fresh and accurate perspective, but in the case of Mr. Leder, he can potentially purchase your company, or provide capital and other resources your company probably needs to get back on its feet.
Reset the Goals and Culture to Winning Ones
Failing companies typically have a failing culture and attitude. When you are working in one you may not notice it because you are too close to things. But to others who come from different types of corporate cultures it will stick out as being so. The company needs to have an undoubtedly winning culture and it needs to permeate everyone and everything that it encompasses. Every department has to be on this winning page and support the same strategies and goals for the company.
Reset Management Relationships with Employees
The most important component of any company is its people. People make or don’t make things happen and it is because of them you will float or sink. As stated earlier, the likeliest weak link in a failing company is management and this will always directly be exhibited by workers who are not managed well. Failing companies have weak employee measurement methods and inconsistent operational processes for managing, rewarding, firing and hiring employees. As a result employees are often confused about who their real boss is, how to stay on that person’s good side, how to get rewarded, and when they are in real trouble. In this environment, the company is only managing chaos rather than focusing on competing and winning. So there needs to be an assessment of each key employee and if they have the potential to be a top performer in their job area. Then there needs to be structure put in place to support their efforts and create consistency around them. In terms of the valuable ones who are already planning to leave, there must be faith built with them so they know that they can trust management to do what is says and that the company has their best interests at heart. In other words they have to be made to know that this company will win with and for them.
Implement these three key things before you start your plan and it will greatly improve your plan’s chances for success.