Transforming and Turning Around an Ailing Company
“If the plan doesn’t work change the plan, not the goal” -Anonymous
Profit unmet? Revenues collapsing? Losing customer retention? Employees abandoning the bandwagon?
Low-points are a part of every business journey. Losing heart and feeling demotivated does not resolve existing issues. No entrepreneur wants to be a part of any falling statistic. However, time spent wallowing over mistakes made is precious time lost. In such situations, the key is to take immediate actions, lest you run the risk of the company going down in flames. Irrespective of the scale of business, if your company is teetering between success and failure, it is helpful to first understand why your business is failing and then strategize how to overcome them.
The Fire-Fighter Approach
Whenever a fire breaks out, the flames are usually bigger than disclosed. You try to break through the door, oblivious to what may happen inside; either the house could collapse or you can put out the fire. Regardless, you charge, because such actions are taken when it’s almost too late.
Similarly, in the world of business, problems are tackled seriously only when the fire is about to collapse the house. In such situations, you play the fire-fighter and risk breaking-in. The catch here is to reach the cause of the breakout. The team needs to realize the flaws and be consciously aware as to where the functioning has gone wrong. Having a clear and open discussion about this negates the confusion and brings in clarity on how to tackle the problem going forward.
Train Insane or Remain the Same
You have often heard the quote “Train insane or remain the same” connoted to fitness enthusiasts. Did you know that this saying also applies to the employees of an organization? To turn your company around, you’ll need to push all the boundaries and make strategic moves to improve its health. Often when a company changes its strategies and plans, they rarely execute the same as the team lacks the potential to do so. So what are you going to do? Get rid of existing staff and fish for new talent at a juncture where the company’s future looks uncertain? This is a flawed plan. Instead, you can train and correct the existing staff and turn them into your dream team. Initially, they might resist change, but with time and willingness to initiate, employees will blend in.
One Victory at a Time
As the saying goes “Too many cooks spoil the broth.” Similarly, one cook cannot focus on different dishes at once. Akin to this, the organization should focus on one problem and resolve it in totality before moving on to the next issue. Even one small victory helps increase your employees overall morale. This can be better executed if there is openness amongst team members about sharing both good and bad news. This also helps in instilling a sense of ownership into your employees.
It is imperative to involve employees in decision making and undertake more roles as a leader. This will energize them towards transformation and commitments. It also makes them more accepting towards changes. Develop a singular vision between every individual and lay out clear key performance indicators (KPIs), which will ensure that employees work together as a team towards an objective.
More often than not, major fallouts that take place in a company is because of clashes between people; employees, management or owners. These issues are often not addressed because of ego clashes. The challenge is to sort through all the agendas, defensiveness and embarrassment caused at all levels of the organization. Hence, people of the organization should actively address the issue. They should be open and talk more often to show that they care. Immediately taking stringent actions like firing someone can backfire manifold. It is extremely important to maintain the talent that originally created the concept or brand as they are the company.
Turnarounds are exciting and fulfilling when you begin to see changes work for the company’s betterment. It is rewarding to see a business that was left for dead to start fresh and keep going. At the end of the day, the goal is to transform, enhance and motivate your employees to reach their highest potential. Through a constant and rigorous review of work processes and employees, you will ensure that unforeseen circumstances do not throw the company for a loop. Thus, the ability to effectively transform a company is determined by the relationship shared between the company, employees, and customers. Change is the only constant, and embracing it with open arms will fuel the growth of the company.