Even good managers can miss the early signs of distress, says McKinsey’s Doug Yakola, who’s been running recovery programs for 20 years. The first step is to acknowledge there’s a problem.
Preservation of tradition and culture may boil your frog. Watch for change. Question. Act like your life depends on it.
Turnarounds are more holistic now due to the interconnectedness of everything.
No one director should expect, nor be expected to recognize the signs of distress by themselves. It takes a coalition of committed individuals to turn around the aircraft carrier that is the modern corporation.
Directors need good Managers. For a manager to read the signs of change, they need to understand how people and processes connect to do what the company does to make money and please shareholders.
To be heard above the chorus gasping, “We can’t change! It’s always been like that;” leaders must be able to communicate in a way that others can hear. They must have credibility. The others must be able to listen. They need to build a shared urgency.
Once there is urgency, there has to be a vision on where the company ought to go instead of its current course. The strategies to get there aren’t dependent on one person, let alone an outside consultant hired to guide.
You need people who can make it happen. Removing obstructions, including people, is not an easy task. So much depends on it.
Build momentum by picking short term wins. Attention spans are short in today’s corporations.
Resist the urge to pose in front of a banner proclaiming “Mission Accomplished.” If you believe it was accomplished in a very short time frame, you’re wrong. Really, you’re not that good. Dissenters are a patient lot.
Institutionalize changes in policy, job descriptions, incentive programs, etc. Keep looking for signs of the old bad culture. It’s still there somewhere.
All of the conditions in this post rarely happen by accident.
It takes a village to succeed. Too many followers and Group-think can allow that same village to really mess things up.