I’m very excited that my first article as a TechCrunch contributor was posted yesterday.
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From Turnaround Management: Does Your Company Need A New Captain?
When thinking of business “turnaround,” names like McDonald’s and Samsung come to mind as they struggle to navigate the changing market and waning consumer interest. Yet, a business at any stage of growth may require a turnaround, or ‘pivot’ on its core strategy. This is a concept with which many startup founders are familiar.
I am all too familiar with the turnaround concept. I left a comfortable role at Microsoft and chose to take on the challenge of becoming the CEO of a newly acquired business within a larger corporation. Within 18 months I managed to turn around its decline into double-digit growth.
During this time I had to decide which role I would take as the leader of a troubled company. I found that I had to be both a doctor and captain, and that there are five key steps that led to turnaround success for my team, our customers and myself.
The first challenge I faced was deciding whether to speak first with unhappy or happy customers. As a rule of thumb I follow an 80/20 rule, focusing my energy on the happy customers; I find it’s easier to do more of the good to turn this to greatness than focus your energy on the negative. As a leader, this is the time when you need to listen, listen, listen. To obtain the most pertinent information, I asked a few key questions: What are we doing well? What should we prioritize to fix?
I then focused my attention on the organization’s key influencers to ask them the same questions. Instead of selecting this group from company performance rankings and HR records, I spoke to the individuals who I heard had the largest influence and credibility from across the group — making sure I had representation from across marketing, sales, operations, product, support etc. I wanted to begin to build a trusted network of advisors and influencers. From this initial group I then asked them to name two further individuals they held in high regard. Here I had to analyze the various company ailments.
Then I reviewed the wider market and major trends at play that would impact future business decisions, noting any recurring themes that required more attention. For example, I found that we excelled in the level of service provided to customers — something that we would need to maintain, and also use to our advantage, through PR, awards and case studies.
Read the entire post: Turnaround Management: Does Your Company Need A New Captain? here.