You have been hired by a company with poor or inconsistent performance to improve results. where would you start from what should be the order of priorities
You have been hired by a company with poor or
inconsistent performance to improve results. Where
would you start from? What should be the order of
Harvard Business Review
You have been hired by a company with poor or inconsistent performance to improve
results. Where would you start from? What should be the order of priorities?
Having a good leadership and business reputation with a track record of achieving results
- you were offered a senior position in a company that had poor or inconsistent
performance. The board expects that you should take necessary actions to improve
results within 3 months and create a foundation for sustained positive future
performance. Where would you start from? What should be the order of priorities?
Allan Jensen, Peter Manda et 188 autres aiment + 520 comments
Marielle Thomas • Hi Rafal !!!
How about you are in Greece, market is down 20% for the sixth year in a row, average
disposable income has dropped 65% since 2008 due to unemployment and taxation!!
Welcome to my world!
Still, reviewing operations to make sure you do your limited business as efficiently as
possible is the only way forward.
In the crisis, we discovered we could be more efficient - waste you don't notice when
things are good, really come to the surface in crisis mode !
Marvin Brown MBA • Rafal,
I think if you want to change the subject, perhaps you should consider opening another
forum. Now, I disagree with your assumptions on many points but I don't want to detract
from the primary subject matter. If you wish to change the subject, it is up to the person
who opened this discussion forum. I hope that we can stay focus on the issues raised by
Brent Clarkston, MBA • With all due respect,
Why would leadership be the problem instead of some other factors? Political, Economic,
Social, Technologic, Environment, Legal
Why dollars and cents and not profitability? What about sustainability?
Why this book? Aren't books only written to sell books?
Why wouldn't game theory and non-price competition be important in market of
Please elaborate. Thanks
Rafał Simbor • @Michael
no problem, no fun,
but assume that the company has the unfortunate loan that is too large(lets say 2mln)
and is the result of poorly thought-out investment. Leasing is no option - it will increase
finance costs of company, and all "the game" will start over.
The only option to find money for investment that will make profits is to have this
We are not living in ideal world, and there are some "managers" that in truth only
administrate company. And then have to be some people that cures the situation, even
when the company is almost out of business.
The question stand - what shall be in the repair program?
I think that this question is part of Bayan problem - I don't know a company without
credit, and a specially a company in poor condition. So in time manager have to face the
bank and search for way to have a breath from it.
Michael Rosmarin • @Rafal, said earlier "If the cost of capital is too high to meet current
obligations, then the company is effectively already out of business. The market has
spoken by 'underfunding' the current company model."
Take what the 2m loan bought, sell it (or like it) for a depreciated 1m, lease back. It puts
1m into cash. If that can't be repaid, you are in the same position as if the bank were your
friend (hypothetical without any details)
The broader issue is an unmotivated/demoralized workforce. The cause can be unions,
rights, etc. The effect is the same. Those need to be motivated or neutralized. There are
only two things you can do... re-ignite the leadership while rapidly increasing sales.
There is a certain mindset that I find healthy... if you believe the company is almost out of
business, it frees you to take certain risks, as there is little downside. The fact that you are
here reading these comments indicates you have your hide in the game and want it to
succeed. Well... now is the time to recalim your company with radical moves.
Rafał Simbor • Hard to not agree - unmotivated workforce is always a problem. That's
why manager in this time has to be a leader. We have to put a thought in people mind
that will rise to an idea, and with time will start to be a target that is similar to ours.
Important thing is that we have to build it on truth. In my opinion it's better to tell people
a part of truth but always truth.
Marielle Thomas • Rafal I agree 100%
We often underestimate how much our staff knows or can guess. Often it's better to air
concerns and address matters openly rather than keep everything a secret.
If a company is not doing well the ONLY solution is to get the key people on board to
implement the necessary changes. And the faster the better - even if you have to take
difficult decisions, better to do it quickly rather than to prolong a situation where the
company is gradually losing speed and competitiveness - as Peter Drucker says ' CHANGE
BEFORE YOU HAVE TO'.
If the company has hired you to change its direction, it means there is still a chance to
save it and you must respect the mandate by acting quickly and getting the right team
Marvin Brown MBA • Brent,
Lets look at your questions:
1. Why would leadership be the problem instead of some other factors? Political,
Economic, Social, Technological, Environment, Legal
I must ask a question. Is this a rhetorical question? Nevertheless, I will respond. No matter
what happens in a company it is the responsibility of leadership to identify Strengths,
Weaknesses, Opportunities, Treats and I will and Trends. As you know, this is commonly
referred to as a SWOTT analysis. I think most will agree that if the company does not have
this information, they should! Now, who is responsible for seeing that this is done? (The
question is rhetorical...) We can safely assume it is leadership. Now, lets take this a bit
further with yet another questions. It it fair to suggest that the development of this
SWOTT analysis is essential because it provides critical information for the Strategic Plan
and if the company doesn't have a strategic plan whose fault is that? (again the question
is rhetorical). Clearly, these issues rest with the leadership of the company and it is their
responsibility to see that they are complete.
As you should know, a proper assessment of the of the Political, Economic, Social,
Technology, Environment & Legal environments should have been an integral part of the
PEST Analysis which is usually contain in which document? The Strategic Plan (another
1. Why dollars and cents and not profitability? What about sustainability?
It it fair to say that profitability is measured in terms of Dollars and Cents? The answer
here is painfully obvious. If you think about it I think you will find that this is another
rhetorical and ridiculous question.. would you agree? as to the second part of your
questions, common sense would indicate that if a company is experiencing performance
problems then they also have an issue with regards to sustainability? yes, again rhetorical
1. Why this book? Aren't books only written to sell books?
TOC, from Dr. Goldratt's perspective was introduced by Bob which I thought was quite
appropriate given that this book is quoted by Scholars, PhDs, and Business leaders
worldwide. Also, if my memory is correct, Dr. Goldratt's conclusions were the topic of
many discussions in graduate school. However, it wasn't until I was hired as a Turnaround
Consultant that I develop a true appreciation for Dr. Goldratt's theories and his book was
mandatory reading for that job.
Moreover, I think if you have read Dr. Goldratt book, you would not be asking this
1. Why wouldn't game theory and non-price competition be important in market of
Well, let me ask another question, what is the price of Yak manure in Tobit? I think you
will agree that this question bares no relevance to this forum it makesno attempt to
address this issue at hand. In short, even though your question in this case is not
rhetorical, it is irrelevant. However, if you think game theory, non-price competition and
oligopolies are salient factors, it is up to you to present a coherent argument as to why
and your response should be in-line with the subject matter. Can you do that? I would be
interested in your thoughts.
As you review my comments, I think you will find that they are supported by the
application of practical business knowledge and experience. Not hyperbolic rhetoric, or
rambling off a number of topics which are not supported by anything whatsoever. In my
opinion, this is an attempt to obsfuate and raise additional questions as apposed to
simply answering the question place before this forum. Which I have done to the best of
my ability given these circumstances.
I am not suggesting that I am right, I am merely attempting to engage this forum with
respect and in a manner this audience deserves. I am here to learn and to help.
Rafał Simbor • as leaders, we must not forget to guard against arrogance - you can
always find that the author of the book may be confused or our SWOT analysis and PEST
may be wrong. The worst thing we can do is to approach the subject with arrogance and
excessive self-confidence. Strategy, analysis, verification, adaptation, education,
Only in this way can in my opinion be a good leader
Marvin Brown MBA • Interesting point Ernest,
However, is it not the responsibility of Management and leadership to "Maximize
Stockholders Wealth in a socially responsible manner?" So is it the stock holders fault of
the company is not performing? The fact is, in all of my studies, it is always the leadership
of the company which may or may not be the owners. If you have information that
suggest otherwise, please share you source. I would love to follow up and talk a look at
Since you are clearly referencing commentary provide by me, I think it is fair for to make
this assumption. I am somewhat concerned about your comments, primarily because of
an historical observations I have made about those who are quick to label someone like
me as arrogant but I will not share that concern in this forum. With regards to your
@you can always find that the author of the book may be confused or our SWOT analysis
and PEST may be wrong.
I agree with the latter part of your statement; however, as for the first part, I usually
restrict my reading to Scholars and noted published authorities (PhD) on the subject
matter. Since the only book mentioned this far (to my knowledge is Dr. Goldratt's) I
would be interested in knowing what you found to be wrong? Moreover, if you found my
any of my statements to be wrong, then please enlighten me because I am very
interested in learning and I would love to have that debate since my comments have all
be related to the subject matter. However, if you are just making assumptions and have
no basis for your comment, then I must evaluate if my input is adding any value.
Nevertheless, your statement about SWOT and PEST etc are exactly why I would not seek
to evaluate the company's performance based on these documents. In fact, this is the
very point I made in an earlier post. In the eyes of stockholder, owners and stakeholders,
performance will always be measured in terms of profitability or as I said earlier (Dollars
Grant Burney • You come into each new job with two bags. One bag contains the
fabulous answers you came to in your previous rles and the successes you helped shape.
Celebrate and guild this bag, but don't open it. In the other bag are the questions you
asked to get to the fabulous answers. The second bag is the one to open.
Brent Clarkston, MBA • Marvin:
I was trying to do a root cause analysis with you. You kept saying do a root cause analysis.
Isn't that when you ask why? Although, you raise another question. Will a root cause
Marvin Brown MBA • Yes, that is exactly the point of asking the why question. However,
it seemed that you had asked several other question and I wanted to answer them
without getting off subject. I just want to learn and these forums help me to think. I am
actively working with a client and I find these forums to be a big help..
Brent Clarkston, MBA • Marvin here is a different perspective on RCA...
Xavier Mani • Evaluate the existing strategy which may not be current. As Lou Gerstner
former CEO of IBM said ' I'm spending my time trying to understand our competitive
position and how we're serving our customers'. On evaluation you will know the
strengths and weakness of the internal environment and the opportunities and threats
from the external environment. Once this is know you can re-plan or fine tune your
strategy to meet the current demands and trends. Make changes ( not wholesale or
drastic) to allocate right resources with capabilities. Are the companies prices
competitive? Are their products appealing/add value to customer?
Overall is the company competitively stronger or weaker than key rivals.
Just a brief on immediate actions, comments and feedback appreciated.
Suivre Ming Ren,
Ming Ren, PMP MBA • Do nothing but looking into what the real problems are in the first
month, and call experts together update the management plan in the second month, and
then execute, monitor in the last month
Filipo Maea • Scope the project before committing to a timeframe otherwsie you set
yourself up for failure. You need to be clear on what the problems are - these may differ
from those that are prioritised by the board.
Focus on information gathering from the coal face, other managers, clients/customer
feddback, information systems etc. to get an informed understanding of the
organisational and Industry dynamics.
Look at the various business functions and how they operate/collaborate/ or disfunction
and see how the culture operates.
Speak to various stakeholders to get their perspectives and feedback on workloads
/timelines etc. They can also pick out anything that you may have missed
Once you have gatheredand sorted enough information to create an overview, you can
then start to determine what needs to be fixed/ enhanced/ removed and also how long
each stage of the project might take.
Having the right people to drive the necessary changes will be crucial therefore you will
need to asess the personnel side of things early on. Radical change will require strong
agents for change.
Shahab Izzat • Be close to good and closer to Bad. It's my expereince that the good news
travel fastest towards the manager and good manager is fast to sense the bad news first.
The people who will oppose you most and would not welcome you will be the bad guys .
You need to be closely monitoring their behavior , as for the good ones you don't have to
You will be surprised to learn more about companies problem through the bad guys ( the
resistors) . This will alert you on the manpower front
Now second step is choose top 5 customer and ask the concerned sales person to speak
over the phone at random and see the level of communication . this will make you decide
who to visit for further analysis.
in parallel you need to spend time with shipping Manager who knows more about Sales
and operations cordination rather than with the concerned and get feedback about
whats going on in company
Then follows a blend of new entries in your company and filter the ones who you
honestly feel are real resistors to business . This all process should not take more than 8
Finally you have to burn the midnight lamp and spend longest hours in company for 4
weeks straight to dig deep Into the core issues of revenues, margin, products and
markets .Trusting your inner self and acting rightly and fast without any prejudiced and
you will see that you will not fail.
Grant G. • With my finance risk and accounting background, I first understand the
financials, they tell loads of stories. For areas identified as bad, I analyse in some greater
detail, they reveal the root causes. I then change the key people that drive the results
especially for revenue generation, customer services, the product offering and how it is
advertised. I then look at the structures and model of delivery to reduce costs, This
normally gives immediate short term results.
I then put the longer term strategies in place to sustain the turnaround and continuous
improvements. Fast effective, and will never fail. Its the tried and tested BQL-HEART
methodology, for Business Quantum Leaps and turnarounds.
Alfo Munyali • I would first investigate the causes for unexpected performance...is it an
industry problem? Is it unprecedented? Are the market fundamentals intact? These and
many other questions will help in understanding the key areas to focus on as you work
towards reversing the performance of the company.
Thakazelwa Ngidi • SWOT Analysis findings
Rafał Simbor • Marvin, do not take my comments as comments to yourself. It's just
about the major problem with almost all new managers - this can be easy say to all of
"starting" managers. Book that we read, people that we meet sometimes grow in our
minds feeling that "Now I know all". We have to remember that we must take into
account all the factors, because they change the situation. I have no right to judge
anyone on this forum or in life, if you understand my speech so that you have received it
Sadek KHEDDACHE • Formidable! Wow! More than 500 comments on a good topic, and
it is primarily motivated me to give my screw on the issue. I first was that I decided to
intervene without reading the various comments, I would deliver my absolute vision
solutions and recommended actions for the issues raised without influences from other
approaches, and then I would read comments and I would intervene a second time can be
again. There's a first point to make about the problem. The characteristics of the problem
are poor data or assumptions, which informs on the internal situation (management, skill
in the art, internal potential, social climate, cash position, relationship with customers,
suppliers, banking relationships, competition , economics or changing the company in
question, private or state-owned company, etc ....), so that the subject becomes more
theoretical than practical, and believe me, actually practice management is using the
theoretical paradigm that bases methodical who become unconscious, because the
responsiveness to new or specific problems, do not have ready-made to apply in the field.
This is most often has its own genius to do call. May I recognize that the methods,
approaches and management techniques help a lot in solving problems and help
especially to have a clear vision of the challenges and obstacles that must be overcome to
ensure growth and performance? In such a case, without figures or results of diagnostic
data, I think the best way to respond to this sentence to make successful business in 3
months, then it has nothing special, we must begin by making express diagnosis and then
classify the priorities for action in three classes, urgent (within 3 months), those mediumterm (6 to 12 months maximum) and finally those long term. Then you must commit to
working on these recommendations and actions simultaneously and with proper planning
in time. This is simple to do, the problem is usually elsewhere, it is in the social climate of
the company, in the motivations to achieve the objectives, and especially the degree of
aggressiveness of competitors and the importance of their own marketing. I always made
it a priority to unite and mobilize the energies of the first men to then talk about targets
and performance. And in this regard, it should at least try dice the early days of
shimmering changes in the charter of the company to prove its leadership, and promise
another system of motivation and encouragement for all staff. It ' is not feasible to
recover a business in three months, by cons yards between recoveries may start and may
incur positive effects dice these first three months. For if this were problems to be
successful is that the treatment can not come quickly to a stranger who will take at least
three months to begin to understand the spirit of the company, the culture of companies
and the prevailing mores.