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2 Key Aspects To Master In A Turnaround Process

| Retail Stategy

Executing a turnaround process is always a delicate exercise and there are some rules to follow to avoid making it more complex than it should be.Two of these are often underestimated: involvement of the team in the process and embodiment of the change by the leaders.
The Incredible Value Of Involvement
John Lewis staff celebrating their 14% bonus.Even if you have decades of experience in your industry don’t even think that you will execute your strategic plan successfully without involving 100% of your employees in the process. Some of you may remember how Atari,pioneer of the video game in the 80’s, screwed up its strategic plan and lost the battle against its competitors just because the CEO didn’t involve the programmers in his strategic plan and never asked them for their opinion on how to create a great game. The Company’s culture changed overnight and working conditions got worse and worse. As a result games were brought to market in record time and had no success. The most talented programmers left the company and founded Activision who took the leadership in this newly born market. Atari’s CEO repeated the same error a few years later and lost millions of dollars in his battle against Nintendo. The example of the UK retail company John Lewis is interesting:91,000 Employees have a say in how the business is run. At JL giving a voice is central to the company’s principles, they engage their employee’s views and opinions in a number of ways, including the annual Partner Survey. All in all you will learn more and faster engaging the dialogue with the shop floor and visiting your vendors than staying in your office.
A good first step consists in asking all the employees to fill-in a SWOT analysis,then communicating to everybody in the company what precious information you learned and will take into consideration while preparing your strategic plan. This will reinforce your credibility and set a climate of trust with the team. Later you will refer to your employees’ suggestions to explain some of the actions included in your plan During a turnaround process a bad leader will “know what to do” and tell the team to do it. A great leader will provide an efficient methodology of work, involve people, take decisions and frequently communicate the status of the plan.
Key learnings:
Ask the employees to do their SWOT analysis and make suggestions about how to improve the business;Extract the most interesting and constructive points;Communicate it to the entire team;Every time you can, connect some of your actions to your employees’ suggestions and comments.Do not: Let people think about the strategy all the time; they have a job to do.
Be The #1 Ambassador of Your Plans
I have never seen a Turnaround Plan making 100% of the employees happy.Turnaround Process Planning is about changing the way you do business,adapting the way you work to new technologies, new products and services,new trends and to customers’ expectations. You will obtain a huge return if you take the time to explain to your employees and business partners,what the plan is and what benefits they will get from it. If you do not want to lose 70% of your people you’d better give them time to metabolize the changes. As the CEO, you and your Executive Team will often visit your employees at their work place, educate and convince them about the changes.. Then will come the time to know who will be part of your project and who will take another road, which will require to take some tough decisions. That is why it is paramount for CEOs to embody the changes —I believe in the power of leading by example — and do not let other people communicate their own agenda instead of yours.I have seen during a complex turnaround process an Exec dropping the communication ball to a group of people who didn’t want to change their way of working, and wasting precious time.A bad leader will only work with his executive team on the process and communicate decisions using the email; a good leader will frequently communicate the status of the strategic plan to everybody and frequently
meet with people to explain the plan, share examples of initiatives that were completed and give positive feedbacks.
Key Learnings:
Use company meetings, break-up meetings, lunch & learn meetings to frequently update the team about the status of the Strategic Plan In a retail environment go frequently on the shop floor to embody the new culture, listen and inform the team;Make sure you are the #1 ambassador of the strategic plan Do not Spend all the time at the head-office.Communication Is 90% About Listening One of the most valuable lessons I learned in all these years is that good communication is 90% about listening. Once you get that you have made a big step towards constructive dialogues and efficient working environments. This is worth for every moment of the life of a leader,especially during a complex turnaround process.

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