Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Turnaround Management – 11 Tips for Creating the Plan

In all of the articles we have written here, we have insisted that companies start with a plan so that they know where they are going and have a focused means of getting there. Just cutting costs isn’t going to turn a company around. There has to be a comprehensive plan. The plan doesn’t have to be complex. In fact, we recommend that it be relatively simple so that it can be easily understood and followed.

Here are 11 recommendations to make the planning successful:
1. Start with a clear, well-understood direction from the CEO. The process needs a champion and if not the CEO, there has to be another “C” level executive that will be responsible.
2. Do some research before the meetings. Sound information is required to make sound decisions in your meetings. Failures generally come from relying on bad or no information. Your SWOT analysis should provide information about your external environment as well as your internal operations. Do some benchmarking to determine the relevance of your strengths and weaknesses.
3. Don’t assume everyone thinks like you. Some like big picture visioning. Some like more concrete. Make sure that all types are handled and value the diversity. The key is to insure that all are working from the same set of data that you collected in point #2.
4. Get key players involved from the start. Spread the word to others in the organization. The plan affects everyone so let them know what is happening and what they can expect.
5. Use an experienced facilitator. Yes you can lead meetings too but this enables you to be fully engaged in the process and have an expert who can direct and guide you to do all the right things to get to the right plan.
6. DO NOT ignore the elephant in the room. If there is a large issue facing the company or within the group, forging ahead will cause disaster. Make sure that you surface the issue and allow all points of view to be heard before you solve it. Then proceed with the strategic plan.
7. Focus. Identify the top 5 strategic issues. There are generally only 4 or 5 things that are going to make a significant difference to the success of the company. In turnaround time there may be even fewer. Find them and concentrate on them. The rest will take care of themselves or will drop away as unimportant. Delete the fluff – less is more. Too many pages doom the plan to be put up on the shelf and never used.
8. Get out of the office. It doesn’t have to be at a resort. Get off site and shut off phones and e-mails. There is a need for focus in the mind as well as focus in the plan.
9. Use a scorecard or dashboard to monitor progress. Keep it simple and make changes to the plan specifics based on the measures you are tracking. This will keep you on course.
10. Executing the plan. Start implementing immediately because no plan is ever complete. Break it down into realistic chunks. Get some early wins and celebrate them. This will give the plan credence and traction.
11. Assign responsibility for each element of the plan and make that individual accountable. Provide them with the support and resources they need to do the job right.

If you follow these suggestions, you too can have a successful turnaround plan that can get your company profitable and keep it profitable. Let me know how I can help.



John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

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