The crucial ingredient in successful business turnaround

The crucial ingredient in successful business turnaround

All business turnaround situations are different, however, there are one element that always have to be on top of the agenda: Employee buy-in.

Any manager who has struggled through a turnaround knows how crucial employee buy-in is – they also know how time-consuming and difficult it can be to secure. Management need to be able to tell a compelling change story that motivate employees.

Here are three ways to gain buy-in from your people during a turnaround:

Create a dialog

Too many managers assume that communications is a staff function, something for human resources or public relations to take care of. In fact, communications must be a priority for every manager at every level of the company.

By organizing discussions throughout the organization, spreads the company‘s vision and competitive situation so that individuals and teams can accurately align their own activities with the company‘s new overall direction. Storytelling can be a powerful tool.

Consequently, organizing early conversations between different parts of the company and making those conversations an important, sanctioned part of the change process is a critical task. Early, open-ended conversations often result in the most productive outcomes.

Managers at all levels must learn to see things differently. They must put themselves in their employees’ shoes to understand how change looks from that perspective. People aren’t going to consider anything until they are convinced there is a problem that truly needs to be addressed.

Create targets

Break down the main targets into sub-targets and communicate these. People need to see who the can contribute to the overall targets. By sharing numbers with employees, you can increase employees’ sense of ownership. But you need to make sure your employees are trained to understand financial statements and have enough insight into their own jobs to know how to affect the numbers.

Create wins

When it comes to change, people don‘t believe in a new direction because they suspend their disbelief. They believe because they‘re actually seeing behaviour, action, and results that lead them to conclude that the program works.

Real transformation takes time, and a renewal effort risks losing momentum if there are no short-term goals to meet and celebrate. Most people won’t go on the long march unless they see compelling evidence within 12 to 24 months that the journey is producing expected results. Without short-term wins, too many people give up or actively join the ranks of those people who have been resisting change.

Creating short-term wins is different from hoping for short-term wins. Actively look for ways to obtain clear performance improvements, establish goals, achieve the objectives, and reward people involved with recognition. If you want something to grow, pour champagne on it.

Managing change in today’s organizations is not getting any easier. However, doing it well is the new imperative.

Business turnaround - Dilbert

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Torben Rick
About The Author

Torben Rick

Experienced senior executive, both at a strategic and operational level, with strong track record in developing, driving and managing business improvement, development and change management. International experience from management positions in Denmark, Germany, Switzerland and United Kingdom

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