Your company's tanking. Your biggest customer just went AWOL.
Two turnaround experts who have brought companies back from the
brink give us their recipes for rescue. Edited by Regina Fazio
President and CEO
Companies don't often get into "crises" in the real sense of the
word. When you walk into a situation that requires a turnaround,
usually what you find is a lot of internal bickering, people
debating endlessly without making any decisions, a lack of
confidence, and a very low energy level. You're going to see the
molasses of indifference.
As the new CEO, you don't have to take some sort of "look at me"
drastic action. Many people step into a turnaround and feel as if
they have to fire a lot of people in their first 30 days to make a
statement. That by itself won't help the company.
What you need to do is align people. Focus them on a goal that will
take them forward out of the mire. Get senior managers
concentrating on customers and competitors. And you need to get
them focused on what the organization does well. You need to say,
"We're going to spend less time debating decisions and more time
executing those decisions." Then you need to do it. Strategy gets
you on the playing field, but execution pays the bills.
Oblix Inc. builds software infrastructure to help clients use
the Internet for b2B e-commerce. From 1984 to 1999, Eubanks was
president and CEO of Symantec Corp., where he turned the company
into a leader in the utility-software market.
Chairman and Chief Creative Officer
New York, New York
When you step into a turnaround situation, you can safely assume
four things: Morale is low, fear is high, the good people are
halfway out the door, and the slackers are hiding.