There's a saying in the running world that no matter what the distance, the hardest step to take is always the first one. Translated into business terms, that means taking action.
- Divide changes into manageable, comprehensive steps.
- Communicate details clearly and often.
- Provide all the continuous training needed.
- Be patient and let commitment grow.
- Don't give up no matter how alone or under siege you feel.
Perhaps I still have my ranch turnaround on the brain, but leading a turnaround is not unlike entering an equestrian show-jumping competition.
In show-jumping, a rider steers a horse (who might have other ideas) over a series of formidable obstacles while under the duress of competition. It is, as you can imagine, very difficult. When the show starts, because of an unlimited number of factors, the only thing known for certain is that the jumps will be handled one at a time.
In all three of my turnaround situations, my aim (getting over that last hurdle) was to concentrate on setting up the business so that, as much as possible, it ran itself (and wouldn't need my continued intervention). The result was a work force that could prevent problems as well as respond to them, thereby avoiding the emotional and financial drain of being in a perpetual state of crisis.
Jonathan T. Scott has a bachelor of science from Florida State University and an M.B.A. from Western International University in London. He is the author of Fundamentals of Leisure Business Success: A Manager's Guide to Achieving Success in the Leisure and Recreation Industry(Haworth Press).