Management master-class 191
around, or to be well on the way to success, only to ﬁnd that your
superiors disagree and pull the plug. Step 1 will help you avoid
snatching defeat from the jaws of victory.
There are two aspects to step 2. The ﬁrst is to ﬁnd out whose
opinions you can trust and then listen to them. If you ask a lot
of people who they trust you will ﬁnd that a few names keep
being mentioned . . . trust them. The second thing you must do
is understand the ﬁnances of the team. The accounts may well
be in a mess, but you must ﬁnd out the true ﬁnancial underpin-
nings of the team.
Step 3 is often missed out – as you have been brought in to turn
the team around, you need to try. It is however your duty to
disband the team if that is the best all-round solution.
The most common emergency action is to downsize the team as
this is the fastest way to improve the ﬁnances. Step 4 can be tricky,
but you should ﬁnd that things improve rapidly – morale will lift
as the remaining staff will see themselves as survivors and will
start to believe that the problem has been brought under control.
To use a medical analogy, if step 4 involved stabilising the
patient, step 5 is about establishing a course of treatment that
will lead to the patient’s full recovery. Every recovery strategy is
different, but the amount of work you need to put into it is the
same – you will almost certainly have to ask for heroic efforts
from your team and you must set the example. The good news
here is that it’s an ideal opportunity to use your leadership skills
to set a really positive tone for the future.
Set your team an achievable but challenging ﬁrst target, so they quickly see
themselves (and you) as winners, not losers.
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