Many companies would wish to have had BMW's problems. It had wonderful products, loyal customers and made a healthy profit. I was attempting to create change from a position of strength.
But this has rarely been the case in my career, and most leaders will find themselves in a turnaround situation at some point in their lives. This will test your ability, your courage, your integrity and your commitment to the limit but, when the stakes are highest, so is the opportunity to do something extraordinary.
In this chapter, I'll explain some of the work I did when I joined a company that should have been doing well, but wasn't. If the process is similar to BMW, the situation certainly was not. But they have one thing in common, something which is especially important for teams that know they are facing challenges. It's not how good you are, it's how good you want to be that matters, because the team's best work is given in response to an opportunity, not in response to a problem.
Many people would see a difficult situation and choose not to get involved. But, as an inspiring leader, these sort of problems, in which the people in your team are demoralized and vulnerable and have often lost confidence in any kind of leadership, offer a huge opportunity to create something special. To do that you have to be able to raise the heartrate ...