It’s always worse

By Rosabeth Moss Kanter via http://blogs.hbr.org   Article

How to Turn Around Nearly Anything

Be prepared for bad news; the situation is always worse than you think. One symptom of decline is withholding information. Inconvenient facts are papered over. Decisions are made behind closed doors. Accusations and blame abound. So it is almost impossible to know the full extent of problems. … Facing the facts squarely is a turnaround imperative. Open dialogue encourages everyone to see their role in the fix-up.

Identify the core assets that create value for customers, and refurbish them. For newspaper companies, that’s the news rather than the paper. For The Weather Channel Company, that’s the weather rather than the TV channel; …

Find a meaningful unifying purpose. Teams and companies with negative momentum are characterized by fragmentation — a drift into many activities that get tacked on and stay, becoming ends in themselves. Territories get hardened, and people seem to be out for themselves. It is too easy to lose sight of the larger purpose of being together. …

Invest in teambuilding – a cliché but still true. Convene strategy retreats and mountain-climbing excursions …

Give voice to people who haven’t been heard. Every company/community/school is full of buried treasure. Find the ideas that might have been suppressed and bring them into the open or into action. Think small as well as big. Turnarounds operate on several time frames. There are big strategies and systems that take a long time to shift…. Meanwhile, there are numerous small wins if everyone is engaged.”

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