I didn’t think so. In fact, I felt Fran, and her Middle Ages accounting system and financial advice were a major impediment. I felt she was more into protecting herself than in saving the company.
I explained to Bob that Fran was far more the problem than the solution. Bob, however, was simply intimidated by Fran. Even though I showed him how we could move her out without imperiling the financial situation or control of the records, he was terrified of Fran and couldn’t shake the fear that she would sabotage the company if she were let go.
Fran knew I was on to her. Now the issue was joined. Only one of us would survive—Fran or me. It was Fran. The company went out of business a few months later.
You may not have a Fran, but you don’t need people who resist, or are reluctant warriors. And if you do have any of that, you need to address it. In crisis, your people need to know that it’s get on the train, or stand on the platform and watch as it pulls away.
3. Make sure you know how much time you have.
Basketball is a game. In business careers, jobs, fortunes and livelihoods are all on the line. Time is key.
You do need at least two years to do a basketball turnaround. The coach in the second scenario assumed he had at least two years based on the school superintendent’s assurances that he would “have a long honeymoon period” after the sad tenure of his predecessor, and the parents and fans all talking long-term talk. But he didn’t have those two years in writing.
In business you do not have the luxury of asking for a period of time to right the ship. You may be able to beg off the bank and a few investors, but for the most part, the amount of time you have to make key alterations is dictated to you by the current financial and market condition of the company.
You need to know how much time you have in every situation. In my experience the major reason why major changes in business are not successful is that they were instituted too late. Married couples in crisis often go to the marriage counselor about six months too late. That is also the case in business concerns.
Time is money, but money—cash on hand-—can buy you time. If the wolf is several miles away rather than chewing through the door, you may still need to turn a few things around, but you can move more gradually and effect an evolution.
If, however, you can hear that beast howling and scratching, you may need a bit of a revolution, and time will be as important a factor in your business’ survival as the decisions themselves. In fact, time will drive and affect the very nature of those decisions that must be made.
4. You can do this.
The coach decided to set his mind to the task in both scenarios, choosing to believe that he could do the job. You need to do the same. Managing through a recession is challenging, but does not require the training of a neurosurgeon to succeed.
It requires being in charge, having trusted and candid allies on the train, assessing how critical each matter is in terms of time, and then-—as the phrase promoting the famous basketball shoesputs it— just doing it.
You can reach Dr. Claerbaut through is web sites, www.claerbautconsulting.com and www.salesdisruption.com or call him at (773) 808-4049.