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However beautiful the strategy, you should occasionally look at the results.Winston Churchill

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The right reflexes for a successful turnaround

The right reflexes for a successful turnaround

How to emerge from a crisis? The reflexes required to turn a business around may sometimes seem to contradict the habitual principles of good management.


The spectacular turnaround of Nissan or the restructuring of British Telecom show that it is possible to build a new future for organizations that were believed to be in the throes of death.

However, turning around a failing business is a real challenge. First, due to the obvious complexity of the task: critical financial situation, unfavorable environment, uncooperative constituents, etc. But most of all, because conducting a successful turnaround means moving away from management principles that are proven to work in “normal” situations. A turnaround environment effectively presents specific challenges, which must be addressed with an appropriate management style.

When faced with turnaround issues, don’t hesitate to challenge your “good manager” reflexes. Four recommendations in particular emerge from what the experts have to say on this topic:

– Act before analyzing the situation thoroughly: if you do not take action immediately, you might end up actually precipitating the crisis.

– Be ready to push some problems aside in order to focus on the most important issues.

– Adopt a more authoritarian management style in order to impose your decisions and ensure their rapid execution.

– Don’t try to resolve all conflicts of interest, but opt for the best solution overall for the common good.

Synopsis n.150b