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Case Study 1: Leading a Turn Around

The CEO of a 10-year old products company needed to turn it around fast. The company was running out of money; the core business was shrinking; staff morale was low; his board was disengaged.   

He had thought through his strategy: to transition out of the core business with predictable but shrinking cash flow and to move into a riskier, higher potential business with a more global reach. His challenge was—with too few staff—to keep the old business running, explore and create the right opportunities in the new one, and ultimately to shift the entire company in the more profitable direction.

Together, we diagnosed what was working and what needed improvement. The CEO often made decisions using his "gut" rather than based on specific data. He had an intuitive feel for the business, and we bolstered that by creating specific processes so that he could analyze operations objectively. We took a realistic look at the sales people, customers, and strategic partners and analyzed their utility. We examined his board and potential strategic partners, assessed their ability to contribute, and made changes where necessary. Through an individual assessment and a 360-degree feedback process, we got important data about his leadership and communications style. The CEO learned to communicate his expectations more clearly, and he also shared his vision more broadly, using group meetings and stories. The entire company aligned around his vision and the strategy and began to operate with more engagement. Ultimately, the company found a buyer for its old business and landed a key new contract and financing, laying out a foundation on which to build the new business.