If you’ve read our previous blog post on Making Tough Business Decisions: Five Steps, you will have armed yourself with help in making tough business decisions associated with personnel actions through these crucial five steps:
- Triage the Team. Read more here.
- Special Triage Situation: Dealing with a Prior Incumbent. Read more here.
- Make the Team your Ally
- Expand the Team
- Creating “One Team”: Inspiration and Collaboration.
This blog post discusses the last three — and most important — steps.
Make the Team Your Ally
It can’t be emphasized enough that effective leadership will assume all employees will try to do their best. However, in a turnaround, it is essential to also assume dysfunction has existed, processes are broken, responsibilities are not aligned with authority and skill set, and people are distrustful of each other, of change, and of the new leader.
Nevertheless, it is your responsibility as a leader to create trust out of distrust, teamwork out of dysfunction, and most importantly to have employees trust you as the leader and be willing and eager to accept direction from you.
Anyone can be appointed to fill a role – but the role does not automatically come with respect and trust. That has to be earned.
The actual process of coming together as a group, having employees voice their issues, and guide everyone to a new working relationship is essential to crafting a “team” as opposed to a set of individuals occupying roles. If this essential step is skipped, employees can become disenfranchised, key employees may leave, and a dangerous and uncontrolled spiral of employee attrition may ensue. Attrition will happen: it’s up to you to control the “who” and the “when”. Making the team your ally in the transformation is the most important tool you have to control attrition and maximize chances of success.
Expand the Team
In any transformational situation, as stated earlier, some attrition will happen, even in the best of circumstances. Bringing in new blood, which by definition consists of people who want to be in the current situation – will help stabilize the employee population and improve enthusiasm and morale.
Without this infusion, the combination of transitioning out certain employees, terminating excess employees, and unexpected attrition can create a vortex effect of exiting employees that can be catastrophic to an organization. If and when it gets to that situation, the leader’s position is endangered and the business rapidly shifts from “in transition” to “at risk”.
Creating “One Team” Out of Individuals
Once the core team is close to being complete, it will be time to truly form them into a finely tuned instrument greater than the sum of its parts — the concept of “one team”. A strong foundation for teamwork will already have been laid through the process of defining the Transformational Goal, Transformational Arc, and beginning to work on the 12-Month Plan, all of which should be undertaken with the active help and collaboration of your team.
However, an essential task of the second six months will be to further unite the team in common purpose and create an operational engine that is self-motivating and self-managing with guidance from the leader, but capable of swift and independent implementation of agreed-upon goals.
Creating “one team” involves a combination of inspirational leadership, defining a shared culture with a common value system, operational processes that measure and drive corporate results, and a compensation system that rewards individual initiative and results achievement in the context of driving corporate success. A wise leader will invest significant time and effort during the second six months, once the entire team is in place, to create the highly prized entity that can truly be called “one team”. In this chapter we have discussed the necessary operational and staffing processes. In the coming chapter, we will discuss the necessary cultural and compensation changes in order to weld your executives into “one team”.
Next, check out our blog post on Transforming Company Culture.
Want to read from the beginning of this series? Check out Making Tough Business Decisions: Five Steps.
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