UK: 13-Point Recovery Plan For Difficult Times

Last Updated: 1 October 2012
  1. Come to grips with the fact that the ground has shifted.

    Do this quickly. The faster you grab hold of reality, the longer you will have to respond and the more options you will have. Work though whatever anger, frustration, denial you need to, but get over it as fast as you possibly can.

    Failing to come to grips with the inevitable cycle of change is probably where most companies fail most frequently. You are now going to have to enter a transition period, from the reality you knew to a reality that is yet to be determined.
  2. Come to grips with the forces that got you where you are today.
  • What caused your current situation?
  • What else influenced it?
  • What did you miss that might have altered it?
  • What else might you be missing?
  • How long do you think this transition period will last?
  • What are the variables that might lengthen or shorten this time frame?
  1. Define how you want to come out of this transition period.

    For example:
  • Do you want to be poised for growth?
  • Do you want to be leaner and meaner?
  • Do you want to reposition yourself in the marketplace?
  • Do you want to position the company for a sale?
  1. Define your minimal acceptable conditions for making it through the transition period, and what your priorities will be during this time.

    For instance, your minimal acceptable conditions might be: "We will maintain a breakeven cash flow or better", or "We won't cut any muscle that will inhibit our ability to grow".

    Priorities might be ranking cost reduction strategies – from cutting expenses or stopping capital expenditures to voluntary layoffs, pay cuts, and then permanent layoffs. Or they might be to build good processes, become leaner, reduce rework, and so on.
  2. Decide who is in your foxhole.

    Going through tough times sucks. Going through these times alone is even worse. Going through tough times uncertain whether you are alone or not is the worst.

    For those people you decide are in your foxhole and are going to charge the mountain with you, you have to have their back and drop whatever doubts you may have about them until the mountain is taken.

    This doesn't mean you might not argue with them about strategy, approach, etc. early on and occasionally along the way, but you can't be questioning whether or not they get to stay during this time. They are going to need your support to have the courage necessary to do what has to be done.
  3. Meet with this group and discuss (in order) points 1, 5, 2, 3 and 4.

    Articulate what is not up for debate. Keep this list to a minimum, but it is imperative to have some things on the list. To lead during this time without a clearly communicated set of intolerables is suicide.
  4. Jointly come to an agreement on points 2, 3 and 4.

    Decide, but then sleep on it. Agree not to talk outside the group: that would impede your ability to reverse your decision when you get back together.
  5. Assess your plan for feasibility.

    If your plan is unachievable you are setting everybody up for a huge demoralising failure. Decide what your benchmarks are going be during this transition period. Also, determine the trigger points that will initiate further discussions and different actions.
  6. Get back together and do one last gut check on your decisions.

    Remember that the "what" is usually easy; it is the "how" that will make or break long-term success.
  7. Develop your communication plan.

    Decide first who needs to be communicated with (employees, customers, suppliers, bank, board, etc.) and where you want to leave each party.
  8. Be a beacon of hope and confidence; above all, be in touch with and talk about reality.

    All eyes will be on leadership looking for safety. Don't promise what you can't do: you will be crucified if you fail to deliver. People can handle the truth, and this includes the words: "I don't know what will happen. All I know is that we are going to face whatever comes our way with ...."

    At the same time, you need positive force in your actions and interactions. Demonstrate confidence in yourself and others. Above all, be visible and listen more.
  9. Take the hill together.
  10. If you have to cut, cut deeper than you think you have to.

    Having to cut a second time is five times more damaging than the first round.

Lessons from experience

  • Employees: Realise that their anxiety level is likely to be at an extreme high and that you therefore need to focus their attention on what they should be doing. People almost always want to do the right thing; they often just don't know what that is.

    Give everybody something to focus on (preferably a measure) every day that will tell them if they are moving (as an individual and/or as a group) in the right direction. Your role then becomes to help them help themselves when the results are not heading in the right direction.
  • Board: Remember, this is the time to use them for help. So many people fear telling the board the tough news, instead of realising what a powerful resource they can be during this time.
  • Bank: They are going to need to see an action plan and then see you execute it. Whatever you do, under-promise and over-deliver!
  • Customers: Don't forget them. It is so easy to become internally focused during these times and forget who is your reason for existence.
  • Suppliers: Work with them. Don't leverage this situation to make short-term gains that you will have to pay for later.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on Mondaq.com.

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

 
In association with
Up-coming Events Search
Tools
Print
Font Size:
Translation
Channels
Mondaq on Twitter
 
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
 
Email Address
Company Name
Password
Confirm Password
Position
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Accounting
 Anti-trust
 Commercial
 Compliance
 Consumer
 Criminal
 Employment
 Energy
 Environment
 Family
 Finance
 Government
 Healthcare
 Immigration
 Insolvency
 Insurance
 International
 IP
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Litigation
 Media & IT
 Privacy
 Real Estate
 Strategy
 Tax
 Technology
 Transport
 Wealth Mgt
Regions
Africa
Asia
Asia Pacific
Australasia
Canada
Caribbean
Europe
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
U.K.
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement

Mondaq.com (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of www.mondaq.com

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about Mondaq.com’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.

Disclaimer

Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.

Registration

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to unsubscribe@mondaq.com with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.

Cookies

A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.

Links

This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.

Mail-A-Friend

If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.

Security

This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to webmaster@mondaq.com.

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to EditorialAdvisor@mondaq.com.

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at enquiries@mondaq.com.

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at problems@mondaq.com and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.