Don't just stand there ... execute the plan!

In our experience, a "sleeves rolled up" implementation mindset is critical when executing a successful turnaround. A common theme seen across the Middle East is that of extensive diagnostics and well documented turnaround plans having never been fully (or even partially) implemented. Why is that?

There can be numerous reasons, ranging from a lack of management incentive or willingness to take the tough actions needed (perhaps whilst a patient owner continues to pump in cash), to inability through lack of skillsets or bandwidth while also running the business. Either way, any turnaround plan is not worth the paper it is written on unless it is implemented with real intent by a team with the time and capability to do so.

Some key considerations when implementing turnaround plans include:

  • Management: Is the management team operating with a "business as usual" mindset or do they have a laser focus on cash, cost and margin improvement?
  • Time: ?Does management have time to execute the turnaround amongst their other daily battles - and whilst fighting fires which will be raging hotter if combined with shortage of cash?
  • Skillsets: ?There is a different set of skills needed to implement fast, tough turnaround actions. The ability to be pragmatic (80/20 mindset), decisive, fast-paced and "hands-on" are critical. Not all management teams have these characteristics.
  • Accountability: Who is ultimately accountable for delivering the turnaround and how is delivery being tracked and managed?
  • Culture: Is the business embracing the cultural change that is typically front and center of any successful turnaround process?
  • Communications: What approach is being taken to communicate with employees and key stakeholders??Are there gaps? Is the right tone being set and is trust being built (or rebuilt)?
  • Stakeholders: How are stakeholders being managed and are they supportive of the turnaround process?
  • Resources: Are sufficient financial, data and human resources available to execute the turnaround?
  • Independent and fact-based approach: Has the turnaround plan been developed with an independent view and built on a robust fact-base?

An experienced turnaround leadership team will ensure these considerations are appropriately addressed. Their approach should dovetail situational turnaround and sector experience and should deliver many multiples of their fee in value creation. Just make sure that the turnaround advisor has the appetite, capability and experience to work side-by-side with the management team to take the tough actions and to do it before time (and cash) runs out!

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.