Tuesday, March 8, 2022

I wish I had done this sooner...

The one thing all bosses agree on

Many years ago, I read a book about leaders of turnaround companies. These companies were in trouble, bleeding cash, and on their way out. Then, they brought in a new CEO who got the organization turned around.

The researchers wanted to find out what made some turnarounds successful versus the ones that had failed. So, they studied all the successful turnarounds to look for clues. After studying 20 different successful turnarounds, the researchers discovered only two things in common:

  1. The new CEOs had been married a long time.
  2. The new CEOs all wish they had gotten rid of naysayers earlier in the process.

There was no definitive reason that they had all been married a long time, but I have my own speculations. When you go into a chaotic situation, and help take companies from chaos to order, you had better have some stability in your life. These CEOs had a stable home life. I think that makes a huge difference.

But let’s look at #2:

100% of the turnaround CEOs agreed in another area. Each of them had tried to work with people who were on the team they had inherited, but the team members were change-adverse… they just weren’t getting on board with the new changes fast enough.  The CEOs thought they could “win them over” in the long run.

And when all was said and done, they let those people go, but they did it far too late. Been there; done that.

Can you imagine? 100% of the successful CEOs wish they had gotten rid of the naysayers earlier in the process! Some CEOs said, “I should have given them whatever severance package I needed to.”

They all agreed. “Sure, it was going to cost me something. They all had friends and followings and they had built up social capital with some people. But you know what cost me far more? Those people secretly complaining, sabotaging the process for a number of months.”

So, my friends, it is time to “review your crew.”

That’s the way that Mark Miller puts it in the book we’ve been reviewing: it’s time to review your crew!

It’s all part of confronting reality—taking a look at your team and evaluating them. Mark’s book breaks this down into seven questions that you can ask yourself as you start your evaluation. Each question is designed to help you think deeper about different aspects of your team.  I’ll list his questions briefly. You can check out Mark Millers book, Smart Leadership, if you want a fuller explanation.

  1. Do you have the right people on your team?
    This question is all about identifying who in your team creates impact and who has the needed future leadership capacity.
  2. Does every member fully embrace your organization and team’s purpose?
    Be really honest here!
  3. Does your team have shared goals?
    If not, this is on you!
  4. Does your team have absolute role clarity?
    Team members have told me this is probably the best gift that their boss could ever give them.
  5. Does your team invest time strategically building community?
    This is a hallmark of my companies; it keeps turnover low and production extremely high.
  6. Does your team have effective meetings focused on performance improvement?
  7. Does your team have a scorecard to guide their actions?
    Keep a monitoring system that will help you assess where you’re at.


By the way, I ask every executive that I coach a question:


Is there anyone on your team that you know shouldn’t be there, but you haven’t had the hard conversation yet?


I almost always get a “yes.”


If that’s you, there is a right way to do it and many wrong ways to do it. Give me a call and let’s talk.


Much love,

Dr. Rob




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