Most businesses don’t need a turn-around strategy. They might need more sales, better marketing, happier customers, and fresh product ideas. But a turn-around probably isn’t on that list.
Frankly, if you can “turn around” you aren’t in that much trouble. If you can pivot. If you are jive. Then turning around is really just about managing priorities, executing on a plan, and taking responsibility for actions and results throughout your organization.
If you need help, it’s not because you are turned around. It’s because you’re lying on the ground. You just got the crap kicked out of you.
For some reason we like to romanticize our business jargon, adopting keywords that seem to show that we need help without needing to admit how desperate we really are.
That we’re lying on the ground.
Broken. And bleeding. Half-dead. Barely kicking.
And if you find yourself there lying on the ground the answer isn’t despair or hopelessness. Despite what you might be thinking right now, you can get through this moment in time.
Here’s what you need to do:
- Be honest and urgent about your situation. — Every moment matters. Now is not the time for “white lies” or excuses about what could have been. You need to admit that you are on the ground. And you need to realize that “not doing anything about it” is the worst possible choice right now.
- Take a long, deep breath. Repeat. — Realize that you are alive. And you can keep it that way as long as you take the right next few steps. Slow down the fear raising through your brain. Just breathe for a moment. You can’t make good decisions if you can’t think straight.
- Get primal. Start with the basics. — Start with what you know works. Nothing fancy. Just the basics. Show up and put in the effort required — start there. When you are confused about what will work, just do what has already been working in the past.
- Put together a list of options. Don’t do anything yet. — You’ll be surprised at all of your options when you see them in writing. Be extreme. What is the best case? The worst thing that could happen? The list won’t bite. It’ll empower you to see that options aren’t that bad.
- Ask for help. Don’t make excuses. — Reach out to people that help you. Without panicking them share your predicament. Just listen. Don’t make excuses. Don’t try to explain away the failure. Just be open to hearing ways that you can improve.
- Start doing something right now. — Do something. Anything (almost). Getting things done is the antidote to misery. Make a long checklist and scribble through each item as you finish it. You won’t just feel better, you’re business will start looking better.
- Get physical. Burn away your fear with exercise. — Fear and failure melt away in the face of physical exercise. It’s cathartic to push yourself. It’s “mind over matter”. It really is. If you can sweat it out, chances are you’ll be strong enough to do the hard things that are required to repair your business.
- Stay focused. Do what is required each day. — Days turn into weeks. Weeks turn into months. Once you get off the floor, you need to make every day count. If you can do that, then you’ll find that the obstacles in your way get a little easier to conquer.
Forget about turn-arounds. Focus on your “get ups”.
Your job is just to get up.
Don’t pretend you’re better off than you really are. Don’t blame others for your own silly mistakes from the past.
Start making better decisions. Start doing more right now.
The truth about disaster is that it takes time to rebuild. It takes guts to put in the hard work to keep going even when you don’t feel like. But your job as a leader is to help those who are weakest make it across the finish line ahead of you.
If you can do that, you won’t just have pulled off a “turn-around”, you will have changed the lives of those around you.
You can do it. Get up. Go on.