Offices & Operations mentor Charles Bodenstab responds:
Obviously there is no quick answer to this problem since it depends on how sick the company is, whether the company has any fundamental advantages, how the industry is doing, and so forth. But one of the keys is to approach the process in a planned, highly analytical way rather than just lashing out at the problems. Prioritizing is vital to ensure that you are focused and that you are matching your resources to the tasks, rather than just jumping around putting out fires.
In my book Information Breakthrough, I talk about the concept of triage, an approach the French invented during the carnage of World War I. Some of the wounded will die regardless of what you do, some will survive regardless of what you do, and a last group will survive only if it gets attention. Consequently, you should apply your limited resources to that last group. That kind of thinking is critical when you are trying to turn around a company.