A turnaround is not very different than a start-up, one major similarity is a compression of time and resources. We have looked at different leadership styles and a few turnaround time-lines but one very important step is the climate. You have to be unyielding on this issue because you will have a company climate whether you create it or it creates itself.

Here are 10 steps to building a powerful climate.

  1. No secrets. Many of us have been taught over the years to keep information close to the vest. This frequently creates circumstances that come as a surprise. If its something you don't want the employees to know then you should consider not doing it. If it's worth doing then they need to know in order to help you pull it off.  If it's product development or new markets and information gets out that damages the company you have bigger issues.
  2. Common goals. This is often the item that brings cohesion. It allows you and others to ask; "Is what I'm working on helping the company accomplish its objective"?
  3. Give credit where its due. As idea people we can come up with a solution pretty quickly. Implementing that solution often falls to others and is a lot more difficult. So transfer the credit to them.
  4. Coach. Creating an environment where people can motivate themselves is an art. When you're short of your goals get everyone together and give them reasons to fight to make the goal.
  5. Celebrate being the underdog. This country was built on coming from behind. Everyone knows the stories and wants to be part of that kind of team. So when you celebrate a victory its good if it was snatched from the jaws of defeat.
  6. Act now. When operating at the speed of start-up or turnaround a real time killer sounds like; "let me think about that and get back to you." You probably never will and everyone thinks you have the ball. Instead either get them to provide a solution or tell them the answer right there.
  7. Remove obstacles. I try to make improvements at least once or twice a month. Improvements that make someones job a little easier.
  8. Be familiar. I know the old saying familiarity breeds contempt. That's crap.  When the chips are down and your company is fighting for its life you need to know how people are going to react. If there is something lacking in trust or familiarity you may be in real trouble.
  9. Always do what's is morally and ethically right. It's easy to be tempted but resist the urge. You will completely lose your way and your most ardent supporters the minute you do something morally or ethically wrong.
  10. Even if it hurts. Referring to item 9 above. Even if doing what is right is painful to you personally. You won't need to tell anyone that you have made a tremendous sacrifice. They will know and this fosters trust.