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Working with the right people to effectively restructure your company in difficulty

Whether it is due to regulatory and fiscal instability, pressure from suppliers and customers, recruitment problems or cyclical hazards, the life of a company is punctuated by pitfalls that jeopardise its survival. Faced with these dangers, the manager must react in time and surround himself with professionals in the field of restructuring and business turnaround.

It is an obvious fact for entrepreneurs, but it doesn't hurt to remind ourselves of it from time to time: the life of a business leader is far from being a long, quiet river. Few have ever had doubts or been tempted to throw in the towel in the face of the many difficulties along the way.

The real difference between the company that survives and the one that succumbs is the attitude of its leader: will he or she remain alone, will he or she decide to ignore the danger or will he or she accept to get help?

The leader who tries to go it alone will be faced with the magnitude of the task. If a company is faced with a problem that puts its survival at stake, it is not a few marginal changes that will enable it to get back on its feet sustainably.

The entire business plan must be analysed, rethought and modified.

Head down, play dead or get help?

Ignoring the danger is probably the worst solution. Once the company has accumulated debts, particularly with the tax authorities, or is in fact in a state of suspension of payments, it is almost impossible to turn it around painlessly.

Whatever the difficulties encountered, the professional in business restructuring and turnaround support that I am implements a 4-step approach, the performance of each step depending on the previous one.

The audit: knowing where you are in order to choose where to go

After having audited the company, its activity, its teams and its environment, the strategy to be implemented must be identified and formulated. At this stage, the eye of the external consultant is particularly effective in identifying opportunities and transforming possible obstacles into competitive advantages.

For example, I was approached by a company whose major market was disappearing due to regulatory changes. The company had a replacement solution, but the manager thought it would be difficult to sell it because the price was higher than the obsolete version.

Thanks to an explanatory communication campaign and training and motivation of the sales force, what was perceived as a handicap became an asset, giving the company an image of dynamism, innovation and anticipation.

A simple, clear and internally communicated strategy

Once the strategic orientations have been identified and formulated, the reorganisation and training to be deployed to give life to this new strategy must be designed.

A schedule of expected changes and a system for evaluating and monitoring the progress of the projects are deployed to enable responsive management of the changes implemented.

From theory to practice: operational implementation

The third stage is the operational implementation of the recommended changes. Ideally, the company's teams take care of this, accompanied by an outside consultant, who identifies and corrects any tendency to fall back into old ways.

To convince and motivate his teams, however, the manager is the only one able to explain, show the example and convince his employees of the relevance of the change in progress.

At this stage, the company has changed its offer, its organisation, its commercial practices (...) to transform itself into a high-performance team.

But the restructuring work is not finished.

It is also necessary to enable it to gain agility, so that it does not find itself in a bad position again a few years later.

Sustaining innovation and adapting the corporate culture

This is why the last stage is so important and why it would be imprudent to skip it, considering that the essential is already done.

The manager is provided with a simple and readable dashboard, combining internal and external data, to enable him or her to confirm the progress made in the organisation, to analyse the initial results and the feelings of his or her staff in detail, etc.

The final objective is to bring the manager and his company into a new era, where each piece of information will feed the manager's reflection, strategy and informed decision.


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