are pleased to provide the latest installment of our newsletter which
contains an article by Frank McComb covering a very timely subject: Are
You Ready for the Recovery?
During the recent economic downturn, companies have had to reduce costs,
often resulting in the loss of key resources (leadership). While this
may have been necessary to meet the challenge at hand, some companies
may have left themselves vulnerable to the competition and unprepared to
take advantage of the upswing as the recovery unfolds.
For keen insight on addressing the issue of managing with depleted
leadership resources to be positioned well for the recovery, read on!
Are You Ready for the Recovery?
It's a new year,
full of promise and hope. But for many companies, the recovery will
be tougher than the recession:
Markets have changed
Customers and suppliers have changed, if they still
There are new competitors, and old ones are gone; all
customers are up for grabs
Credit is tight; cash is tighter.
Yet for many companies, depleted leadership resources will be the
People? What People?
To survive, many companies have reduced management staff, left key
positions unfilled, and asked inexperienced employees to take on added
responsibilities. All these can leave a company ill-equipped to tackle
the challenges and opportunities of the recovery and hoping that its
competitors don't gobble up market share by reacting faster.
One solution is to help your current employees develop new skill-sets
and improve existing ones. This not only avoids the costs of additional
hires, but raises morale as employees are given opportunities to advance
their careers. But how do you get from here to there?
A Tough Reality
At a recent client, I was engaged to coach a newly-promoted plant
manager. The CEO, facing the realities of the recession and knowing he
might have to consolidate plants, had promoted this young manager rather
than hire a more experienced plant manager from outside. This new
manager was inheriting a plant with declining performance and a staff
that was struggling. On the same day he was promoted, he was also told
that his plant might be closing in the next 18 months. Needless-to-say,
the young man was emotionally conflicted. It was a great opportunity,
but he faced learning a new position, and potentially having to do so in
a very difficult environment.
The guidance I provided for this new manager was four-fold: (1) help him
reorganize his staff to effectively manage the plant, (2) guide him to a
better understanding of his new responsibilities, (3) enable him to see
where he needed to grow in his own abilities and develop a plan to make
that improvement, and (4) provide coaching and encouragement to support
his performance and growth in this challenging situation.
Manage the Plant
The most immediate need was to help him rebuild an effective staff
without hiring additional people. With guidance, he worked through the
He identified the supervisory and technical needs for
managing the plant operations,
evaluated the skill sets of the staff he inherited,
sought input from the HR director and other senior
met with each of his staff individually to gain
his/her ideas and understand his/her career objectives, and then
developed a staffing plan that made the best use of
Clearly identifying the skill sets needed to manage the plant operations
was important. But by asking the employees for their ideas and input, he
helped them buy-in to the final organization and the challenges they
faced as a team.
Learn to Be Customer-Focused
Once he had a basic team in place to operate the plant, I worked with
him to understand his full responsibilities and how best to measure and
improve in his performance. We started with the concept of being
customer-oriented. I helped him think through:
who his customers were (not just end users, but internal
what each group of customers needed from him, and
how to measure his performance in meeting those customer
We documented all of this on a single chart, identifying his major
customers and the metrics he would use to measure his
performance. It was an eye-opening process for him, giving him a more
comprehensive understanding of his position. He came to see that he
needed to serve not just end-users as customers, but a variety of other
important individuals and groups.
for larger view]
With his new understanding of customers and responsibilities, I worked
with him to identify the skill-sets he would need to perform well. With
the help of the HR director who had worked with him for several years,
we helped him evaluate himself in each skill-set. If he identified the
skill set as critically important, and rated his ability as less than
adequate, we helped him develop a specific action plan for improvement.
Then we helped him identify resources he could draw on to help in his
development. The end result was that he knew where he needed to improve,
had specific action plans, and knew where to get help when he needed it.
Sharing the Gains; Extending Customer-Focus
The plant manager had gained such insight into his new position through
this effort, that he helped each of his direct reports work through the
same process: identifying their customers, their customers' needs and
the metrics to measure performance in meeting those needs.
Tough Reality; Good Results
The company did indeed decide to close his plant and consolidate
production into two other facilities. With on-going coaching and
encouragement, the plant manager was able to successfully guide his team
and the plant personnel through the difficult period leading up to the
plant closing. He maintained morale and team pride even as his staff
transitioned production to other plants. Very few employees left before
they were scheduled to be laid off, and operating performance actually
improved during this time.
When the plant was successfully closed and his plant manager position
finally eliminated, the young manager landed an even more responsible
position with another local manufacturer.
Creative Use of Resources to Get It Done!
This company used the expertise of interim executive coaching to develop
their people and to help them get through a difficult time that
ultimately benefited the company and the individuals. The lesson here is
that staying inside the box (of company people resources) may require
going outside the box. Interim executive help can bring a wealth of
experience and can be targeted to specific, limited-term needs without
adding long term expenses. If you would like to learn more about how
interim executive help and/or coaching could work for you, feel free to
give us a call.
Those in Need...Again
Members of the
Customer Centricity team and the First Baptist Church of Hudson, NH are
again headed to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi during the week of March
1, 2010, to build and/or refurbish homes, with Habitat for Humanity.
Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast on August 29, 2005,
destroying property and killing hundreds. Less than a month later, on
September 24, 2005, Hurricane Rita also made landfall on the Gulf Coast,
extending the devastation even further. All told, more than half a
million homes were damaged or destroyed.
Four years later Habitat for Humanity still engages coastal Mississippi
families struggling with run down temporary shelter and poor housing
If you are interested in supporting the cause or would like to learn
www.firstgiving.com/firstbaptisthudson. We, and the people in need,
thank you in advance for your support.
+ CCI Serving Those in Need...Again
+Are You Ready for the Recovery?
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