Upgrade the Management Team was my first goal with a recent turnaround. This engagement was the subject of my second book, “The Turnaround.” The company was a computer distributor selling hardware, software, and service.
The company was failing because of poor management, and the problem started with the owner. He cared more about chasing females around in the company than running the company profitably.
Typically, the first thing I do is interview the managers and some key employees. After going through this process, I analyze three years of financial statements.
Upgrade the Management Team was the only task that was going to save this company from bankruptcy.
The most outstanding issue that was very obvious to me after the analysis of the current business. The gross profit margin for selling hardware was (10%), software (15%), and service (66%). It did not take a Rhodes Scholar to figure where to focus my efforts after this analysis.
When interviewing the sales staff, they all complained about the service department. When the sales team sold a service contract to a customer, the service department provided inferior service. As a result, they stopped selling service. The sales team didn’t want to lose sales of computers to their customers because of this company’s weak service group.
Upgrade the Management Team in the service department was my top priority.
So, the service group was my initial problem. The sales team were not willing to sell the highest gross profit product offered to the customers. Because of poor management and bad service by the service team, the salespeople did not want to sell service.
When I interviewed the service manager, I learned more about all the problems. My impression of this manager was his management, and leadership skills were weak. I did not know his company history, but I guessed that he was a sound technician. Being in front of a computer was his sweet spot. The manager’s excellent technical skills are great, but managing a department with 20 service techs requires more.
The service manager requires different kinds of skills including:
- Relationship Skills – Managers should have strong relationship-building abilities to be productive with their team. Employees will work harder for their manager if they like him. If they don’t get along with the manager, they will work against him with a goal of him failing.
- Personal and Professional Growth – Managers should motivate their staff to grow personally and professionally.
- Planning and Budgeting – Managers should plan short and long-term strategies to accomplish the department’s and company’s goals.
- Delegation – Managers should delegate work to staff to maximize efficiency and productivity of the department.
- Organizational – Managers are in control of organizing their staff, applying processes, controls, and procedures to maximize the efficiency of their employees.
- Leadership – According to Wikipedia, “Leadership” is a practical skill encompassing the ability of an individual or organization to “lead” or guide other individuals, teams, or entire organizations. To best understand leadership, read the quote by Robin S. Sharma.
“Leadership is not about a title or a designation. It’s about impact, influence, and inspiration. Impact involves getting results, influence is about spreading the passion you have for your work, and you have to inspire teammates and customers.” Robin S. Sharma
- Problem-Solving – Managers should have strong problem-solving skills to resolve any issues concerning the department’s staff, customers, vendors, budgets, etc.
- Administrative and Financial Skills – Managers should have a clear understanding of the financial status of the company and his department. A good manager should have a firm understanding of creating and revising budgets and be adequately trained with computer skills.
After Studying my notes from my interview of the service manager, I decided to put him back in the field where he belongs. For this company to be profitable again, I was going to replace and upgrade the service manager position.
Upgrade the Management Team requires the owner to make tough decisions.
My name is Robert Curry, and I am an Author, CEO Coach, Keynote Speaker, and Turnaround Specialist. Over the past 20 years, I have worked with more than 70 companies taking their businesses from Loses to Profits.
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Recently, I published two books about turnarounds: “From Red to Black – A Business Turnaround” and “The Turnaround.” Both books are true stories about turnarounds of real companies that I have turned around during my career. In both books, I have shared all my Profit Improvement Recommendations (“PIR’s”). PIR’s helped to grow sales, reduce expenses, improve cash flow, and most importantly, strengthen the management teams.
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