Recently, a company I started working with had lost 30% of their sales because of a severe and completely unexpected industry downturn. Profits had vanished and, by the end of the year, they were looking at a severe loss.
The owner, as you might imagine, was losing sleep over what to do next. The company needed an immediate restructuring.
I asked him, “Why does this situation have to have a negative outcome?”
“Why can’t we take this situation and create something positive? This could be an opportunity to make a significant change. A change for better,” I explained.
He looked incredulous.
The owner was spending all his time worrying about what he needed to do that would minimize the damage. And he felt that it was all up to him.
“This is not all your problem,” I said. “Ultimately, it is your responsibility, but this is not all your problem. You’ve told me that this is the best management team you have ever worked with and losing anyone would be sad. Why not put this problem in front of them and see what they come up with? You might be surprised by the outcome.”
So we did. We laid out the entire situation at a management meeting, brainstormed ideas, prioritized, and assigned responsibilities with deadlines.
In less then six hours, they cut overhead by 30%. More importantly, the management team came together to work on an important problem and feel confident that they, together, had developed the best solutions possible.
The power of a committed team should never be underestimated.