Turn It Up… Not Just Around- Part 2

“So what did you do?” was the question from last week’s post on the turn-around of the Technology Company. There were 3 Phases to the plan, all of which followed the Analysis, Actions and Results model portrayed in the “pyramid diagram”. Here is what we did…

Phase 1: Triage- 90 Days. The triage effort involved taking the steps necessary to get the business on firmer financial footing. There were 3 primary actions taken in this phase.

prioritiesChanges to the management team were needed that largely involved reassignment of senior staff, although there were a couple key new hires and terminations as well. The second action was to right-size the organization and consolidate facilities- always a painful step, but necessary. The third action was a very important one, and that was to impose financial discipline and financial decision-making. Previously, major decisions were made without financial analysis or justification. The newly appointed CFO took this one on successfully.

Phase 2: Market Focus- 18 Months. MBWA (management by walking around) is a technique I have used for years. I rarely heard the word “customer” in my MBWA analysis in the early days. So it was not difficult to see that the company was too inwardly focused and not market-focused.

dart boardPhase 2 then became the Market Focus phase. We took two significant actions in this phase- the first was to align our business in the way customers saw us and not how we saw things internally. We aligned as many of our resources as possible around our customer segments. In doing so, we improved our sales dramatically, but we also learned what was missing in our products and services. We immediately launched product development programs to strengthen our offerings- this took more than a year to accomplish. But, once we did, sales improved further yet.

Phase 3: Channel Focus- 12 Months. As we analyzed our situation in Phase 2, it became clear that the channels we were using to go to market, primarily OEM channels, were not delivering the kind of results we expected and were never going to. The channel partners lacked our goal-oriented sense of urgency and passion.

goalsWhat had to be done was obvious on the one hand, but very difficult to do on the other- we had to better control our channels to market. The action we decided upon was to acquire a significant channel player with global sales and service capability, and a strong market presence.

What allowed us to pull this off was our financial strength. By imposing financial disciplines in Phase 1, and with strong management and focus in Phase 2, we built a war-chest of cash that we could deploy for strategic acquisitions.

Certainly there is a lot more to this story. But, the 3-phase approach, coupled with the recurring use of the Analysis, Actions, Results methodology is the story. Within 3 years the company had its management processes, products, channels and focus clearly set.

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