When facing a negative business environment, successful leaders rally their teams by articulating a clear, credible turnaround vision. The vision must lucidly define the needed changes and demonstrate that the proposed strategy will move the business from the current failing situation to winning in the marketplace. People must believe that there is a winning path forward before they will embrace and emotionally commit to difficult, required changes.
A few years ago, an embryonic business unit within a larger company that upon entering a new marketplace lost all five of its initial sales proposals. Corporate leadership and members of the new business unit were re-questioning whether new market was attractive, was leadership effective and could the business unit be successful. It was a negative, emotionally challenging time. People began to have significant doubts about the business unit’s ability to be successful.
In this time of adversity, the business unit leader convened a small group of the best performers and offered a compelling vision of what the organization could become. The group performed a root cause analysis of the recent losses and prepare recommendations on how to achieve the leader’s vision. The team rallied around the new vision and turnaround strategy and became visible proponents among the other business unit employees. Over the next several months, the business unit began to win. Winning begat more winning and the unit went onto become an outstanding contributor to company’s financial performance.
In times of trouble, people will band together to embrace new strategies and common action if they think there is a good chance of success. With an inspiring vision supported by cogent turnaround actions, people will rally around leadership; even faced with significant risk and adversity. However, leadership can can only engender the required emotional commitment if the team fervently believes that there is a succesful path forward.