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How To Save Your Company in a Bad Economy

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Turnarounds are inspiring. The ability to rebound after a poor-performing day or decade shows the power of resilience and the determination to find success even when, at times, it seems unreachable. Every CEO should seek to become a Turnaround CEO.

It’s challenging to know where to turn when a company is declining, but you can get your company back on track by following a turnaround playbook. CEOs are wise to have a turnaround playbook that will help them succeed. That playbook includes a set of strategies that will focus the leader on knowing what decisions must be made and when to make those decisions.

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One such CEO who was able to turn around his company was Chris Lamontagne, who leads TeeSpring (a social commerce platform to create and sell products online.) Chris has had a habit of focusing on growth and has played vital roles in many fast-moving tech companies, even starting his first business at age twenty.

In a short period of time, Chris, following the playbook that he designed, was able to take a company that was losing money and grow it to gain profitability. During that focus, he was also able to enhance the companies social commerce and engage a new audience to build products to create awareness through their platform. Through the use of this playbook, Chris was able to lead his team to recategorize their business and bring clarity to their customers, supporters, and funders. Chris worked to build a new partnerships eco-system (with the likes of YouTube, Amazon, Twitch & eBay) and develop a new fast-growing user base in content creators creating merchandise for their fans.

The 5 Plays That Should Be In Every CEOs Playbook:

1. The Profitability Play:

Many businesses can start bleeding cash when they are launching a new product or idea. It is crucial for a CEO who will lead the charge of changing the direction of an organization that they move the company to profitability and do so as quickly as possible. This play consists of educating the entire organization of the cash standing and helping everyone in the organization take responsibility to get to profitability. The CEO will know that the team takes ownership when the team takes responsibility to watch costs and reduce unnecessary expenses.

Every CEO that wishes to lead a turnaround must focus on the numbers every day. Turnaround CEOs recognized that every penny counts, and every penny must be counted. When a Turn Around CEO focuses on the team on profitability, then the team understands the value of taking care of the customer.

2. The Clarity Play:

I teach every CEO I work with a simple phrase: when the leader is clear, everything becomes clear. CEOs who wish to turn around their company must push for clarity about who they are and what they are trying to accomplish. The leader must help everyone in the organization embrace the organization’s true identity.

One tool that Chris used with his team to push for clarity was going through the exercise of having each person explain the company so that their mom could understand what they do. This simple question is a fantastic exercise for any CEO of any company. Can you and every team member explain your company and what you do so well that your mother could understand it? A company that does not know who they are or what they are about will not succeed in the marketplace.

3. The Awareness Play:

Leaders are visionary. Leaders have the ability to see into the future and develop a company or organization around the possibilities of what could happen or what could make life better for others. However, sometimes, the vision can become blurry. Blurry companies are often buried by their competition.

Chris made an unusual decision when he assumed the CEO role at Teespring. He decided to spend the first three to four months meeting with people in similar businesses to hear what they were doing and what was coming in the future to the industry. When asked about why he would make such a decision, he responded, “I had to find out what success looks like for our company. I knew that the answers were not in Teespring. That was today’s business, not tomorrow’s business.”

“I had to find out what success looks like for our company. I knew that the answers were not in Teespring. That was today’s business, not tomorrow’s business.”

CEOs who wish to turn around their company must lead from their vision. They must look out ahead of the competition and make bold decisions that others in their industry are afraid to make. They must get out ahead if they will get out of being behind.

4. The Team Play:

It takes a team to make a turnaround. After leaders know where they want to go, they must focus on getting a team to go along with them. Part of the team play instills in the team the belief that the company or organization can be successful again. The CEO must embrace the role of Chief Belief Officer. They must inspire and call others to believe in the vision. The CEO must communicate the value of what the company is working to accomplish and that all the hard work is worth the effort.

Turn Around CEOs understand the value of the right people doing the right things in the right ways. People will either bring energy into the company or cost the company to expand energy in ineffective ways. This might be the most crucial play a turnaround CEO makes as they gather people who have high energy that will help to energize the company.

5. The Execution Play

The execution play happens by putting the strategy to work. Companies that are in free-fall mode often have a difficult time making decisions. These companies paralyze themselves because they are afraid that they will make the wrong decision. They analyze numbers and data and never move to work the strategy that will lead to success. When people know what to do and how to do it, they are empowered to execute. The CEO, during a turnaround, must focus on encouraging and inspiring the team to act with intention.

Turnarounds are not easy. However, every business will have periods when they start to decline. When a company does not know how to recover after a setback, it is doomed to continue a downward spiral until it closes. These are the five plays that Chris Lamontagne called to help turn his company around. This turnaround playbook should be embraced by every CEO who wishes to guide their company through a downturn back to an uptick for a positive future.

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Ken Gosnell is the CEO and Servant Leader of CEO Experience (CXP). His company serves Christian CEOs and leaders by helping them to hear the words Well Done. CEO Experience provides great retreat experiences for CEOs that both transform them and their organizations that enable them to go further faster. Ken is the publisher of the CXP CEO Executive Guide that is designed to help leaders learn faster by encouraging them to give themselves a monthly learning retreat. His monthly CEO retreats have helped thousands of CEOs and their leadership teams to enhance strategic, operational, and people accomplishments. He is a keynote speaker, executive coach, and strategic partner with CEOs and successful business leaders. He is also the author of the book Well Done - Biblical Business Principles leaders can use to Grow their business with Kingdom Impact



 
 
 

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Business

Work-Life Balance in Your Life

It the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life

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Work-life balance (WLB) is the ability to experience a sense of control and to stay productive and competitive at work while maintaining a happy, healthy home-life with sufficient leisure. WLB, also referred to by some as work-life harmony, work-life shift, work-life blend, work-life effectiveness, or work-life integration, requires focus and awareness despite seemingly endless tasks and activities competing for our time and attention.

Work-life balance entails having what I call “breathing space” for yourself each day, feeling a sense of accomplishment while not being consumed by work, and having an enjoyable domestic life without short-changing career obligations. WLB is rooted in whatever fulfillment means to you within the course of a day and a week, and however many years you have left in your life.

Supporting Disciplines

Several disciplines support work-life balance though, individually, none are synonymous with work-life balance:

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1) Self Management

Sufficiently managing one’s self can be challenging, particularly in getting proper sleep, exercise, and nutrition. Self-management is the recognition that effectively using the spaces in our lives is vital, and that life, time, and available resources are finite. It means becoming captain of our own ship; no one is coming to steer for us.

2) Time Management

Effective time management involves making optimal use of your day and the supporting resources that can be summoned – you can only keep pace when your resources match your challenges. Time management is enhanced through appropriate goals and discerning what is both important and urgent, versus important OR urgent. It entails understanding what you do best and when, and assembling the appropriate tools to accomplish specific tasks.

3) Stress Management

By nature, societies tend to become more complex over time. In the face of increasing complexity, stress on the individual is inevitable. More people, noise, and distractions, independent of one’s individual circumstances, require each of us to become more adept at maintaining tranquility and being able to work ourselves out of pressure-filled situations. Most forms of multi-tasking ultimately increase our stress, while focusing on one thing at a time helps decrease stress.

4) Change Management

In our fast-paced world, change is virtually the only constant. Continually adopting new methods, adapting old, and re-adapting all methods is vital to a successful career and a happy home life. Effective change management involves offering periodic and concerted efforts so that the volume and rate of change at work and at home does not overwhelm or defeat you.

5) Technology Management

Effectively managing technology requires ensuring that technology serves you, rather than abuses you. Technology has always been with us, since the first walking stick, spear, flint, and wheel. Today, the rate of technological change is accelerating, brought on by vendors seeking expanding market share. Often you have no choice but to keep up with the technological Joneses, but rule technology, don’t let it rule you.

6) Leisure Management

The most overlooked of the work-life balance supporting disciplines, leisure management acknowledges 1) the importance of rest and relaxation, 2) that “time off” is a vital component of the human experience, and 3) that one can’t indefinitely short-change leisure without repercussions. Curiously, too much of the same leisure activity, however enjoyable, can lead to monotony. Thus, effective leisure management requires varying one’s activities.

Entirely Achievable

Achieving work-life balance does not require radical changes in what you do. It is about developing fresh perspectives and sensible, actionable solutions that are appropriate for you. It is fully engaging in life with what you have, right where you are, smack dab in the ever-changing dynamics of your existence.

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Business

Work-life Balance: The Enduring Quest

Organizations today recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity

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Thank goodness that organizations today increasingly recognize the importance of supporting employees’ well-being while maintaining productivity. As such, the corporate quest for work-life balance, harmony, and integration has gained great prominence.

Key Aspects

Here are 12 key aspects of this pursuit gleaned from a variety of programs:

1. Offer Flexible Work Arrangements: Offering flexible work schedules, remote work options, and part-time opportunities allows employees to better balance their professional and personal lives.

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2. Have Clear Policies: Establishing clear policies and guidelines regarding work hours, overtime, and expectations helps employees manage their time effectively.

3. Support Mental Health: Providing access to mental health resources, counseling, and stress management programs can address employees’ emotional well-being.

4. Give Leave: Offering generous paid time off, including vacation, sick leave, and parental leave, allows employees to address personal and family needs without fear of repercussions.

5. Prevent Burnout: Encouraging employees to disconnect from work-related technology after hours helps prevent burnout and supports work-life separation.

6. Support Workload Management: Ensuring that employees have manageable workloads and realistic deadlines prevents excessive stress and long working hours.

7. Provide Wellness Programs: Implementing wellness initiatives, such as fitness facilities, nutrition programs, and health screenings, promotes a healthier work-life balance.

8. Enable Employee Assistance Programs: Such programs provide confidential counseling and support services for employees facing personal challenges.

9. Promote a Culture of Balance: Company culture plays a significant role in work-life balance. Leaders should model a balanced lifestyle, and the organization should celebrate accomplishments beyond work.

10. Maintain Continuous Communication: Engaging in open dialogues with employees about their needs and concerns regarding work-life balance fosters a supportive and responsive corporate culture.

11. Empower Workers with Training and Education: Providing training on time management, stress reduction, and resilience equips employees with the skills to better balance their lives.

12. Leverage Remote Work Policies: Crafting clear remote work policies and expectations ensures that remote employees have a structured work-life balance.

Bringing in the Hired Gun

As the world’s only holder of the title, “The Work-Life Balance Expert®,” as issued by the USPTO,  I am often summoned by organizations to enhance work-life balance for their troops. In all, I’ve delivered programs and spoken to 960 groups. Below depicts an encounter with a company who shall remain nameless for reasons of confidentiality. See if this squares up with your experience in your organization.

The following responses were derived as a result of my sending a questionnaire to the conference meeting planner where I was to be their keynote speaker. I requested the names of 10 people who would be in the audience. I called each of them to discuss their current challenges. Here are their actual replies to three of my questions:

1) If you could magically resolve a work-life balance issue, what would it be?

* Have more breathing room between high-level projects.
* Accomplish more during the workday and leave mentally free.
* Hire more staff!
* Take vacations and time off with no big pile ups when returning.

* Be allowed to take some Fridays off and catch up on much needed appointments.
* Reduce the number of pop-up requests and questions flying at me all day long so that I could ACTUALLY do what I need to do each day.
* Be approved to work from home or adjust my hours. My personal time isn’t respected.

2) What do you seek to derive from attending a session such as mine?

* Manage my time more effectively.
* Gain tools to embrace life while living it
* Develop stronger skills.
* Make work-life balance a reality in our company’s work-first culture.

* Acquire strategies, tips, or ideas to re-think my approach.
* Learn to change my focus, to be more productive, balanced, and focused.
* Be able to balance the few things that I do control during my day.
* Discover tips for keeping my staff in balance.

* Gain a realistic expectation of what we can achieve or experience.
* Develop a more positive outlook for the group.

3) Are there any observations you could offer?

* Work-life balance is a huge topic organization-wide. We are high performers who want to do a good job. We compromise our personal lives to meet work demands. We have to keep pace with the leaders and teams we support. If we don’t, we’ll be deemed unresponsive.

* A frenetic pace seems to be inherent in this company. Our team does a good job of emphasizing work-life balance; the problem lies with the surrounding divisions that thrive on working all the time, for no good reason. Yes, we are in a global space, working in different time zones, but some of these people are beyond the pale.

* What I love about this organization are the people. They are dedicated to the cause and truly want to deliver reliable, affordable, dynamic, and versatile solutions to our customers. However, our frenetic pace isn’t necessary. Not every project is the most vital. Not every problem is an emergency. Not every request has to be filled now.

* If in charge, I’d implement a more efficient, logical pace organization-wide. If we all took a breath and reevaluated how we work, in a more focused environment, we might find that we could produce better results with less stress.

Resonates Strongly

As you can see, the topic of work-life balance resonates strongly among today’s career professionals. Going forward, may more organization recognize and acknowledge the critical role that employee wellness and work-life balance has on the organization’s overall effectiveness.

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