Turn around a broken team

Even the most broken of teams can be revived with proper leadership.

Today’s world is one of constant disruptions. Whole industries are being shuttered, and ancient corporate behemoths are getting replaced by innovative competitors. But while many companies have fallen victim to the transformational changes occurring around us, some have weathered the storm and come out on top.

Such success stories hinge on successful change management, where new leaders come in to failing companies and attempt to turn things around. The author has over ten years of experience doing just this, and he has identified a number of strategies that leaders can employ when trying to fix broken businesses.
The very first task any change leader should engage in is running a simple reception test. Body language and appearance can reveal a lot about people, including the inner emotions that they're trying to keep hidden. So change leaders need to observe their new team members closely to accurately gauge their situation. Do people maintain eye contact while holding a conversation? Do they care about their appearance? Taken together, these impressions of individuals will likely tell you a lot about the business as a whole.

But the reception test takes its name from perhaps the biggest giveaway of all: an untidy, cluttered reception area. When organizations become used to mediocrity, a professional reception is usually the first thing to go. And cleaning that area up and making it cosmetically appealing can help team members quickly feel a little more proud of their place of work.

The next aspect of fixing broken businesses is to identify five allies that you can join forces with. This should be a mix of people who already know their way around the organization and outsiders with experience in change management. Together with this new core team, you can define short- and long-term organizational objectives. Once this is done, they will act as evangelists for the change you’re hoping to bring to the company, making sure that everyone is aware of where it’s all heading.

But perhaps most importantly, being a successful change leader is about preparing to dig in your heels for the long term. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy, and raising broken businesses from the ashes is no exception. As the saying goes, Rome wasn’t built in a day. Rebuilding organizations is no different. So hang in there, stay resilient, and make sure that you keep radiating leadership so that your new followers remain inspired.