We’re Doomed…Doomed I tell you!

I had a long breakfast with a friend and Company Director this morning. Over the bacon and eggs we talked about some senior and unexpected departures from one of his competitors. He was identifying the opportunities these senior departures presented for his own company.

In short he categorised these as:

  • Available talent might be available and useful to his own comany (possibly on a consultancy basis)
  • The competitor’s clients might speculate that they might need to shop around for alternative suppliers (Just in case!)
  • Loss in staff morale and as a result loss of productivity
  • Gap in leadership until new leader can be appointed and begin to succeed
  • Possible further departures which could increase problems
  • Cost to competitor of rehiring and lead-in time for newe job holder

Too often, when senior management departs staff look to the future wondering if the business is doomed. (Even if the leader had been unpopular) and wonder if they should consider finding another job before it’s too late. My friend and I speculated that the benefits for my friend’s company could last between six and nine months and be worth many clients and an increase in sales income.

Bernard Matthews as an example
One only has to look at Bernard Matthews, the turkey company, to see how the loss of top people can benefit competitors. Last week the Chairman, Davis McCall, stepped down. Then the Chief Executive, Noel Bartram left and follows Rob Mears the Managing Director’s ealier departure.
The company employs 2200 people with a further 1000 staff in Germany and Hungary. In recent years Trading conditions have been poor for the company with bird flu and increase in costs. In addition staff morale has been hit and sales have slumped. Profits on a turnover of £341m amounted to just £2m.
With the departure of senior people it could be expected that morale and productivity will further be affected unless the latest appointment of David Joll (former CE) can secure a rumoured investment of between £20 and £30million. In which case he could end up as a hero.

A Strategy

My friend and I worked on plans until lunchtime on ways to manage possible, though unlikely, senior departures in his own company.

Stephen Harvard Davis

No comments

The peril of Ignoring old customs & culture

On Sunday I was invited to brunch by some friends. A real treat, but the topic of conversation was depressing. Two of our party, of six, announced that they were changing jobs. Not because they wanted to but because one felt unappreciated, the other tired of a failing “new hire manager”.

Performance review.
The first, an exceptionally clever person, had just had a performance review where his “new boss” had reduced his performance grade for willingness to undertake overtime and timekeeping because he said that he “Didn’t believe in awards at highest grade…”. The previous year the employee a highest grade for willingness to work overtime at short notice. The reduction would mean a change in salary expectation.

Tired of inefficient management
The second friend, the companies highest producing salesperson, recounted various “New hire ” management decisions that had affected how people were able to perform, ignored previous culture and customs and this was affecting team morale. As a result he was deciding to leave.

I’m not against change but find it difficult to understand when new managers try to create an impression without considering the consequences. Ignoring old customs and culture does no-one any favours. In the end one company might lose an enthusiastic and hard working employee and the other a high performing salesperson.

No comments

“British Airways Strike and Teambuilding”

The current dispute between British Airways and the cabin crews must pose concerns as to the ability of the airline to develop a positive working relationships in the future between the airline and its staff.

Whilst there is no doubt that British Airways is looking to cut costs and ensure that the airline is able to compete with its rivals one must consider that British Airways must either break the union or potentially become a shadow of its previous self.

The problem with either result is the potential ill feeling felt by both sides at the end of the dispute. A recovery of morale, trust and mutual support could take many years to achieve. During this time passengers may well opt to travel with rival carriers and thus leaving BA with the long-term potential of becoming the UK’s Pan Am!

The Airline would do well to start planning how they might achieve a recovery of morale, professional working and team-building prior to the end of the dispute. To spend time congratulating itself on any real or imaginary victory over the union could well be too late. 

No comments

Team Assimilation isn’t always a success

At the current time many companies are restructuring their teams to make savings but in the hope of increasing productivity.

The problem is that too many teams fail to achieve their anticipated outcome. In fact our research shows that only 60% of restructured teams increase productivity. The benefits have more to do with saving wages and staff costs.

A few months ago a business restructured its sales team. Territories have become larger, management reduced and incentives cut. All necessary business strategies.

However, the new team’s assimilation was poorly undertaken. Rationale for the need for the changes was poorly described to those affected, management went absent after the restructure to work on other projects, as a result morale dropped and a very popular sales manager left to work for competitors.

I was called in to help and after a series of individual and team meetings, changes to old fashioned reporting to remove some team frustrations and changing the office layout the team’s productivity has begun to rise and meet expectations.

The message here is that post assimilation of a team is as as important to the planning part of team assimilation after restructuring.

No comments