Often new hires, either a CEO, or CMO, coincide with a challenge of restoring business growth. But how? There are three steps to transforming an under-performing business.
1. Understand the effect on your business
First, understand the effect on your business or portfolio as a whole. How significant or material is the effect in relation to the business as a whole? If it is small then delegate responsibility to solve the problem, if large, then there is a case for you to invest more of your own time.
2. Diagnose the problem
Then diagnose the cause as quickly as possible. Ask questions and form your own opinion of the cause and the ability of your team to solve the problem. The scale, complexity, political sensitivities of the problem will affect the ability of your own team to develop a solution. Using consultants and conducting original customer research can be helpful in being both objective and apolitical.
- What is the nature of the problem; is it a one-off, recurring or ongoing?
- What is the problem caused by; is it an internal operational issue or external market forces?
- What does the problem trace to?
- Is the problem product, promotion or strategy related?
- And/or is it people or process related?
- Then, what plans do we have to deal with the issue?
To check that the problem is understood, and to corroborate this is the case, ask for a paper discussing the issue as well as recommending options to deal with it.
3. Drive change
When you fully understand the issues and have a plan in place to restore business growth then drive action. Here your approach must depend on the effect of the business problem and the ability of your team to solve the problem. If the problem is less significant, a lighter touch is appropriate. However, if the problem is material, a more directive is appropriate.
Further, if the problem reaches across departments, set-up a task force to deal with it and ensure clear access to relevant senior management. In addition, if the problem is beyond the capability or experience of your current managers, strengthen the team or replace the key people.
For an objective view what to do, seek help from a third party such as a specialist business or marketing consultancy.