Wednesday, August 24, 2005

How To Turn Round A Party

Ever since we started this blog, we've been trying to get find a copy of DD's book 'How To Turn Round A Company'. He wrote it after turning round a troubled subsidiary of his then employer Tate & Lyle.

At long last, we can read selected highlights in today's Telegraph:

"The turnaround expert is often portrayed as a hero. In the aftermath of a rescue it may look that way but when he enters the company this is rarely the case. In a typical crisis situation the key decision is the change of the leader. From this decision virtually all others flow."

A new leader must have "psychological control", "challenge everything" and "follow up everything". He must take brutal decisions, such as redundancies, first. And his brisk demeanour should "ripple through the organisation".

Any successful turnaround expert will have two characteristics. "Firstly, it will be very apparent, or he will make it apparent, that without radical action on his part all will be lost"; and secondly, because he is not associated with past disasters, he will have a honeymoon period of about 100 days.

Before developing his strategic plan, a turnaround specialist must identify the causes of decline. These can include management failure. "Occasionally, the managers who created the company's success will neatly see it into its grave." Companies can become prisoners of their history and "over time, all successes eventually become obsolete".

If Mr Davis does become leader, he will remember that it was when the party lost its reputation for economic competence that it got into real trouble. "An organisation's accounts provide the single most consistent, most reliable, and most relevant information available," he writes.

He emphasises the importance of marketing and of recognising a failed organisation's "inability to analyse the market and organise a strategy based on a clear understanding of the company's position".


When William Hague tried to turn us around, he gave his shadow cabinet colleagues copies of Philip Gould's 'The Unfinished Revolution- How the Modernisers Saved the Labour Party'. Sounds like DD should give them a copy of his own book.


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