I don’t want to go on the cart!

February 4, 2013

Cases, General Updates

With all due respect to Monty Python, “I’m not dead yet!”

It’s been one hell of a ride the last eight months.

I can’t believe it’s been nearly a year since the last post.  How time gets away from us sometimes.

But the stories I can tell.  Well, the stories I WILL TELL here on the blog.

So, “where have you been?”, you may ask.

Great question.

Business in Crisis

Those of you that have been keeping up through Twitter or chatting with me on email, will know that on the 1st of April (a sign, somehow?), I took over running a business in Europe.

Yep, in the middle of the great European melt-down, I walked in to a new job.  And it’s been mayhem.

Here’s how I tell the story of my transition.  And you can forget all the ’90 days to transition’ stuff from the books.  “Oh, you have 30 days to talk to people.  30 days to see customers and understand the informal politics.  And by 90 days you should have your key priorities laid out. . . ”

Sometimes, you get 20 days.

  • Week One: National Holidays (Easter)
  • Week Two: New Government legislation enacted affecting 50% of my business
  • Week Three: my team delivers our “Sales Flash” estimate for the month of April – we’ll be 50% below our target for the MONTH and 40% below year-to-date.  Uh, what??
  • Week Three and one-half: I submit the sales flash estimate to corp office and get and invitation for a business review with the Division President in 10 days

Nothing but opportunity to go up at this point, I figure.  Feeling bad ain’t going to help, that’s for sure.

Digging Our Way Out

Over the following months, the team and I dug our way out.  Or, maybe better stated, we clawed our way back to sanity.   And much of this work will be laid out here because there were some big wins and big crashes over the last few months that I think can help anyone working on their own business strategy.

Well discuss the idea of strategy in crisis – how does it differ or mirror building a strategy when all is going well or you’ve got some “stability”?

I also think a great topic will be navigating your way out of a death spiral.

I learned a couple of hard lessons that we can frame in “strategy and structure”.

A couple other topics I’ve named, include:

  1. With all love for Dr. Seuss, is “Am I Here or Am I There?”
  2. Building Strategy with the Lights Out
  3. Does Your Business Need a Pilot?

It’s all under control, right?

Hardly.  But we are now running a business not running scared.  And when you are running a business (and it’s not running you), that’s when you get time to come up for air.  To plan strategy.  To work on other projects.

And, so, I’m back.  And I’m happy to be back.


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