Can This Company Be Saved? Part 2

By Richard Eichen, Return on Efficiency, LLC

In Part 1, we began describing the individual elements in the model.  We continue here to complete the set and share a few concluding remarks.


Success Preventers, cont’d

7. Productivity Apparitions (Impact = Very Strong)

These employees seem highly productive and focused; however, they create so much technical debt, bad contracts, angry customers, or convoluted processes, it takes many employees (or lawyers) to fix.


8. Culturally Detached Remote and Field Employees (Impact = Significant)

Newly remote employees often use coworking spaces close to home, attend the local holiday party, and make friends with other leasees rather than with their fellow teammates, resulting in more cultural attachment to their daily environment than the employer. Remote-First companies develop a distributed culture for inclusion early on, or they fail. Companies trying to figure out a mix of remote, hybrid, and onsite employees without designing an inclusive culture risk the emergence of multiple competing cultures, leading to us vs. them behaviors.


9. Unknowingly Unsophisticated Lower and Mid-Tier Management (Impact = Very Strong)

These employees assume they can do anything without attention to details, or senior level input in setting expectations, contracts, deliverables, timelines, and Service Levels commitments. Often their commitments come back to bite the organization.


10. Insufficient Mid-Career New Hires (Impact = Very Strong)

Troubled or inbred organizations cannot attract or retain mid-career already successful new hires. Often, this is the inverse of an internal brain drain where frustrated or scared employees become other organizations’ Mid-Career New Hires. Consider this an external report card on the organization’s reputation.


Success Enablers

1. Fixers of Long-Lived Problems (Impact = Significant)

Invaluable employees who can see the problem, correctly diagnose, get Leadership buy-in, and then fix the problem once and for all.  In Internal IT, these are the simplifiers and redesigners removing years of patches, manual steps, and workarounds which lead to fragility. If you don’t retain them, some other organization will.


2. Strong Tech/Product/Market Visionaries and Implementors (Impact = Significant)

Essential for success over time, they are not satisfied managing the status quo for the rest of their careers. They lead by selling their vision to their peers and Leadership, followed by execution and delivery. Internally, these are formal or informal leaders who get IT to start forward-thinking, satisfying their user communities by being a step ahead, and thinking and behaving as a captive vendor.


3. Strong Revenue Producers/Stewards (Impact = Mission Critical)

Their forecasts are bulletproof, setting accurate mutual expectations. Deliver as promised and respected by investors, Boards, and customers. They will walk and take their book of business with them if not generously compensated, recognized, and have their market-driven opinions taken seriously.


4. Highly Effective Tech/Business Directors (Impact = Mission Critical)

Middle Management who can get their jobs done and manage their staffs effectively. The best of this tier will become Senior Leadership, either at their current employer or someone else’s.


5. Remote, Hybrid and Engaged Key Contributors (Impact = Very Strong)

The opposite of the Culturally Detached Remote and Field Employee category, the employee feels connected to the organization’s inclusive culture encouraging friendships within and among teams by focusing on selling the concept of strategy execution combined with an employee-centric, not location-centric focus. Engaged employees can be the building blocks of transformation/turnaround. If seen positively by their peers and Leadership, then they can be given high profile mission-critical roles.


6. Breakthrough Deliverers (Impact = Significant)

They specialize in conceiving and delivering new ‘wows’ in existing or new products and services. Internally, these are the conceivers of integrating new technologies, such as Augmented Reality in sales, fulfillment, and construction, and new areas of remote healthcare such as Next-Generation Telehealth and Digital At-Home Diagnostics.  The issues to be cautious about are costs vs. incremental revenue per new ‘wow’ and time to deliver.


In Sum

We ask, once again, why are there 10 Success Preventers categories and only 6 Success Enablers? Turnaround/Transformation leaders are like ER doctors, rapidly triaging patients into immediate, urgent, and delayable.  If the practitioner cannot fix the negatives, the positives won’t matter.