In tough economic times, work groups and departments need to be setting new standards for performance more than looking for simple cost reductions, according to Kevin Herring, workforce turnaround expert and founder of Ascent Management Consulting. Herring states that overemphasizing cost cutting may cause leaders to miss the best opportunities for their employees to dramatically improve operations.
Herring says that instead of just squeezing expenses businesses should be enabling core employees to find ways to retain existing customers and generate new business by creating breakthroughs in service, cycle times, and quality. "No workforce is perfect," he explains. "All can find something that can be done better, more quickly, with fewer problems, etc. We're not talking about minor improvements though. We're talking about dramatic leaps in performance and results."
Asked why more companies choose cost cutting instead of a turnaround strategy, Herring explains that it's sometimes difficult to see possibilities for higher performance when everyone is already working as hard as they can. Cutting costs may appear to be the only option available. Many are not aware that today's turnarounds produce remarkably high performance in specific departments or work groups in just a few months. As an example, he cites the experience of a production laboratory that doubled its productivity and dramatically reduced quality problems in about three months by engaging employees in a turnaround process.
Herring believes that a recession provides an opportunity for organizations to focus on performance. When product demand is high, its all a team can do to keep up. But when demand slows, there is time to turn to other issues. Just like the advice to boost marketing when sales drop, it's also time to step up and improve the internal workings inside and between work groups. "When the pain is high, the motivation to improve is, too," says Herring. "It's a great time to rally core employees for breakthroughs."
Leaders interested in strategies for turning around work unit performance can contact Ascent Management Consulting at info(at)ascentmgt(dot)com or visit the Ascent Management Consulting website at http://www.ascentmgt.com.
About Kevin Herring
As a performance turnaround expert, consultant, and speaker, Kevin Herring has developed a reputation for optimizing the performance of the most difficult work units. In his 25 years of experience, Kevin Herring has helped businesses succeed by leading total organization transformations, transforming leadership, re-aligning staff groups to add real value, and reversing the performance of struggling work groups and business units.