turnaround management

Are You Ready to Succeed? Mindfulness Training for Professionals

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I have the easiest job in the world. Perhaps “easy” is not the right word. After all, my work involves constant travel, detailed analysis, crushing deadlines, and enough pressure to make a pair of diamond stud earrings. But it’s still easy, in that I wouldn’t have it any other way. I shudder to think what […]

The Checklist Manifesto for Business

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The Checklist Manifesto for Business What do Harvard Medical School, The New Yorker and middle market business have in common? Usually very little, but courtesy of a remarkable book by a public health authority, I can make a meaningful connection that you will find profitable. The book is The Checklist Manifesto-How to Get Things Right […]

What “Undercover Boss” Gets Wrong

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Reality TV and business doesn’t seem to be a good fit. The staged nature of the interactions—I am thinking of CNBC’s The Profit—are no more likeable than when non-business contestants are naked and on a beach. There are exceptions. A great show that touches on business is Mike Rowe’s Dirty Jobs, which is now shown […]

Taking Control Amid Municipal Corruption: A Discussion with Harry Spence

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A couple of months ago, I got an email from Benton Harbor, Mich. It reported on the local strife following the appointment of a super-powerful municipal administrator under a new Michigan law. “Do you do this?” my correspondent asked. “Any comment?” And I replied that the only person I would trust to comment was someone […]

The Turnaround Assessment Test

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In 1968, Edward I. Altman formulated a simple, path-breaking scoring mechanism that could predict, with high confidence, the probability that any one corporation would enter bankruptcy within two years. He called the mechanism the Z score and, by publishing in academic journals, allowed it to enter the public domain. It has been, for many years, one of the most-studied […]

The Guaranteed Middle Market Employment Stimulus Plan

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Further stimulus of the economy is required. The 9.2% national unemployment rate, leaving 14 million able workers at home, demands it. But there is no appetite to revive the Obama administration’s fiscal stimulus, which apparently intended to give states block grants to keep doing what they were doing, or to provide nimble political ear-markers with […]

What it Really Takes to Turn a Business Around

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I have been doing turnarounds for over twenty five years, and along the way, I’ve accumulated certain prejudices about what types of businesses are easiest to fix. Wholesale distribution and retail/restaurant chains are among my favorites, because there are usually enough profitable parts of the business — a core product or very profitable locations — […]

Sales and Power

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My wife has a book on her office shelf called Sex and Power. Big disappointment. No sex in it. On sales, I do have some hot advice — the best advice. And that is: Sell. Sell. Sell. Not your business; your product. I am always surprised at the number of very sophisticated executives who think […]

How to Manufacture a Debt Crisis

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In my career I’ve been involved with the rehabilitation and rescue of everything from corner restaurants to whole governments.  In fact, at one point I was managing a debt renegotiation for $32 billion in sovereign credit.   This category of potential clientele is the most interesting, given their size as well as the social and […]