Hi All, My first post although I frequently listen to the podcasts.


I have accepted a position that will see me move from Operations Manager(retail) to Director of Operations (same company, different province).

-The area I am leaving was developed by me from scratch, and while not perfect, is successful by most definitions. 

-The area I am moving to is an operational disaster.  Huge losses,  and unprepared people promoted out of presumed necessity. 

I have just a little over 3 months to get reorganized (our fiscal Y.E. start Oct 1).  After this honeymoon period, I will be full accountable for the results (good or bad).


I was using search to find a podcast or thread that might be specific to a strategy matching this task.  Couldn't find one.  Can anyone help? or provide advice?  I am not looking for a silver bullet, just help with rudiments of performing a quality restructure on a deadline.  I am a High I manager with High D as subset.






RickMeasham's picture

G'day Travis,

Congratulations!  First for your promotion and secondly for being forum topic #5000!

You say the department you're leaving is successful by most definitions: That probably helped lead you to be promotion to an underperforming area of the business. Which means you could probably get a bit more slack given to you than you think.

But I'm with you: take it bull by the horns and turn it around as fast as you possibly can.

All the usual advice stands: O3s, Feedback, Coaching, Delegation. I don't think I'd ramp up the implementation speed too much though. Just use the tools as they become available to do what you need to get done.

Here's my One Big Idea to move a team quickly: Let them move it.

They know they're underperforming. They know you know and they know that this, right now, is the best time to fix it. Each member of the team will either be with you or wont. And they know this.

1. Let them know you know that they know.

2. Ask them individually to get you "up to speed". They have one week to write their own succession plan. If they were hit by a bus, what does their replacement need to do to exactly replicate their job.

3. Ask them to also outline what they believe they do that provides little or no benefit. Ask them to outline what they would be doing if they weren't doing those things.

4. Ask them what the department does that it shouldn't be, and what it doesn't do that it should be doing.

These people know the department and they know what's wrong. They can turn it around all by themselves, they just need someone to give them the leadership, space, and permission.

Anyone that isn't interested in fixing things needs to either be turned around or sidelined until you have a good grasp on things. Personally I'd tell them that when they express their disinterest. "Steve, thanks for sharing that. Right now I have three months to turn this place around. I want you to help me. But if you don't think you can take a lead in that, then I'm going to give you specific tasks that you need to complete. First is your succession plan." (It probably goes without saying that if Steve becomes obstructive, you then have a useful succession plan .. )

I've turned around a department in a short time, but it was one I worked in for a few years. All the same, I discussed what needed changing with each member of the team before outlining my plan for change. The change has been hugely successful and totally embraced by the team.

Rick Measham

Read my blog: Geek Herding - Explorations in the art of leading IT professionals

travismosbaugh's picture

Good advice, thank you for your time.