The lessons from SmartStream Technologies turnaroundBefore being appointed as a CEO, Haytham got involved as a board member and this was a critical step for him because it allowed him to see the potential of the organization and how to make changes. In fact, in just six months after becoming the CEO, he brought the company out of the real and regional profitability. Not just that. Haytham had supportive shareholders who believed in his capabilities and skills and overall allowed him to achieve:
- Higher margins
- Higher revenues
- Growth opportunities for his team
- Better technological advancements within their services
It starts from the cultureHaving both a reliable team along with shareholders’ trust are two important parts in a successful turnaround but you can’t get great results without touching your company’s culture. Indeed, culture must be changed if you want to make a successful turnaround. Haytham did realize this was necessary and he empowered and involved people in the change. Here’s what he recommends:
- Create a forum where employees feel safe to express their ideas
- Build an open-door policy with your people. This will show them that if the leader is accessible then everyone else should be too.
- Create an environment where people love what they do and want to keep driving the organization forward.
ResistanceBut when it comes to making massive changes in the organization, here’s when resistance kicks in. It is within human nature to resist change. As a leader, you can no longer use the mindset of ‘survival of the fittest. In today’s times, you will need to realign your thoughts to ‘survival of the most adaptable to change’. “If we stay where we are, we will never grow” Give people the space and safety they need to experiment, try new things, make mistakes. If you build a culture that is based on “no repercussions” on people even when they fail, your employees will look for opportunities to be creative and build innovation for your business. The fear of failure should not determine whether or not you keep pushing forward. “We are not afraid of failing, it happens so we can learn”
Get your clients involvedDuring these macro changes, some organizations shut the doors to the external world. They spend weeks or months building a new strategy, team, and marketing proposition. Actually, if you involve your clients as Haytham did, the results are much better. SmartStream put the clients at the core of their turnaround strategy. They spend time hearing their thoughts, expectations and suggestions. Besides, they offered well-tested solutions that gave them peace of mind and reinforced their leadership in the marketplace. But SmartStream had another challenge. The company operates in a conservative market such as banking. Haytham realized something very critical to deal with this issue. He found there are two types of people within an organization: the visionaries, and the pragmatists: – Visionaries work on a longer-term (between a 5 and 10-year horizon) with the intention of having an effect on the outcome that will happen slowly and over this period of time. But this comes at a cost of delayed return on investment. – The pragmatists will spend money today on something that will have its benefits within the next 5 years. There should always be a balance between the two. This can be done by deciding which one of these goals is more important to your organization at the time. The message here is loud and strong. Know your customers inside-out. “It simply is not easy to turn a battleship, everything has to be done in a measured way.”
The turnaround and the hybrid work (that keeps its doors open)Can hybrid work hurt a company during change? With modern technology, there is no excuse to not be accessible. For Haytham, it is as simple as pressing a button and meeting with someone, who might even be on the other side of the world – time zone allowing. You can encourage a 20-30% increase in their capabilities within the workplace just by creating accessibility. There should also be more room for increasing experiments and when they do not work you should learn to take the knock but get back up. Here are some tips on enabling your teams to become more successful working remotely:
- Cascadia workshops – which is essentially the balance between money and life. Finding a balance is key to your effectiveness and overall performance.
- Have reasonable expectations for your team members when working with different time zones.
- You need to respect people’s time, family occasions, personal appointments because they will feel more engaged and appreciated.
To connect with Haytham Kaddoura, you can connect with him on Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/haytham/
Find out more about SmartStream Technologies: https://www.smartstream-stp.comTo listen to the full podcast click here 013: How to Lead a Company Turnaround to Success with Haytham Kaddoura – Andrea Petrone If you want to receive our weekly insights via email, subscribe today at: https://www.andreapetrone.com/insight/