Get Through a Turnaround by Talking

  • Share
  • Read Later

When a company is in crisis— facing bankruptcy or a disruptive competitor— it needs to act fast. But it’s also important to stop and speak with the people who are doing the day-to-day work of moving the organization in a new direction. Here’s how to use conversation to help orchestrate a successful turnaround:

  • Talk straight. Be honest and authentic, especially when it comes to sharing bad news or addressing difficult topics.
  • Make talk happen. Stressful times can cause people to keep to themselves. Promote interactivity and encourage debate. Forego one-way communication channels (like memos) and choose mediums that allow for back-and-forth discussion instead.
  • Let everyone talk. Include people at all levels in the conversation. This will increase engagement among those who must carry out the turnaround work.

Adapted from “Conversations Can Save Companies” by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind.

Visit Harvard Business Review’s Management Tip homepage

Purchase the HBR Management Tips book


Great advice. Conversation inclusion exists where leaders adopt measures that enable employees to participate fully in the communication process. By including people at all levels of a company in the organizational conversation, leaders can achieve a more intense quality of engagement among those who must carry out a turnaround project. :)