A Blueprint for CEOs to Build a Profitable Business

When you look at iconic CEOs including Jack Welch, Alan Mulally, Richard Branson, Steve Jobs, Lakshmi Niwas Mittal, Lou Gerstner, and A.G. Lafley, they crafted unconventional strategies and adopted unique leadership styles to turn around their organizations. Turning around a global organization is a herculean task especially if it is a huge organization. 

There is no tailormade blueprint to turn around it. It all depends on the size, type of sector, and industry the global organization operates. This article outlines an innovative blueprint to convert a loss-making global organization into a profitable one, and to serve as a guideline for busy CEOs. 

As a CEO, you must design your own strategy based on your previous experience and the type of sector or industry you entered. If required, craft your own vision and articulate it effectively with all stakeholders. You must build a successful collaborative team leveraging the strengths of senior leaders. 

Find out holes where the boat is leaking to close them quickly. Sell out unprofitable, and loss-making units to cut down the losses.  Break bureaucratic bottlenecks. Create collective accountability.  Take bold decisions to turn the tide. Communicate regularly with the stakeholders. Call regular meetings to review the stock of the situation. 

Take feedback to find out what worked and what did not work. Realign your strategies, if the outcome is not as per your expectations.  Bring emotional unity in employees by emphasizing organizational culture. 

Avoid laying off the employees as talent is rare to get in the present world. In extreme cases, remove the unproductive and inefficient employees who indulge in organizational politics.  Interact with all levels of management personally to understand their pulse and the ground realities. Change is always resisted by employees. 

Hence, communicate clearly that the status quo is more awkward than the status quo ante.  When you can express your right intentions effectively, and persuade your employees of your vision successfully; you will win the support of your employees, and you can lead effectively. 

Above all, have a laser focus approach.

“Half the leaders I have met don’t need to learn what to do. They need to learn what to stop.” ―Peter Drucker

Here are some CEOs and leaders who successfully turned around when the odds were stacked against them: 

Jack Welch adopted the Six Sigma quality program from Motorola and applied a forced ranking system that divided employees into three distinct segments: the top 20 percent of performers, the middle 70 percent, and the bottom 10 percent which is known as GE’s “20-70-10” system. He once remarked, “If the rate of change on the outside exceeds the rate of change on the inside, the end is near.”

Alan Mulally’s track record is the envy of every executive today globally.  When Alan arrived at Ford he instituted weekly Thursday morning meetings, known as the Business Plan Review, or BPR, with his sixteen top executives and the executive’s guests from around the world.  

Under his leadership, Ford survived the financial crisis without a bailout.  He took several measures to restructure Ford. He divested nonprofit-making vehicles and brought down labor costs. He shed brands—Jaguar, Land Rover, and Aston Martin.  He created ‘One Ford’ uniting everyone.

Steve Jobs had a high drive to achieve results. He pushed the boundaries and reinvented technology. He foresaw what others could not see. He was a visionary leader. His message to the world is people with passion can change the world. 

Hence, instead of being overly concerned about what you don’t have, focus on what you have and integrate all those elements to achieve amazing success in your life. He stands for passion, communication, and excellence. He was passionate about technology; knew how to articulate effectively to clients and customers; emphasized excellence. 

He stood by his passionate area of technology throughout his life despite being distracted.  He sold dreams to customers with his effective communication skills. He raised his bar constantly to stay ahead of time and technologies. 

He turned around Apple that was falling, and led from the front with his uniquely innovative and autocratic leadership style.

Although Singapore did not have natural resources, Lee Kuan Yew converted this island nation into a prosperous country in the world with the help of human resources. He was an ideal example who demonstrated to the world the power of human resources by leading under several constraints. 

It is often said that it is the bad tradesman who blames his tools, and it is the wise tradesman who works with what he has, and from where he was, to deliver his goods effectively. It is true in his case as he did not blame for the dearth of natural resources but worked with what he had with a great vision and passion. 

Globally people often talk about the power of human resources and human talent. Singapore can be compared with a global company and with a CEO of a global company who walked his talk throughout his life.

Final thoughts

CEOs must follow the following four strategies to turn around their global organizations: create strong, collaborative partnerships with customers, and sustain an intense focus on the marketplace; drive unique value and growth through innovation and offering value-added solutions rather than products; invest heavily in finding, keeping, and developing the best people, and keep them focused on furthering our core competencies; and leverage the skills and knowledge of those people through collaboration, communication, teamwork, and a strong sense of urgency.