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Leighton talks bollox...................again!!!!

21 Mar 2007, 13:38

FT REPORT - BUSINESS TURNROUNDS: Rock 'n' roll is just hitting the right notes

By Allan Leighton, chairman of Royal Mail and Bhs, Financial Times
Published: Mar 19, 2007

Every great failure was once a great success. That is why turnrounds have to take place.

At any one stage probably 20 per cent of all the businesses in the UK are facing some sort of turnround, ranging from the drastic through to the necessary, because the competition has changed.

If you look at J Sainsbury, if you look at Asda, if you look at Marks and Spencer, they were all once a great success, then they were a failure, so they had to get back again.

A lot of business turnround is all about getting back to the future. The best place to start is to look at why companies were successful in the first place. Often they had a formula and people veered off of it.

Companies have intrinsic values that make them successful. Companies get momentum because what they offer the customer is good.

The people who are running the company are confident because what the company is offering is good, therefore they make more confident decisions, therefore the offer gets better.

Justin King to a degree is doing that at Sainsbury and Stuart Rose is doing that at M&S.

To a degree at Royal Mail that is what we are trying to do. What we do, simply put, is we collect mail, we sort mail and deliver it, and we do a little retail in the Post Offices. You must take the ingredients of that and instill it with modernity.

You have to listen to the rhythm of a company. Go and talk to your customers and ask what is good and what is not so good about the business.

Even more importantly, you should go to the people who have been in the business for a long time.

One of my rules is to first talk to the operators in the business because they know best. The further you are up the organisation, the further you move away from the pit face, where you find the people who know all the problems.

The operators are people at the pit face who have wanted to change things but haven't been able to do so.

You need to ask the operators what is good and what isn't. You need to ask how the business can make their lives easier. You generally get some fairly blunt feedback.

I always look at the morale and attitude surveys at the same time as the profit and loss account because I believe if you improve the morale of the operators they will do a better job.

In Royal Mail we had changed the shoes and people's feet got wet and people complained that the bags let the water in. Changing those things again improved morale.

You have also got to have a 100-day plan because the first 100 days are vital. The first 100 days set the tone of the turnround and the criteria of how it is going to happen. If you don't get the first 100 days right, it doesn't work out as well.

The other thing to remember about a turnround is that they take time. You can make some quick fixes but it takes three years to get some real embedded change to the culture of the company.

Culture is the way you turn things around, but the thing about culture is it is a third what you inherit, a third what you bring and a third pot luck, which is why it is so difficult to tell people what to do.

Overall I think there are three key ingredients to a successful turnround - simplicity, pace and rock 'n' roll.

First, you need to keep it simple. You have to ask yourself what is the focus of the business. Make it easy for people to do their job well and make it easy for customers to buy your product.

Most businesses that go wrong, go wrong because they had a very simple idea and it gets complicated.

The second thing is pace. You have to have pace or you will get overtaken by events.

Generally I go in and everybody thinks they are working incredibly hard, which they are, but they are working incredibly hard at the wrong things.

If you simplify people's jobs, they have time to spend on other things. That is what engineers the pace.

The third bit of business turnround I call rock 'n' roll.

You have got a compass to tell you the direction you are heading in and you have a few route maps to help you along the way, but things will start to go wrong. That is when you rock 'n' roll, saying that didn't work well so we'll do this.

You need to rock 'n' roll because a third of the stuff that happens to you you haven't really thought about, but you have to deal with. The key is not to get ambushed by events. You have to rock 'n' roll in order to maintain the pace.

I think we in Britain are pretty good at business turnrounds, actually. There is a greater need for turnround these days because there are more companies and there is more competition. If you have these two things, there will be more companies that go wrong.

21 Mar 2007, 15:08

In Royal Mail we had changed the shoes and people's feet got wet and people complained that the bags let the water in. Changing those things again improved morale.

so who asked for the plasma tv's???

21 Mar 2007, 15:27

I got bored reading it. Mind you I read and write english not management speak. Blair could have written this.


21 Mar 2007, 15:56

"ROCK N ROLL, N NEW SHOES." THEN THE BIT THAT CRACKED ME UP AND NO DOUBT MOST? " LISTEN TO THE CUSTOMERS, BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY "YOU SHOULD GO TO THE PEOPLE WHO HAVE BEEN IN THE BUSINESS FOR A LONG TIME." :crazy: THEN,,,, "ONE OF MY RULES IS TO TALK TO THE OPERATORS IN THE BUSINESS BECAUSE THEY KNOW BEST" :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: :crazy: HAHAHAHAHAHAHA! When did ANY time in your working life with RM under Big AL have anyone REALLY LISTENED AND DONE s**t ABOUT IT?????? :roll: ME never :no no Dont bullshit anymore AL and worse still dont try to hood wink the public coz they might not know much of the dodgy goings on in RM but they dont trust you!! Whether that makes a difference anymore to any one is there to be seen?? RM just steam roll on in there own fashion anyway, BOLLOCKS TO THE PUBLIC AND BOLLOCKS TO THE " OPERATORS WHO ARE AT THE PIT FACE WHO HAVE WANTED TO CHANGE THINGS BUT HAVEN'T BEEN ABLE TO DO SO." Unless this means, reading between the lines, That you will listen to people that you want to, as in RM Management who want to save there own sorry arse's with crap un thought out ways to become the blue eyed girl/boy and lick as much arse as possible!! Then i agree with you, that you have done this in buckets and spades..

I hope one of your underlings report back to you all the points on this site and you listen to all our points as you say!!! But i very much doubt you will????? :no no :no no :no no



ps you can do anything but dont you change my blue suede shoes BIG AL... (ROCK N ROLL KING)

21 Mar 2007, 16:55

I new it, I new it, I new that f***er Leighton was on drugs, LISTEN TO THE WORKERS, SPOT ON TOMMO :Applause

On drugs ?

21 Mar 2007, 19:17

Nah. But Big Al has obviously been inspired by the works of that literary genius, Eric Cantona :Very Happy

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