In my view, Peter needs to be the decision-maker, calling the shots on the direction and time line. If Peter is successful it is true that some people will lose their jobs, but if the company goes under everybody will suffer. But while Peter needs to set the direction, it is important that he involves people as much as possible and shows his support for the common cause of making the organization healthy again and saving people’s jobs as much as possible. Taking a servant leadership approach would take too long (losing money and time), while also being risky given the different stakeholders, each with their own interests. So, if I were Peter I would:
Arrange a weekend “out in the forest” with the Executive Management Team and their top lieutenants to discuss the challenging situation, verify the realities and potential solutions. This should lead to transparency, respect, involvement and a sense of urgency.
Agree on a high-level one year plan, including project organization and project manager. The project organization should have broad representation from various layers and stakeholder groups, with the project manager reporting directly to the Executive Management Team.
Support the project organization and be seen at all stakeholders group meetings, while sticking to strict time lines.
So, while Peter is asking people to embrace his mission, his is giving them room to participate and he is showing his deep involvement in the restructuring process as well.
Frank Smeekes, Managing Partner Europe, DHR International