Turnaround workshops

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Our turnaround workshops set the platform and framework for successful turnaround action.

Who benefits from turnaround workshops?

Establishing a turnaround foundation and framework

Underperforming and distressed businesses that realise the need for turnaround action benefit from turnaround workshops in two ways.

"Kick-starting the turnaround."

Firstly, to focus the leadership team's attention on the severity of the situation and the need for kick-starting appropriate turnaround action including a more in-depth Diagnostic Review of the business.

"Part of an independent business review."

Alternatively, or in addition to kick-starting the turnaround, to serve as the culmination of an independent business review by CRS Turnaround determining short-term survivability, longer-term viability and a turnaround strategy.

Re-orientating a turnaround

"Already in a turnaround, but needing reorientation."

Many troubled companies that have already embarked on a turnaround programme may find that results and progress are not as expected.


"Turnaround checks and balances."

A turnaround workshop introduces state-of-the art concepts and checks and balances serving as reference points to evaluate turnaround work done to date and future turnaround plans.

"Reframing turnaround strategy."

The turnaround workshop serves to reframe the turnaround strategy, and provides focus for renewed alignment around the turnaround objectives and plan.

In such circumstances, the turnaround workshop may form part of our turnaround coaching services.

Turnaround workshops are different to strategy workshops

A turnaround workshop has a different focus and content

"A turnaround workshop is a special form of a strategy workshop."

While taking the form and shape of a strategy workshop, a turnaround workshop has a different emphasis.

Underperforming and especially distressed companies face financial issues of a profitability, solvency or cash flow nature that companies normally don't need to address in their strategy workshops.

The worse the financial situation, the less the degrees of freedom available to making strategy.

Whereas strategy is about "climbing the mountain", turnaround strategy is about "climbing out of the hole" first before "climbing the mountain" thereafter.  

Turnaround strategy therefore needs an additional focus on short-term survivability, emergency management and returning to normality apart from any longer term vision and mission.

Accordingly, more emphasis is placed on identifying causes of decline and distress and how to reverse them.

Lastly, turnaround strategy requires a higher reliance on retaining or regaining the support of stakeholders than generic strategy.

A turnaround workshop is more directive

"The integrity of turnaround management principles must remain intact."

Whereas a conventional strategy workshop is facilitated to reach focus and consensus about the future, a turnaround workshop is facilitated by an experienced turnaround practitioner directing the group towards an understanding of their situation and acceptance of the hard options they may face.

The turnaround workshop facilitator, armed with solid practical turnaround knowledge and experience, plays a much more challenging and coaching role compared to the conventional strategy workshop role to ensure that the integrity of turnaround management principles remain intact irrespective of client views. 

The final decisions, however, of course rest with the client.

See strategy workshops on the Corporate Renewal Solutions web site if you are interested in generic strategy workshops.

Turnaround workshop preparation

A turnaround workshop provides the most value if the facilitator conducts a pre-assessment of the client's turnaround situation.

This provides for the best planning and structuring of the workshop agenda, as well as ensuring that the workshop has reliable and credible data to process, and models to populate, rather than merely debating issues.

Preparation for a basic turnaround workshop typically takes at least two days and takes the form of focus interviews and financial analysis.

Additionally, to add more value and to save on workshop costs, it is advisable for the client to conduct certain basic preparation and analysis.

A turnaround workshop forms an integral part of the Diagnostic Review, CRS Turnaround'ss flagship turnaround assessment service offering.

Standalone turnaround workshops don't benefit from the amount of analysis conducted during a Diagnostic Review, but can be followed by shortened Diagnostic Review to validate and to address what has been uncovered more comprehensively.

Typical turnaround workshop programme

The turnaround workshop programme alternates between technical turnaround lectures and group exercises devising turnaround strategy.

Setting the scene

Opening and introductions, workshop objectives, agenda review, expectations exchange, ground rules.

Lecture: Stages in a turnaround

Recognising the need, turnaround situation assessment, emergency management, restructuring and recovery.

Group exercise: Financial turnaround situation assessment

  • Z-Score assessment - trend in and degree of corporate health (based on pre-workshop work)
  • Determining short-term survivability,
  • Actions to manage, generate and conserve cash.

Lecture: Turnaround viability assessment

  • Qualitative turnaround viability assessment - can the underlying causes of distress can be reversed, can the financial crisis, internal constraints and unfavourable industry characteristics be overcome, is it possible for a rapid increase in financial performance to be achieved, and for stakeholder support to be retained or regained?
  • Quantitative turnaround viability assessment (based on pre-workshop analysis).
  • Turnaround options.

Group exercise: Turnaround situation assessment

  • PESTLE analysis to determine industry driving forces.
  • Competitor analysis.
  • Market analysis including market targeting.
  • Portfolio analysis.
  • Internal assessment, including Positioning and customer value proposition.
  • SWOT analysis inclusive of financial situation, stakeholder support and internal / external constraints.
  • Causes of decline / distress.

Lecture: Turnaround strategy

  • Turnaround strategy components:
    • The enablers - turnaround leadership, stakeholder management and project management.
    • Stabilising, funding and fixing the business.
  • Generic turnaround strategies - revenue enhancement, cutback action - cost reduction and asset reduction, reorganisation and strategic repositioning.
  • Turnaround phasing.

Group exercise: Strategy to climb out of the hole

  • Defining the depth of the hole and short-term financial and other objectives to get of the hole.
  • Strategy to stabilise the business.
  • Restructuring plans in financial, strategic, organisational and operational terms.

Group exercise: Defining the top of the mountain

  • Vision - stated in terms of a BHAG or Big Hairy Audacious Goal and a vivid descriptions thereof.
  • Core purpose guiding the vision and core values guiding behaviour.
  • Mission - describing the business domain or business boundaries.
  • Competitive strategy - lowest cost, product leadership, complete customer solutions or customer lock-in.
  • Customer value proposition.
  • Gap analysis.

Group exercise: Turnaround strategy to climb the mountain

  • Turnaround strategy themes - turnaround leadership, stakeholder management, project management, funding and fixing the business.
  • Turnaround strategy objectives in financial, customer, internal, and learning and growth perspectives.
  • Measures, initiatives, targets, accountabilities.
  • Implementation prioritisation.


  • Summary of decisions.
  • Next steps.
  • Workshop evaluation (Plus / Delta).

Workshop duration

The typical comprehensive turnaround workshop programme spans 2 - 3 days.

Alternative, an orientation-focussed turnaround workshop takes a day or two days.

See strategy workshops for on the web site of Corporate Renewal Solutions for conventional generic strategy workshops.

What happens after the turnaround workshop?

CRS Turnaround not only provides the client with a summary of the turnaround workshop proceedings, but also with both an independent view of its turnaround situation and recommended future turnaround action.

To be realistic, a turnaround workshop seldom provides the answer to the full turnaround programme.

The value of a turnaround workshop lies not so much in describing the detailed journey and the destination, but in identifying the gray areas in the roadmap that requires validation or closer scrutiny.

The turnaround workshop is therefor often followed by a more complete turnaround situation assessment on an informed basis to help clients devise a comprehensive turnaround strategy..

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A turnaround strategy workshops is an indispensable methodology in achieving alignment and insight with regard to a turnaround situation and remedial action options.