Turnaround stages

Stages in the CRS Turnaround turnaround management model

Turnaround stages diagram

Turnaround stages

View the turnaround stages diagram



Turnaround situation assessment

Once the need for a turnaround has been recognised, the first stage after triggering the turnaround is turnaround situation assessment to determine:

  • Short-term survivability.
  • Longer-term viability.
  • Turnaround strategy.
  • A high-level turnaround plan.

Emergency management

If a business case exists, the next stage is emergency management.

The objectives of emergency management are:


The turnaround restructuring stage involves the implementation of the turnaround plan devised during turnaround situation assessment and refined during the emergency management stage.

Turnaround restructuring takes the form of:


Lastly, turnaround recovery entails embedding these changes, and managing the business during its return to normality.

The recovery stage involves the embedding and monitoring of the turnaround plan, and managing the business during its return to normality.

Turnaround recovery is characterised by:

  • An increased emphasis on profits in addition to the earlier emphasis on cash flow.
  • Operational efficiency improvements.
  • Building the organisation.

Typically, this is when the turnaround leader passes on the baton to someone new to head the stabilised and restructured company as it returns to normal.

The turnaround is completed when the company has returned to normal on a sustainable basis. 

What happened to changing the management?

In contrast to the TMA model (see below), we regard changing the management not as a stage, but as a component of the turnaround plan (see turnaround leadership).

Management changes may take place prior to turnaround situation assessment, or as part of restructuring, or not at all.

Our turnaround model demonstrates how the components of the turnaround plan are positioned during the different stages of a turnaround.

Turnaround stages are paralinear

The stages in a turnaround are paralinear i.e. although a linear progression is evident, some may exist in parallel.

In practice it is useful to think of the individual turnaround plan components, rather than the turnaround as a whole, going through natural stages. 

For instance, certain restructuring activities such as management changes may already commence during emergency management or before. 

Emergency management and turnaround plan refinement normally run concurrently.

Also, in severe crisis situations, emergency management may take place simultaneously with turnaround situation assessment. 

CRS Turnaround's turnaround consulting services to help underperforming and distressed companies were designed to be synchronised with the turnaround stages as defined above.  

How long does a turnaround take?

The complete turnaround process, from stabilisation to recovery, is seldom completed within one year.  It normally takes 18 months to 3 years for a turnaround to be embedded.

Further perspectives of turnaround stages

The classic view of turnaround stages

Traditionally, a turnaround has been viewed as consisting of 3 stages:

  • Stage 1: Turnaround situation assessment.
  • Stage 2: Stopping the bleeding.
  • Stage 3: Renewal, revitalisation, resuscitation, rehabilitation

The classic view still holds true, but has been refined.

View of the TMA on turnaround stages

The Turnaround Management Association - Southern Africa defines 5 stages in a turnaround:

  • Changing the management.
  • Analising the situation.
  • Implementing an emergency action plan.
  • Restructuring the business.
  • Returning to normal.

Turnaround time flow chart (Neil Harvey)

Turnaround time flow chart

View how turaround stages overlap each other.


The diagram illustrates the successive stages of situational analysis, stabilisation activity, recovery plan development and rehabilitation.

These steps in crisis management and sooner or later go over into turnaround mode.

Stakeholder management takes place right through.

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Another view on turnaround stages

Turnaround Management in Emerging Economies: Lessons from South East Asia (45k)



Any turnaround follows the progression through the natural stages of a turnaround.