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Establish a Process for Course Correction – Essential Element #8

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Course Correction – Essential Element 8

Adjusting for Unforeseen Challenges

Establish a Process for Course Correction – is the 8th of 8 articles based on:

“Profit Improvement Planning Blueprint: 8 Essential Elements for Underperforming or Distressed Companies” – Post dated Feb 24, 2024

Course Correction – Essential Element 8

Establish a Process for Course Correction –
Essential Element #8

Planning is not merely an event but a continuous process, demanding ongoing management and course correction.  Acknowledging this dynamic, instituting mechanisms to promptly address emerging issues, and fostering a culture where implementation teams openly identify and discuss challenges cultivates an environment where teamwork flourishes and problem-solving is embraced.

Change should be looked at as part of the journey instead of a negative event. 

More than 2500 years ago Heraclitus said “There is nothing permanent except change” and that expression still resonates today.  Prudent companies understand and plan for the unexpected to increase agility, mitigate risks and increase the likelihood of sustained success. 

Course Correction Need and Purpose

Implementing any profitability improvement or turnaround program involves careful planning, execution and management.  Yet at times, issues may be encountered, initial assumptions proven untrue, market conditions change, people changes are needed, etc. that require course correction and/or plan adjustment. It’s during these episodes that pre-establishing a course correction mindset and mechanism becomes invaluable. Think of this as a GPS system helping to adjust course for unexpected traffic conditions ahead and minimizing any delays to the arrival time.

Key Components and Uses

A course correction mechanism for a profitability improvement and turnaround plans should encompass several key components including:

1. Prioritize Communications w/ Implementation Teams:

As part of Essential Element #7 – Developing a Communication Approach and Strategy, conducting regular progress update meetings that includes discussion of significant issues/risks encountered or anticipated was strongly encouraged.  Management will benefit by making these meetings a priority and their active participation will underscore the importance of transparency and collaboration, fostering an environment where implementation teams are not only encouraged but expected to present challenges along with potential mitigating solutions for open discussion, refinement, and approval.

2. Monitor Established Implementation Metrics:

Creating a simple, color coded (green-yellow-red) implementation benefit recovery and schedule performance tracking system becomes useful to help to pro-actively identify issues and start course correction actions.

3. Quantitative and Qualitative Analyses:

Combining the power of data analytics with company tribal knowledge provides clarity of negative trends, patterns, or areas of concern. Leveraging both quantitative and qualitative analyses tend to deliver the most effective mitigating solutions with the highest likelihood of success.

4. Root Cause Analysis:

Conducting root cause analysis helps the organization understand underlying reasons for issues encountered. This involves investigating factors such as market conditions, operational inefficiencies, pricing strategies, or changes in customer behavior that may be impacting recovery of the desired benefits within the defined schedule.  It enables targeted interventions and effective resolution of challenges, ultimately paving the way for smoother implementation and improved outcomes.

5. Action Plans and Contingencies:

Key outputs of the above are updated plans that include additional contingencies.  The updates address the identified issues and outline specific steps to be taken to correct course, better allocate resources and mitigate risks to overall success.

6. Stakeholder Communications:

Ensure clear and transparent communication with stakeholders about the need for course correction, the reasons behind it, and the proposed action plans. This will foster continued support, improved confidence and ongoing collaboration from within this key support group.

A disciplined mechanism ultimately bolsters confidence, agility and ultimately success.


Many benefits result by having a course correction mechanism including:

  • Sub-projects are kept on schedule and produce the expected benefits.
  • Teamwork and collaboration is both encouraged and exhibited
  • Implementation teams feel both supported and empowered
  • A culture of continuous improvement is established
  • Improved solutions with enhanced benefits are typically realized

Bottom line, while having a disciplined and well-defined improvement plan is important, being able to adapt and make course corrections along the way is just as crucial for both timeliness and sustained financial success.

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* * Essential Element #8 Summary from Original Article * *

8. Establish a Process for Course Correction

Blueprint - Essentials for Profitability Planning - Continuum Group - Profitability Improvement Turnaround and Crisis Management Interim Leadership Fractional Leadership

Unforeseen events and outcomes are inevitable and the most successful organizations quickly recognize and adapt to such variability.  Establishing an early warning system to identify and address implementation issues enhances overall success and accelerates time-to-benefit.

Pro Tip: Integrate the implementation planning metrics to create a green–yellow–red tracking/warning system to monitor both implementation progress and delivery of the expected financial results.

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