I’ve always been fascinated by “turnaround” stories where the underdog overcomes tremendous adversity. Bridge the Gap by Michael Rodenberg is such a story. Just a bit over 100 pages long, it is NOT written as a fable (as many business books are these days). It is the true accounting of how Rodenberg and his team transformed an abysmal manufacturing plant into an award-winning Best Manufacturing Plant to Work.
I doubt if I will be given the same opportunity to be the CEO of a manufacturing plant, but I CAN imagine a time where I might inherit a broken-down team – maybe at a manufacturing plant or at any other business. You’re the new sheriff in town and your boss is looking to you to turn it around. But people are wary, they don’t know you, they have been conditioned to put their heads down to survive.
Rodenberg provides his turnaround roadmap along with interesting stories and anecdotes:
Step 1: Survey the damage in the first 90 days. Face the brutal truth. Understand the company/team culture and engage your team.
Step 2: Repair the foundation by establishing the vision, defining what is mission-critical, and grow talent from within.
Step 3: Prepare for the future by looking outside of the plant/team, identifying future personnel needs, and establishing partnerships with others.
Part 4: Open the bridge by expecting greatness from people, giving them the tools they need to succeed, and then letting them run with the vision.
Sounds simple enough, but probably hard to do with the intentionality this book brings to the game. If you are being newly assigned to a broken-down team, or currently leading one, or even on the leadership team, you can use this as a roadmap to success.
KRISTIN ARNOLD, MBA, CPF | Master, CSP is a high-stakes meeting facilitator and professional panel moderator. She’s been facilitating teams of executives and managers in making better decisions and achieving greater results for over 27 years. She is the author of the award-winning book, Boring to Bravo: Proven Presentation Techniques to Engage, Involve and Inspire Audiences to Action. Her latest book, 123 Ways to Add Pizazz to a Panel Discussion was published in January 2021.
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