Fiat’s recent announcement of a 10% jump in revenue and a threefold increase in profits in 2010 is an impressive continuation of the turnaround led by CEO Sergio Marchionne. It was 2004 when Fiat, on the verge of bankruptcy, finally gave up on their traditional practice of family members and friend trying to run the company and hired outsider and highly-regarded Marchionne to run the company.
Fiat is a classic example of one of the most common mistakes that managers make; putting or leaving people in the job who you know are not going to provide the kind of exceptional performance you need. Sometimes it’s convenience, sometimes friendship, sometimes fear of losing the experience the person has, and sometimes it is just pure procrastination. Putting strong talent into the key jobs should be the number one priority when you are pursuing change.
Another big mistake that gets made over and over is to assign the task of implementing a new strategy to your current staff in the current organizational form. I can almost guarantee that you will get less than optimal results. Why? Because the status quo, the current responsibilities and current way things are done, will typically get first priority. That’s human nature.
The lesson is very clear: staff to win!