The notion of improving a company’s performance, changing it to the good without doing away with what’s already good is probably the most delicate balancing act an executive or a team can participate in. 

The business school image of arriving at an enterprise you’ve taken over all guns blazing and summarily firing people in the elevator and snapping your fingers - business doesn’t work that way at all.   

When we take over an enterprise, our hope is that we’ll spend a significant amount of time doing nothing more than listening and learning and finding out where we think the value exists, understanding the culture. 

In certain instances you don’t have that luxury. Certain companies we’ve taken over have been very troubled and we’ve had to dive right in and start making decisions.  Even in those circumstances, we took great pains to not to throw the baby out with the bathwater.  

In Their Own Words is recorded in Big Think's studio.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock