Going Downhill Doesn’t Get Smoother, It Gets Faster

Going downhill, can it not be smooth?

When director Xu Zheng’s Shanghainese film “Love Mythology” was released at the beginning of the year, people might not have thought that Shanghai would become the focus of the world in another way this year. The line spoken by Ma Yili in the movie even became prophetic: “Going downhill, can it not be smooth?” It seems to have become a true portrayal of the current situation of many Shanghai companies.

In fact, the real downhill road is not getting smoother as you go, but getting faster. If you don’t stop, you will fall sooner or later. Going downhill has acceleration.

Therefore, if a company is going downhill, it must find a way to stop. Morale is most important in times of difficulty. The most feared thing is that the company is filled with a “sinking ship” feeling. Everyone knows that the ship is going to sink, but everyone tacitly avoids this topic. Faced with such a situation, the company’s senior management must act immediately to reshape its mission, inject fresh blood, and even start over in order to turn things around.

But if the company does not act decisively when there is a “sinking ship” feeling, the downhill road that follows will have acceleration. Frankly speaking, it is difficult to treat at this time. It takes more than one cold day to freeze three feet of ice. At this time, the company’s employees already know that the ship is going to sink and everyone is thinking about their own interests. Some are writing resumes, some are going out for interviews, and some are even grabbing the last few benefits. At this time, internal improvement is no longer effective. Even if the company’s senior management temporarily changes some practices, everyone will not believe it and it will be difficult to change employees’ expectations of senior management. And the negative results will bring negative emotions to senior managers and cause everyone in the company to be self-defensive and silent. In plain terms, the leadership of senior management has been lost.

At this time, the only way is to change coaches. Without thunderstorms and lightning strikes, it is difficult to shake up and down the company. However, most companies are very entangled in changing coaches. On the one hand, companies with poor performance never lack internal strife. The original management will not sit still and will always toss out some things. On the other hand, someone on the board of directors will also stand up and sing against it. Changing coaches often means that the board of directors also needs to be reorganized, which obviously harms the interests of some directors.

Objectively speaking, changing coaches is like a gamble. When Apple was in turmoil back then, they invited Jobs back and as a result they were reborn from the ashes. But when Yahoo was in decline, they also followed suit and invited Jerry Yang back but still couldn’t support it.

Changing coaches is certainly painful. But you have to know that going downhill has acceleration and you will definitely fall if you keep going.

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