One of my friends just took over a new team and found… far more of a situation than she was expecting. She faced a choice: commit to the turnaround, or switch to something that seems like a better bet.
Of course, I advocated for the turnaround. Struggling teams are places of opportunity, both for leaders and other team members, to demonstrate dramatic improvement and impact.
But we shouldn’t gloss over the very real risk that the team will not improve and ultimately be disbanded, presenting a career risk for everyone involved. (Nor should we gloss over the fact that bias and inequity means certain portions of society are much more able to take career risks than others.)
Turnarounds mean the hard work of change management, which is a daunting task. I previously wrote about the first questions to ask when your team is struggling, but what do you need to do even before that to answer the question: Should I take this on?