Turnarounds are a very common situation that statically 30% of the listed companies on the NYSE run into within ten years. The research led by Christoph Lymbersky of turnaround cases suggests that a lot turnarounds are done in house by the companies themselves, few have professional turnaround help. It seems that these companies follow a rather unstructured approach to overcome their problems and to being able to achieve a successful sustainable turnaround . This is backed up by the Administrative Office of the U.S. courts that states that only one out of eight cases that file for Chapter 11 have achieved to reorganized themselves successfully. – here it is left open what is defined a successful turnaround – Only about one-third of these firms continued in operation two years after their chapter proceedings closed.

Until now there has been no real method or standard of how to conduct a turnaround. Also most turnarounds fail and if they successed then about 80% go back into a company wide crisis situation within 5 years. Hence, there is room for improvement. Throughout our studies of turnaround management we have recognized that most turnarounds are focused on specific areas, that symptoms rather than causes are treated and that, turnarounds are done by experts from specific areas such as purely financial experts or legal experts.

In our research we have not encountered a standard structured way of turning a company around. We know that some turnaround firms have their own loose “guidelines” on how to do a turnaround. Also, a few authors have published books about something that outlines different strategies and stages of a turnaround process (especially C.B. Bibeault, Slater & Lovett), but nothing comes close to being as comprehensive universal and applicable as the ITMS (International Turnaround Management Standard). We have not found substantial evidence of Change-Management and Project Management techniques applied to turnaround management in such a structured way as in the ITMS. Or at least there has not been a focus on it.

But, the ITMS is not only about project management and turnarounds, it furthermore includes financial restructuring techniques, strategic & operational strategies, marketing aspects, crisis communication aspects with stakeholders (to maximize the support and minimize bad press) and internally, controlling, quality control processes, of the turnaround itself, risk management, etc., etc.Imagine you are the CEO of a troubled company or a turnaround manager. The ITMS will be a framework that is divided into different stages, in which you can easily find the situation that your company is in. Let’s say you have products that don’t sell well, you are in a certain competitive environment with few global players that practically own the market, and you have financial difficulties. You will find your situation in the ITMS and the ITMS will tell you proven, through our examination of more then 150 case studies, strategies out of that situation (if there is a way out).

The International Turnaround Management Standard™ (TIMS) is a method and guided way to achieve a sustainable turnaround. The ITMS includes all possible aspects and business areas that need to be analyzed and considered when restructuring a company:

Financial Strategies
Strategic- & Operational Strategies
HR Aspects
Crisis Communication Management
Project Management Techniques and Methods
Change Management
Controlling and Management of Risk
Marketing Aspects
Quality Control processes
Process Improvements

The standard, furthermore serves the turnaround management team as a guideline of what they need to do at what time, how to do it and who you need to provide information too and what other aspects you need to take care of.

In a nutshell: The ITMS targets all the major problems why companies fail in turnarounds; insufficient support of shareholders and lenders, non-comprehensive turnarounds (with other words things where simply overseen, or not regarded as important), targeting of symptoms rather than issues, unstructured approaches to turnarounds, etc.