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Effective Leadership for Software Turnarounds

Corporate turnarounds are complex and often intimidating to navigate, particularly for the uninitiated. To be successful, any attempt must start with having the right leaders in place. Indeed, prior studies reveal business failures are caused by poor leadership nearly 9 out of 10 times. As executive recruiters, we understand this reality and advise corporate boards, executive teams, and strategy consultants on change management.

Given the high stakes and peculiarities of managing a troubled company, we wished to share an executive recruiter’s perspective on effective leadership in a turnaround. While our paper addresses some commonalities across industries, we concentrate on the skill set of successful leaders at troubled software companies. The reach of the software industry is now immense -- $450-500B in annual revenues globally -- yet the complexities involved are fairly unique.


These realities, along with a scarcity of prior literature on effective software turnaround leadership, ignited our interest in exploring the topic in a two-part series: Part I (available here for download) examines the skills of the leaders themselves; Part II (forthcoming) will explore the different types of software turnarounds and the specific teams required to execute each.

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