Sagging sales in key markets. Two failed CEOs in a row. Horrible employee morale and a class-action, racial-discrimination case.
Those are just some of the problems that plagued Atlanta’s most famous company long before the current financial crisis.
How companies like Coca-Cola overcame tough times can offer key lessons to others going through them now.
I talked with Neville Isdell, who is credited with straightening out the mess that was Coke, on the day last month when he gave up his position as chairman of the board to return to retirement in Barbados.
What did he do that worked?
Three actions, in particular, helped turn around the company.
For starters, Isdell did something revolutionary. He listened.
Publicly, Isdell kept his mouth shut for three months when he first got the top job five years ago, so he could travel the globe listening to employees, managers, bottlers and retailers. Coke operates in more than 200 countries.
“You can’t sit in the
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