Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Comebacks that Last

Here’s your heads-up on a new conference coming up Feb. 3 from the innovative minds at Rotman, the University of Toronto’s business school.

“REBOUND: STAGING A COMEBACK THAT LASTS” will look at great comebacks in the worlds of business, arts, media and sports.

I have always believed you can learn more from turnarounds than from unalloyed success stories. “Comebacks” allow you to study much more typical, flawed organizations. You see how they reassessed their situation and their strategy, and learn how they built things back up again. It’s much more relevant to most organizations than simply, “We had a good idea and a good team and things took off.”

(BTW, the best business comeback story I ever heard was from a non-profit organization. Elyse Allan, now president of GE Canada, does a wonderful presentation on how she had to turn things around under pressure soon after becoming president of the Toronto Board of Trade. She had to lop operations, change the culture, even sell the art on the walls. It’s an inspiring story you should ask her about sometime.)

She’s not on the roster at Rotman on Feb. 3, but McDonald’s, TD Bank, Canadian Tire and Maclean’s Magazine are. As well as Bob Young, owner of the Hamilton Tiger-Cats, and presenters from the Royal Ontario Museum and the Art Gallery of Ontario.

Learn what it takes “to face up to the unique challenges of a turnaround situation and craft a new strategy for lasting success.”

You can get more details or register at

In case you can’t make it, I will try to get down there for at least Friday morning and report back.

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