Tuesday, November 15, 1988
Most companies don't call Charlie Bahr until they're in trouble - big trouble.
The personable, fast-talking C. Charles Bahr is president of Bahr International Inc., a Dallas-based turnaround company that has assisted more than 100 troubled firms.
Bahr says he has more than enough failing companies to keep him and his associates busy. And, like any good physician, he believes in a little preventive medicine.
So much so, that he has developed his own "seven deadly sins" of bad management: clues that what is happening isn't healthy.
"I've developed a really good skill," Bahr says, "at smelling a bad situation. I call it calibrated intuition."
Here are the seven sins Bahr says add up to a sick situation. And he notes that they are not failures to understand sales, marketing or finance. Rather, he says, they are "greed and human frailty carried beyond a reasonable level."
Bahr urges executives who see their companies headed in the wrong direction to act quickly. "When there's smoke, there's probably fire."
When Bahr does get called in, he does a two-week assessment to find out "whether the company can and should be helped, who should do it and what it's going to take."
If the problem is general management, Bahr or one of his associates is likely to step in and operate the company themselves until a turnaround is achieved. If it requires a specialist in a particular field, they'll recommend someone.
"In some cases," says Bahr, "the company is not as sick as it thought, and the managers in place can fix it." But sometimes, "I say, 'Sorry, guys, it's too late.' "
Staff writer Diana Kunde reports on management trends for The Dallas Morning News.
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