One of my associates just referred me into a prospect in Asia.
His statement to me was "Good luck, its such a disaster that you won't know where to start."
The reply - easy, stop the bleeding...
In every engagement, every improvement initiative, every project and every implementation the first job is always to stop the bleeding and then evaluate the situation from there.
Stop the company from leaking revenues, costs, people - whatever. Plug the gaps, normalize the situation as rapidly as possible, even though it is only temporary, and then start to work on the rest of the problem.
Sounds easy, but often it isn't. The outgoing tide of revenue has uncovered lots of wrecked ships and hidden reefs. It is very easy to get just throw your hands up and wonder if there is any life in the job market.
Listen to your people, your clients, the news and blogs as well as your own intuition. If you can quickly get on top of the 5 burning issues then you can step back and proceed with confidence.
Okay, so maybe your clients office isn't an emergency room but there are crises - even if they are not life or company threatening.
There are too many people dealing with the urgent issues and not enough dealing with the important issues.
And there are always things that we accept as "the way we do business" that are leaking profits every day. (Telephone contracts is a classic for this by the way)
Deal with these - get results, get runs on the board, and then get moving on the really important stuff.