Surviving a Reorganization in One Piece | TechWell

Surviving a Reorganization in One Piece

Back when I was an IT manager, my IT organization underwent a reorganization in which almost every department changed its name, its manager, or its reporting structure. A few changed all three. For weeks, everyone walked around in a state of chaos and confusion. But our situation was hardly unique; every reorganization entails a certain amount of turbulence.

Surviving a reorganization is rarely easy. A starting point may be to assume that unsettling change is inevitable and to imagine how you might cope with it. That way, when it happens, you’ll be at least somewhat prepared psychologically and emotionally.

It’s best to expect sudden, drastic moves, particularly during a merger, as senior management tries to fit the pieces together. At the same time, recognize that information you’re awaiting—and may need in order to assess your own future—may be a long time in coming.

If you’re in management and suspect a restructuring is in the works, consider preparing and presenting to your boss your own restructuring plan, one that addresses the issues the management team has been grappling with. Your boss might not acknowledge that anything is going on; still, your insights might give him or her some new perspectives.

Get your goals and performance measurement statistics up to date, especially those documented in your most recent performance review. This baseline of previously approved goals might help you articulate your efforts to a new manager who doesn’t understand your projects or think they’re important.

Try to view the change as an opportunity to gain new skills. Crazy though things may be for a while (or even a long while), this could be just what you need to advance your career—maybe in a way that might never have happened otherwise.

If upper management sets unrealistic expectations, such as triple the work with half the people, have the courage to raise the subject in a way that doesn’t make you look uncooperative. Of course, if you genuinely fear that taking this step will threaten your job, don’t do it. But if you can tolerate the risk, recognize that you could be creating a better environment for everyone.

In general, try to maintain a positive attitude, separate facts from opinions, listen for clues about what’s going on but steer clear of gossip, focus on doing your work, and take care of yourself during these stressful times. Oh, yes—and update your resume, just in case.

Finally—and this applies even when things are stable—maintain your network of professional contacts or build a network if you don’t already have one. That way, if you don’t like the changed organization, you’ll be better positioned to seek a new job.

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