How to Make a Reorganization an Opportunity for Renewal and Growth
Fernando Dangond, M.D. is head of medical affairs for neurodegenerative diseases for the U.S. at EMD Serono in Rockland, MA. and a member of the MIT EMBA class of 2012.
Companies invariably go through cycles with ups and downs – and often the inexorable “re-org” period. How you come out of crises depends largely on your personality, your training, and your attitude on life, both personal and professional. This post is a sequel to my early post on "The Power of Strategic Communication: How to manage change and corporate reorganization".
Do you accept continuous risks? Are you comfortable with organizational change? Even when the re-org is complete, are you still thinking “Titanic” and looking for a way out? Or are you the type of leader that sees an incredible opportunity to learn, to apply your experience, and to lead your team?
In addition to surviving two major company reorganizations, I’ve have been studying reorganizations from leadership to systems dynamics to communications in MIT’s EMBA program. Here are my three rules for keeping afloat gracefully, cheerfully, and with a sense of renewal and growth:
It is Not All About You
The first tip is to recognize that it’s not all about you. The company was ill, and required major surgery to get better.
I’ve seen people flash their sardonic smiles in company meetings, whining in public and spreading their toxic attitudes. Their productivity has dropped and their level of commitment has waned. What’s worse, they have begun to drag others into this death spiral. Honestly, if you choose to face adversity that way, your company will throw a party when you leave because you don’t measure up to being a professional in the refreshed and renewed organization.
Once senior management makes the decision that major changes are required, you need to be sure to position yourself in a strategic corner to be at the right place at the right time. This means supporting the company rather than running for the fences. Show others that you are mature and can take on bigger assignments and projects.
Walk in Others’ Shoes
The boss who promised you a promotion probably left the company the minute the crisis hit. What to do about it? Take the opportunity to do extra work, taking over some of the tasks that your old boss used to be responsible for.
Even if you don’t get your boss’ job, your new boss will notice that you can make his or her life much easier by having answers to each problem. Your new boss might be looking for flaws and team inefficiencies, so stand out with your air-tight performance, knowledge of processes, and quick ability to engage teams and creatively solve issues.
Also, don’t criticize the new boss. He or she is there trying to learn as well. Put yourself in their shoes and use the opportunity to demonstrate your expertise, dedication, passion and perseverance.
If you are a super-performer, don’t let your style get in the way of your growth. I’ve seen outstanding colleagues diminished by poor communication skills. How will anybody know you are a strong, charismatic, dynamic, open, assertive and confident leader if you spend all your time behind closed doors (yes, I know, doing lots of work) and not communicating with other company leaders and teams?
Don’t ostracize yourself and then blame others for not appreciating your leadership skills. Be open to getting coaching support, polish your true image of caring about others, and communicate your plans with clarity of intention and purpose. Assert your qualities, and be vocal and confident about your success. Make yourself noticeable and you’ll be the leader others will want to follow.
So, as you weather a reorganization, ask yourself: Are you the lighthouse for those navigators surrounded by oceans of pessimism, or are you consumed by commiseration and whining?
What are your tips for gracefully handling major changes and reorganizations?