How To Survive A Company Reorganization

Oh the re-organization, with its org charts, flowcharts, floor plans and motivational chit chats. If you’ve been through it, you know how this goes. The shuffling of teams, cubicles and offices, and the frantic flurry of messages chronically underestimating how long “this limbo” will last and desperately pining for “the new normal” to begin.

Transition is always a challenge, and change at work can be especially difficult. People often need routine to feel secure and to be productive. If your workgroup is in flux, here are some tips to help navigate the chaos:

Identify a sound information source

Every workplace has a worrier who is going to tell you the sky is falling: S/he heard there may be lay offs. S/he overheard someone say there will be downsizing. Don’t invite the worrier to be your re-org news source.  

While everything is in flux, it may not be clear who your manager will be, but hopefully the  management team is in place. Identify either the best communicator on that team or the person who you think is most likely to be your manager. Then get your information from only that person.    

If you hear a worrisome rumor, confirm it with your source. S/he will be interested to know what kind of information is being circulated and you are much better served to get the details of the transition from one trusted source than from a rumor mill. Hopefully the management team will have a good communication plan, but there is always a lot of upheaval during a re-org and sometimes the communication plan can’t catch up with the changes that are happening. It serves you well to have a personal plan for getting news.   

Create “for now” goals

Reframe your expectations for yourself. Maybe some of your projects are going to be tabled, or maybe the usual process for getting them approved is going to change and in the meantime you have to hold them until certain people are in place. However the eventual plan affects your day-to-day, create temporary goals for yourself. It’s difficult to stay motivated without a trajectory, and sometimes you loose your goals in the shuffling that happens in a re-org.

Part of what you need to stay engaged is a sense of your own workload and your own plan. If there’s no manager in place to help you with this, do it for yourself. It will make you feel so much more in control of your situation. As new information comes out about the re-org, you can readjust your goals to keep yourself on track. This way, you will stay focused and also have a track record for your new manager when the department is fully functional again.

Stay positive   

Reorganizations confuse people, and that causes stress. But you can approach this differently. Watching a team go through this process gives you the chance to truly see leadership in action. Pay attention. Note what you see working and where you see stress mounting. This is one area where you really get to see the quality of the leaders steering your institution and if you hope to someday have a leadership position, this is a wonderful case study for you to observe.  

Be positive and optimistic. You may notice coworkers complaining about this every step of the way. Don’t absorb that approach. Watch and learn. Do you best to be optimistic and flexible.

And if your final assessment is that you can do better with a different job and a different leadership team, Simply Hired is a great way to target a new opportunity for yourself.