Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Management 102: Post shake-up stability

My last post mentioned a few points to keep in mind now that you're a fresh manager. In this one I'm going to go into the first tasks you need to accomplish in first day after the reorganization has been announced. The reorganization doesn't have to be a full company shake up, it could be something just as simple as two people shuffling around.

Hopefully you've had some advance notice that this was coming, giving you some time to plan things out, knowing who will be reporting to you, and possibly what you'll be working on. (Digression: I dislike the term "report" in the management-hierarchy-sense. I guess it comes out of industries where there's a more rigid command-and-control type of infrastructure. Like the military. But the people in your group aren't soldiers; no, you're paying them good money so that they can flex that brain of theirs, not just follow orders. The company's paying you to be their BS shield.)

Re-orgs are kept on the down-low to keep the hand wringing to a minimum, but see if you can suss out who else is in the know, and if they are currently managing some of your new group. Same goes with the new projects you'll be overseeing. The goal here is that once day one arrives you'll look like you have some clue as to what's going on and who these people are. You'll want to sort out a transition plan for your current responsibilities so that you don't appear to have bolted on your old job.

If you've got some time to kill before the big day you might want to start planning your schedule, where you'll fit in your new one-on-one meetings. Getting your one-on-one's setup is a great first step as this is where you put your finger on the pulse of the team; far beyond a face-to-face status report it's where you find out what's on their mind, what troubles may be lurking below the surface. I believe that the one-on-one is so important that I'll go into it in detail in my next entry.

It's a good idea to also have some plan of what you want them to do in the short term, until you can really start digging into the new problem space, even if the plan is to keep on keepin' on. Don't let them twist in the wind.

Once the one-on-ones have been sorted out and you've met them, it's probably a good time to get the team together for a lunch, to get away from the work and get to know each other a bit.

As the day winds down you should start seeing some semblance of routine; maybe you'll have your first official meetings with the team. Your old job should be fading from view, as you'll have plenty to do with your new team and you don't want to give them the impression that they're not the most important part of your work life.

In the end you want to make sure that there's no large clouds of uncertainty hanging over your team's heads. Don't sweat it, you're going to do great!

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