Managing Through Change

Real stories - Managing Through Change

Managing Through Change This morning, a story from Aileen, an IT support manager:

In November 2010, the city council hired a new city manager. With this came layoffs, resignations, restructuring, and a lot of insecurity at work. It has been a difficult time for everyone. We are now on our fourth interim IT director, and this time our entire department has been moved out of the corporate services division and moved under the blanket of risk and compliance. The search goes on for a full-time IT director. They have also changed the name of our department, and voided the mission, vision, and value statements the staff had recently created, writing them off as fluff.

To say all this change and insecurity has affected morale (mine and my staff’s) would be a colossal understatement. Both regular staff and management at all levels are unsure of their job security. I have to admit, it is hard being motivated and going to work every day when you are worried for your job, you don’t know where you sit with management, and there are hints at outsourcing your area. I’ve had many sleepless nights, bad dreams, and more than a few concerns over the constant changes.

No, there aren't any tools here, just reflection this morning. We've been doing a lot of work this year on this concept of managing through change. It's a simple concept: how does an organization keep motivated, skilled team members performing at their very best in times of great turmoil on the job?

It hits me every time we're working on a client location and we're faced with a story like Aileen's. It's not that organizational leaders are unaware that turmoil, flagging morale, and uncertainty will come with major overhaul. It's that they cannot accurately and consistently predict which decisions they will make that will cause that uncertainty.

And so, this morning, our reflection. Take the two minutes to read Aileen's post. I offer, by no means to give away the punchline, her close, as a reminder to all of us. As you're working with your strategic planning committees and preparing your major initiatives for next quarter and after, are you prepared to address uncertainty that comes from the Aileen's on your management staffs? We should be so lucky to have such passionate and aware managers on our change teams:

As manager, my personal challenge is going to be ensuring that we do not lose service and become too controlling, that we strike a nice balance in between. At the same time, I have to reassure, motivate, and challenge my staff during this time of insecurity, no matter how the chips may fall.