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Reorganization – What to Do When You Get a New Boss


Pray you don’t end up with this guy.

Sooner or later it happens. Your company gets acquired, the division is closed or senior management announces a reorganization. Welcome to the “New Normal” where loyalty is a negative. You are back to your first day at a new firm.

Adjusting can be tough, but with effort, you can get through it and build your reputation in the mean time. Here are some considerations.

Don’t dwell on the past – Immediately apply yourself to your new role. Don’t praise the previous regime. The old division no longer exists. You might think it’s a good trait to relive how well things were done before. Bad move. It’s not seen as loyalty, but a lack of commitment to the new order. Consider yourself serving in the Navy and you’ve been assigned to another ship.

Learn about your new boss – When two companies merge, they usually have double everything they need, especially staff. Layoffs often follow. Soon, your new manager may get instructions to, “Choose the 50% of the staff you want to keep.” You want to be a name and a face, not a number.

Cultivate their No. 2 – You aren’t a fawning toad, yet you want to be recognized by the person who knows your new manager. Often they bring a key staff person with them, because they want to be surrounded by people they trust.

Learn how the new manager interacts – Few things are more annoying to a person who interacts by text and email than being pestered by someone who wants face-to-face meetings. No. 2 can tell you how to address this.

Don’t stick out — First impressions matter. Don’t be the person who is looking for extra vacation time, comes in late or is the first to leave. Don’t be the complainer either.

Recruiters will call – Most people in large organizations dislike change. That’s why they aren’t starting their own businesses. Recruiters will call to lure you away to a competitor using the rationale, “It’s not your old firm anymore.” If you have a door, don’t forget to close it. Tell no one. Human sacrifices are still practiced in large organizations.

Mentors vs. Managers – Your former manager, assuming they are still employed, is probably not in a position to provide much help. Your new manager is busy putting their own stamp on the place. You have more history and a greater connection to your mentor. They are likely higher placed and can put a few words in the right internal ears. Out of crisis comes opportunity.

Understand the metrics – Everyone’s performance is evaluated on metrics. Is it the number of hours billed? Business brought in? Profitability of the department? Learn what rings the cash register. Align your efforts. Learn what’s expected of you. Be measurable.

Understand team dynamics – You may be alone in a new group. Some of your former teammates may have transferred over. Everyone has a fear of the unknown. If you don’t know the players, you don’t know the internal dynamics. Do everything it takes to be a team player, but don’t rush to take a leading role.

Your new manager may be someone on the fast track. They kept their job, your former manager did not. They typically surround themselves with people they can trust, a scrum that moves from division to division as they get promoted.

This brings us to point 10.

Deliver – Everybody is expected to pull their own weight. You will have tasks assigned. Put in whatever time, effort and connections it takes to get it done. The person who surrounds herself with people she trusts is looking for people who can deliver in the areas where her performance is measured.

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