This post continues a series that I started on May 29th, discussing the handling of some major organizational changes at my company.
At about the same time that Jan announced her retirement, Kelly, one of the directors who reported to her, moved into a new role. That left us with about a dozen people who needed to move to a new manager immediately.
Our initial hope was that we’d put The New Organization in place fairly quickly and move everyone just once, but it quickly became clear that we wouldn’t be able to do that. As noted in the previous post, we had decided not to replace Jan immediately with a new VP. Instead, we split the leadership responsibilities between two existing VPs within the organization. We agreed that the Support team, which had moved temporarily under one of our Engineering functions, would stay there. The rest of Jan’s team – Consulting, Managed Services, and Customer Training, would report to me.
With those decisions finalized, we needed an interim solution for the 12-person team that reported to Kelly. As a temporary fix, we moved Kelly’s team to report directly to Jan. Was this optimal? No, for two main reasons. First, Jan already had a full plate of responsibilities and this added more to that burden at exactly the time that we wanted to begin gradually ramping down her responsibilities. Second, it guaranteed that we would have to move all of those people to a new manager at least once again (since reporting to Jan was not the long term plan).
However, although it wasn’t optimal, it was far better than leaving Kelly’s team in limbo. We wanted to make sure each individual had a manager even in the midst of our corporate transformation. We clearly communicated to everyone that this solution (reporting directly to Jan) was temporary and that more changes would be coming.
For now…I’ll leave you with this thought:
Even though a temporary reporting structure isn’t ideal, it’s far better than having no structure at all (even temporarily).