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Nov 7, 2016 Beware of Organizational Shift

It's a story that is often told. You love your job. You love your boss. You love the company and all is well with the world. Then, something changed that upsets your universe. It may happen all at once or it may happen slowly over time. In either case, however, you wake up one day and say to yourself, 'Wow, I'm no longer happy with my job.'

Organizational Shift are the changes that happen over time to all organizations that modifies its culture, values, environment, and/or general atmosphere. It may be an entire organization or a subset of the organization, such as a division, department, physical location, or other sub-unit.

When this happens as part of a big event, it's easy to recognize. You liked your old boss and you don't like the new one. The company was bought out by a bigger company and all the rules changed. These are examples of one-time incidents that can change your feelings about your job overnight. For insights on how to deal with this type of event, please refer to a column I published last year entitled 'Organizational Change'. This week's column refers to another situation, where things seem to change little by little, almost imperceptibly, until one day you look up from your desk and say to yourself that this place just isn't the same.

This issue occurs because things have changed, a little at a time.
  • A colleague you enjoyed working with was promoted and is now in another part of the company.
  • Your company's profitability has declined because of issues in the economy.
  • Your boss's boss was replaced and your boss seems to be short tempered and walking on egg shells.
  • You have now been in the job three years and the challenge seems to be gone.
  • Two new people were hired into your department and it slowly changed the department's atmosphere from cooperative to competitive.
  • . . . plus a million other small changes.


Does this sound familiar? As an employee, this may have happened to you. If it did, your productivity probably dipped slightly, your motivation may have declined, and you may have eventually looked for and found a new job.

As a manager, try to make sure that your staff doesn't begin to feel like this, because if they do, their productivity will dip, their motivation will decline, and they will eventually vote with their feet and leave your department, and maybe the company altogether. Increased attrition within your department can cause you to miss your goals, can cause disruptions in ongoing processes, and generally suck the life out of your department and eventually you.

My suggestion to you here, and the thrust of this column, is to tell you to be vigilant to make sure this type of organizational shift does not happen to you, and as a manager, does not happen to your staff. Regarding you personally, I'll once again quote Vivian Greene and say
  • 'Life is not about waiting for the storms to pass... It's about learning how to dance in the rain.'

Regarding your staff, look for signs of complacency in your team and ask yourself the following questions on an ongoing basis:
  • Do the members of your team seem as engaged and motivated as ever?
  • Have there been any changes at the company and/or within my department which could potentially have an adverse effect on your staff? If yes, what can you do to counteract it?
  • Do you see any issues within your department that could be causing unhappiness with the team?
  • Are you doing anything that could potentially be lowering the morale or motivation of your team? If yes, what could you being doing differently?
  • Have there been any slow changing adverse trends that could be having a negative effect on your team?

If your answers to the above questions are no, great! If any of these questions caused you to answer yes, sit back, reflect on why, and try to find a solution to counteract, or at least slow, the issue causing your department to be stressed.

The primary advice and takeaways from today's column is to know that:
  • Organizational Shift are the changes that happen over time to all organizations, that modifies its culture, values, environment, and/or general atmosphere.
  • As a manager, try to minimize the effect of Organization Shift on your staff. If left unchecked, it can hurt or destroy your team's morale and/or productivity.

 
This blog is an excerpt from my weekly nationally syndicated column with GateHouse News Service. My new columns can be found in GateHouse Media publications throughout the United States.

Until next time, manage well, manage smart, and continue to grow.

Eric Bloom
President and CTO

Manager Mechanics, LLC
www.ManagerMechanics.com

 

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