So a senior VP is retiring. It's like, yeah? So?
What difference did he bring to the office? I could never tell. It's the trickle down theory of management at work here with elements of the oral word game, telephone. By the time his words of wise guidance reached me, they're parsed through a half dozen layers of management. Each layer adds it own spin while curtailing what he originally said. His emphasis becomes diluted.
Yes, he sent out emails but emails as a management communication tool is limited. How many emails do you read all the way through? Especially when the style is always a compliment sandwich. You know, "Look how great we've done, but we need to do greater, and I know you will because look at these great people who work for me."
To be sure, he also had a one hour town hall meeting to tell us how things were going, complete with slides, although he shared the time with his direct reports, so his time was reduced to about twenty minutes. There was, though, a three to five minute period at the end to ask him and his direct reports anything that you wanted.
There will likely be an impact with the new person replacing him. I've noticed replacements this year act tougher in meetings and on emails. They're here to clean up and fix the problems, and they won't tolerate the ways things have been going. Of course they'll tell us how happy and eager they are to be part of this team, and how much they've admired this team. Then they'll begin making changes.
Perhaps the changes will make a difference. Hard to say. With trickle down management, their tough words and policy will become diluted and muted, just like with the previous boss. We've already curtailed travel, spending, work at home reimbursements and all of that. Those cuts happened years ago. I'm work at home so there aren't any corporate lunches, celebrations or team meetings to be cut. They did away with the rewards programs and reduced the bonus programs. Nobody below middle management is anticipating pay raises this year.
The new boss will probably say things like, "We need to become more efficient. We're going to take a look at every process with an eye toward improving our efficiencies and reducing our overhead and improving our margins." They'll usually need to reshuffle some of their direct reports. They'll review the management structure and overall organizations and make a few more changes. This will require the first three to five months to help us become more efficient and organized.
They could hold some upper management off-sites and planning meetings to see what can be cut and where we can do things better. As part of that preparation, I'll be asked to provide a slide presentation of what I do and how I do it. I've done those slides before, so I'll just update the past presentation. Since it's flowing up with hundreds of other presentations, my piece will be reduced to either a slide, or maybe a couple bullets on someone else's slide. Whether these slides or bullets are actually seen or discussed is yet another matter. Issues will be discussed, they'll run out of allotted time, make plans to meet again, and then never will.
Maybe the new boss will bring a cutting board and knife and slice off more jobs. That's possible. Most management follows mandates like, "If some is good, more is better!" And cutting is the only way to increase the short term outlook. If they pursue that, I can be a casualty, or it might be that others will be cut, deepening the trench that we're in as we try to accomplish things. There are already less people to do the same amount of work, and the vast majority are already maxed out.
Ah, the work news has awakened my inner cynic. I must subdue him with some java.
Causes Michael Seidel Supports
Kiva, Women's International League for Peace and Freedom, Propublica.org, Doctors Without Borders, GreaterGood.com