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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 30-Mar-07


Friday 30-March-07

All change!

Today I lost my job. Well, kind of. I'll still be working at the same place, but the change programme I was managing itself was caught up in strategic change. The bottom line is that the overall organisation had its budget cut, and when that happens the people who have to allocate funds look around for somewhere to spend less, and if you're not in the direct delivery chain you're always going to be a target.

This has happened to me more than once before and this time I've not been seriously struck by such as the K?ler-Ross grief cycle, although I do feel sad at the passing. Of more concern is that some who have been working with me have been more strongly affected. I am getting towards the end of my working career but for younger people on the team this was a more significant blow. Even though they have the opportunity for redeployment I can see the effect it has had. To realise that employment is not guaranteed, even when you are doing good work, changes how you look at things. It is the first job of a manager in such circumstances to help resettle the people and I will not let go of this task until I am happy they have got through the emotional changes and are firmly on the next leg of their career.

I think that we worked well, both together and individually, and over the past year we have completed 22 change projects, ranging from managing rebuilding of a national ordering system to the development and deployment of detailed business continuity plans. We have created transparency across the organisation and helped build an improvement-oriented culture. More importantly, we have left a trail of happy customers. We will be missed but the work will go on, by hook or by crook, and I have helped rethinking where I can.

The first time I lost my job in this way was in the early 1990s, when business downsizing again led to the whole software quality department where I worked being cut. That was a sudden surprise although strangely the managers doing the sacking seemed more traumatised than I felt at the time, although I know now that I was in shock and they, having known that this was coming, were in the pit of depression. I managed to find other work in the company by taking on the work of three people and busting a gut for a while until I had broken the back of the work. Looking back, it was a great learning experience. If truth be known, there is also a certain schadenfreude that there were subsequent problems. When delivery trumps quality then customers, and eventually business, suffer.

The next time I got cut was at the depth of the post-dot-com depression in 2002 and there was no internal alternative this time so I struck out in consulting work in business improvement and change. Perhaps I was lucky that I walked into work. Perhaps also I had helped lady luck as I had deliberately built deep and portable skills over many years and had also worked hard at developing an active network. All it takes is one person to beckon, which is what happened.

So, on Monday it will be best foot forward. This time I'm only doing two jobs, for two different bosses. One is managing the process of sustaining competences across a physical move when many people are expected to leave. The other is reviewing and managing the system of standards in a part of the organisation. I have a good idea of what needs doing in both jobs and believe that, with appropriate support, the work can be done.

All change!

Your comments

... change is life! And maybe its not so obvious from first sight, but also very refreshing!
Wish you luck!


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