You may have read the parable Who moved my cheese? It’s been very popular in business these last couple of years. The point of the story is that change is inevitable and employees need to just get over it—or something like that. I’ve got no problem with change or cheese. I do have a problem with some of the big cheeses causing all the movement. Here’s what I mean.
I saw an organization undergo a reorganization. It’s certainly not the first time –nor will it be the last time—this organization reforms. In the effort to realign work areas, there was the inevitable shuffling of people within work groups. You know the drill. One day you’re part of a cohesive team. The next day you wake up and you’re reporting to someone new and your team lost some of its members. That’s still not a problem. But, what happens when the new leader of this team comes to the job with a reputation for being lazy and is disliked? You wonder how such a person could get a leadership role. It happens all too frequently.
Even with 360 degree feedbacks, where subordinates are supposed to voice their opinions, sometimes they just can’t speak up. Other times management has so much invested in these turkeys that those in power ignore the evidence and can’t admit they made a bad assignment. Why? They just don’t experience the same things as the subordinates. You see, some business professionals are masters of deception. They spend their energies dazzling those above them and mistreating the ones below. Management is conned. You can spot these pretenders at meetings. They take credit for other people’s work. They complain about how busy they are and don’t volunteer to do tasks for which the group is responsible. My personal favorite is when they lie. Nothing is beneath them to get ahead.
I once worked with a manager who came from the military. He reported to me that in the military it’s common procedure when someone comes highly recommended that the unit does some additional behind the scenes investigation. What do they do? They call around to the unit where the “superstar” is presently located. Then they quietly ask a few people who work for the star, “Is he really good or are you just trying to get rid of him?” Once they hear the truth, they hire the star –or not –if the information isn’t good. It’s a great idea. Why isn’t this done more in business today?
If you’re in management and making organization changes, why don’t you do the checking before you make the changes? You may have to be indirect in getting accurate feedback from subordinates. It’s well worth the effort. The reorg I spoke of happened over a month ago. Several talented professionals are starting to look for new jobs. They don’t feel comfortable with the new manager. What’s ironic is that this new manager can’t do their work for them if they go. The organization will lose critical skills and have no quick replacements.
If you’re in management you know who moved the cheese. Maybe the better question is, “How can you move the cheese and not damage the company?” That’s a story I want to read.