Random Thoughts on Life and Work

April 3, 2007

In Closing (Project Part 9) – 10 Things I Learned

Filed under: Management,Non-Profit,Strategy — Darren Mullenix @ 2:40 pm

This is kind of a “What I Learned” type of post that I hope will be a helpful summary of the overall project and its parts.  While it is far from over – there is much to do yet to implement the recommendations – this will probably be my final post in this series.

 If you are new to this series here are the links to the earlier parts:

This was an interesting project to engage in as it is a great study in human dynamics and interactions.  I will note this as an overriding comment – it is better to engage in the study and analysis process before implementing a reorganization rather than after.  And while the department VP felt that changes were needed immediately, it has complicated the working relationships and has caused some angst for the staff. 

Okay, here is the “What I Learned” list:

  1. As I said earlier, do the study before the change begins.
  2. If an interim change occurs, clarify roles and responsibilities.  Just because reporting relationships change, don’t assume that everyone will know or accept changes in responsibilities, even if they are intended.
  3. Communicate, communicate, communicate.  Here is where I probably screwed up more than I should have.
  4. The interview process is difficult.  When merging two departments into one and looking for efficiencies, be prepared to engage multiple people multiple times. 
  5. Have a set number of questions that you ask everyone during the interview process.  Let the rest of it flow freely as you will learn a lot by listening to the random conversation.  Continue to probe.
  6. Go faster rather than slower.  While it is hard to engage in a project like this and get your regular duties accomplished, it is important that the process go quickly.  The longer it goes, the more unsettled people become.  and they won’t continue to accept the statement, “Just be patient.”
  7. Be prepared for the department head to have his or her own concept of what is needed.  While this didn’t necessarily happen to me, I was prepared for it. 
  8. Be prepared for resistors.  They will resist the process and the change.  And it may not be open resistance.  It will be evident in the “letting go” of some responsibilities and the grabbing of others.
  9. Some times it is advantageous to have someone in the department run the project.  In other times it might not.  Know your staff and their capabilities.  Know your staff and their personalities. 
  10. If a management change is going to occur, you will need to wrestle with the implications of that.  This seems to be especially difficult in the non-profit arena and certainly more difficult for some people rather than others.

I hope that helps.  If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear them.

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