Stormy Seas

On Monday the expected announcement of our new strategy came: a step change towards decentralization at the corporate level. with clearer lines of accountability. And a warning that there would be substantial job losses.

On Tuesday, a little more detail confirming the fears of many in research, development, and design: businesses would now house such functions and there is very little room left for central programs that aren’t connected to specific business goals.

Then, 3 more days of chatter but very little detail. Sensibly, the plan was only detailed out a few layers from the top before being made public. Now the lower layers are worked out while we who work in them wait anxiously. Unfortunate but unavoidable, I think. Many of us in the lower layers need to understand that the job loss counts are estimates based on models used while deciding on the plan (I am assuming), and only as details are decided will they become firm; there’s not some master spreadsheet with names already that executives simply aren’t sharing.

Some of those in the, let’s call it, lower executive layer responsible for the next details are not doing well at empathizing with their employees and saying this clearly. And too many in my middle management layer are adding to the FUD rather than projecting calm downward while insisting on clarity upward. So of course the grapevine runs amok and distraction rules the day in some corners.

Our next executive team deserves credit for minimizing all of this, though. They created a communication framework that effectively forces a trickle of decision making, so the grapevine can be often countered with published materials. I have felt useful simply sharing readily-accessible links with colleagues. This may not be a perfect rollout but on the whole I would say it has been well done, and I believe the bad news will stop overshadowing the good in time.

It’s perhaps too easy for me to write this from a sort of detachment. While I have no more certainty than my peers, I have far less reason to stress out. The program I run is already known to continue in the new model and ought to be even more effective with the new business structure. My personal position may be uncertain, but I am confident I’ve proven myself relatively capable[^reputation] at least operationally; this change should create opportunities to demonstrate my ability to lead transformation. And, in the grand scheme of things, this is just a job. I have permanent residency, a desirable CV, and we’re financially secure enough to sail through a storm or two. Let’s hope enough for two, since Shannon is navigating even rougher seas.

I posted this in February 2023 during week 2552.

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