When Strategic Change is Designed to Disengage

After hearing from clients and colleagues undergoing organizational restructuring, I’m totally confounded by their descriptions of what’s happening. Managers are brought in from “corporate” or outside the organization and placed in positions to make changes without gathering any input from current managers who are running successful business units.

Yes, I get that company execs can change strategy and supporting structure(s) when and how they want to. It’s the processes they use that are most concerning – especially when they seem designed to disengage. Like changing job responsibilities with no consideration or input from the managers and employees in those roles. Or telling people they have to re-apply for their current jobs. While such an approach might be a way to eliminate under-performers, it’s insulting to those who perform at or above expected levels.

Executives who initiate strategic changes without engaging current managers in the process disrespect them by dismissing their institutional knowledge and experience working in their respective departments.

While organizational change isn’t easy. it doesn’t have to be made more painful by those in charge.

“The trick is to know what to change when. And to achieve that there is no substitute for a leadership with an intimate understanding of the organization working with a workforce that is respected and trusted.” Dr. Henry Mintzberg





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