Organizational paralysis in uncertain times . . .

"Look busy!"—No: Be busy!

© Conrad Weisert, Information Disciplines, Inc., June 1 2009

NOTE: This document may be circulated or quoted from freely, as long as the copyright credit is included.

Organizations often experience major change at a high level of management. Such change may be due to:

There's often a period of several weeks between the time the staff learns that a change is coming and the time the new managers are firmly in control. Unfortunately, the staff all too often fritters away the opportunity that the interregnum presents. How each staff member uses that time may determine his or her role and even survival in the new organization

Often the organization is paralyzed with respect to initiative and projects. Staff members may seize upon the uncertainty to avoid commitment. I've heard the following excuses repeatedly:

Although those are meant to explain inaction, they're really strong reasons for plunging into our work with greater vigor and sense of purpose.

A wise new manager will take inventory of the people in the organization, interviewing them and learning what their responsibilities are. I've been on both sides of such situations. As a new manager, I can assure you that a staff member who has spent the last month waiting for direction will not be high on the list of valuable personnel I'll choose to depend on. On the other hand, someone who is well along on a well-defined project and who can explain the purpose of that project and its value to the organization, even if I don't agree with its priority, will be a candidate for a responsible role in the organization.

And anyone who expressed any of the above quotes should seek employment elsewhere.

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Last modified July 10, 2009