Networking is often critical to one’s success in their line of business. Networking groups yield the apparent benefits of developing key contacts, expanding recruitment opportunities as well as identifying potential joint ventures. However, there is one significant benefit that is rarely mentioned…….group therapy.
Managers will often share recent events or situations to obtain feedback on how other executives would have managed a similar position (i.e., group therapy). At times the conditions brought up are ones of regret, and the individual is hoping to hear reassurance that there will be a positive outcome. This situation occurred at a recent networking breakfast.
To improve productivity and efficiencies, the executive restructured his operation structure and reallocated some management responsibilities and reporting structure. This was not received favorably by certain managers; however, it was the inefficiency and lack of credibility of these managers which prompted the need for a change.
It was a few months since the restructuring, and it appeared that the department had made it through the transition curve when trouble hit. One of the managers (who resisted the change) threatened to leave the company and take a few key employees with him. The only ways to retain the manager (and more importantly the critical employees) was to rollback the restructuring and return the operation to its original structure.
Out of fear, the executive decision to return to the original operational structure. The irony is that before the restructuring the executive was grappling with the choice of restructuring or merely terminating this same ineffective manager. Now, several months later he found himself in the same position as where he started – an incompetent manager in charge of an under-producing department.
To add insult to injury…………it was later identified that several of the key employees that were thought willing to leave with this manager, would not have followed him but in fact stayed with the company. In actuality, they found themselves more supported by their new supervisor and would have preferred that the manager leaves the company (providing them less drama).
The executive suggested that he now terminate the manager since there is no genuine risk of losing the first employees. However, the networking group agreed that this action would accelerate his lack of credibility with the entire staff. It was a poor decision, but one that must be lived with. It was a lessoned learned that before making a quick decision out of fear, it is best to step back from the emotion and do your due-diligence. For example, the networking groups suggested the executive should have reached out to these key employees and ask them for some feedback regarding the recent restructuring. During the conversation, he should be able to identify if the employees were indeed at risk versus merely accepting the manager’s statements as credible.
Most members of the networking group have had similar experiences early in their careers. This unfortunate executive encountered his situation later most. It was acknowledged though that everyone has run into situations in which the competition has recruited vital employees. The loss of such employees can be damaging to the company and create a certain level of fear. However, it is essential always to detach the emotion from the decision. Fearful decisions often result in a loss of credibility and can be damaging to the company. If the fear is taken out of the equation; the choice is as fundamental as a “T” Chart identifying the positives and negatives of the individual and impact to the company. As a result, the right decision will often be made.
Husband, father, coffee connoisseur and lover of all things hockey. At 51 I sometimes wonder have I done enough. I have been married to my best friend for 30 years. She knows all my faults and loves me anyway, As a father of “almost always” perfect boys, I am always surprised at what life has to offer. It is messy, scary, thrilling, and always fun.