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Letters to a Young Manager

Rallying The Team To Die, #24
LTYM > Managing People II

Dear Sophie,
Yes, a merger can be an unsettling time. People want to know who is staying and who is going. Work can grind down to a trickle until people know.

I was asked to preside over a merger of two organizations. The management team decided that we needed to combine operations, and move the smaller east coast company west. And it needed to be done in the next six months. We called a meeting of the east coast group and were honest with them. We were shutting down the east coast operation. Those willing to move to CA would be offered west coast jobs. And all who were willing to work on the project of moving the operation would receive "stay-around" bonuses.

A few took the offer to move. Everyone else agreed to work toward the bonus. No one jumped ship. The move was completed in time. We threw a party and respectfully closed the doors. The cost was less than layoffs. But more importantly, people had respect, choice and dignity. Those go together. In an era of perpetual cycles of downsizing, companies forget this.



Teams can rally even to die

Discussion Questions:

1) Is reframing a bad situation "white-washing" it or an opportunity to turn it for good?
2) Would you stay to complete the project?
3) How important is the stay-around bonus?
4) How would you adjust tuition reimbursement plans based on what you learned here?

For Further Reading:

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