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False Hopes

Twenty plus years in corporate roles, and there is a ritual that is as predictable as the Sun rising in the east, the annual (or more often) re-organization.

But this post isn't about reorganizations, at least directly. Instead it is about the rumors, the hopes that some people have that a reorganization will fix their problems. This manifests itself in many ways, but as part of the water cooler talk, there is often the belief that the powers that be realize that Johnny their personal demon will get pushed out, and clearing the way for their vision of how the perfect organization will be after that happens.

The changes usually don't eliminate your problems

False HopesHere is a hint: an asshole in a leadership position isn't a mistake, it is usually by design. The fact that narcissistic assholes suck to work with (even not directly, but in a matrixed role) doesn't mean they are on the chopping block in a reorganization. Or even to be cycled into another organization, and getting out of your hair.

You could be certain that they are impeding your work, that everybody (and I do mean everybody) else detests this troll, sees them for what they are (an asshole), and that all the hallway conversations seem to point to your greatest joy, them being removed, but guess what. They aren't likely to go.

To understand why, you need to understand the upper middle management, and lower tiers of the executive ranks. If you recall back to high school (at least in the United States) there was the "cool kid" clique, the "in" group, a small group of the coolest kids, and everybody else who wants to be like that. What were the odds that you could break into that group?

Yeah, nil.

Once you have made that tier of management or the executive ranks, everybody begins to look out for their own. You can be a complete screwup, and alienate many people across the organization, but as long as you don't do something really bad (i.e. sexual harassment), or illegal (pay bribes to get business), the odds are good that you will be safe.

Yet, every time the re-org is in the air, the Dude hears the siren call of the downtrodden, who are certain that their nemesis will get the boot.Then, after the re-org, where not only do they not lose their job, but instead are rewarded with a larger team, and more responsibilities.

For a week or so after the re-org, the Dude gets to console the disappointed team members who were sure that things were going to get better for them.

Be careful what you wish for

Once, the Dude was approached by a senior executive who wanted some help. The VP/GM of the Dude's business unit was a walking, talking train wreck. Really a bad fit, and a horrible boss. He had alienated the executive leadership team.

The Dude totally agreed with the senior exec, and eagerly agreed to help with the, um "transition". The Dude totally got what he wanted, a leadership change, and rid of his boss who was driving the Dude crazy.

Transition happened, the boss (and a colleague who really didn't mesh with Product Management) were terminated, and all seemed right in the universe.

Until it wasn't. About 2 months later, the senior executive made it abundantly clear that the Dude would never get another promotion, or any additional responsibility. Essentially, after 6 solid years, multiple successful product development and releases, strong market penetration, great internal and external reputation, all that was flushed because the Dude was a tool to get a desired goal (the removal of a terrible leader), but whose personal brand was associated with that exercise.

When the replacement was hired for the removed executive, the Dude's world shrunk to a paltry shadow of what it was.

Be careful what you wish for.

Summary

South Park Ski InstrctorRe-organizations are a fact of life in the corporate world. Predictable, regular, and often not fixing what the general population *knows* is wrong.

If you get your hopes up that it will cure all your ills, you will be disappointed, and sage masters like The Dude will have to talk you down. Life goes on, and if you stress too much, it will not be happy.

Lastly, if you are counting on a reorg to cure your culture and trust issues, you're gonna have a bad time.

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