How to stay motivated during reorganisations

Bryce Sanders gives us advice on how to stay positive during the reorganisation of your business. 

Reorganisation must be one of the most demoralising words in the English language. Often it’s the polite way to say downsizing. It’s unique to the corporate world. Families don’t reorganise. Mother and father don’t say: “Things are slow, so we are moving from five children to three.” 

Not since Victorian times, anyway. You need to keep yourself motivated. The same goes for your team. What can you do?

Consider yourself last

It’s been said a British gentleman does just that. Although it’s a bit extreme, it means it’s not every person for themselves. You have a responsibility to the people reporting to you. They stayed loyal, not taking better job opportunities at competitors. 

When possible, you need to show each of them in the best light possible when new management arrives. You will be respected for that.

Out of crisis comes opportunity

John F. Kennedy said: The Chinese use two brush strokes to write the word ‘crisis’. One brush stroke stands for danger, the other for opportunity. In a crisis, beware of the danger but recognise the opportunity.” The lesson is that every outcome isn’t automatically bad. There will be some winners.

Align yourself with the revenue side

When organisations reorganise, they often seek to cut costs. Five divisions becomes four divisions. This is risky for people who find their function in the expense column. They are considered overhead. Years ago I head the expression ‘Home office guy’. It abbreviates as HOG. Highlight how you bring in revenue. 

Demonstrate a good work ethic. Keep doing your job and getting your name out there.

You might support a sales team. Ideally they will explain how you help close sales.

Don’t pine over the old regime

In Latin America, it’s said companies doing business in the country work with whoever is in power. It’s sometimes called respecting the pen, not the person. Imagine you are meeting your new boss. If the first thing you say is how unfair it was your old boss was sacked, they might not regard you as a team player. Position yourself as a team player.

Raise your visibility

During reorganisations, it’s tempting to maintain a low profile. It’s as if someone is coming through with a sword, cutting off every head that sticks up. It’s been a business survival technique for a long time. On the other hand, your new manager may have no clue how you contribute. 

Demonstrate a good work ethic. Keep doing your job and getting your name out there.

Get on the right lists 

This often has to do with the sales side. Reorganisations are often top down affairs. Eventually they get to the sales force. Who is bringing in business? Who isn’t? You can’t fake that and you shouldn’t try.  However, there’s also the key product areas the firm wants to drive. 

They may be new, trying to build market share. Your new manager is likely judged on how well and how fast they deliver. Excel in this area if possible.

Meet the new players

The old regime is out, the new one is in. You’ve likely looked them up on LinkedIn. Try to find commonalities. You went to the same school. You know some of the same people. If the latter is true, they will likely call their colleague to check you out.

Doing try your old complaint on the new person

You’ve wanted a bigger office for two years. Your old manager would never give you one. Now there’s a new sheriff in town. You might be tempted to say; ‘I was promised a new office but never got one.’ (People lie? That’s shocking!) 

Your new manager may mark you down as a complainer. In the world of givers and takers, you don’t want to come across as a taker.


Will this save your job or your team’s? There’s no easy answer. However, it will increase your chances of getting past the danger and into the opportunity part of the crisis.   


About the author

Bryce Sanders is President of Perceptive Business Solutions Inc


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