Leading in the Midst of Downsizing

Taking Care of People, Performance and You!

A little over a month ago I spoke to a group of senior level business leaders. Toward the end of our time together, one man said his wife was working for an organization that has downsized several times in the past 12 months, the workload is increasing and morale is tanking. He wanted to know how to support her at a higher level.

Two weeks ago I watched another leader navigate the 4th layoff this year.

  • He shared how one man cried, how some sat in surprised silence and how others expressed anger.
  • He shared how the rest of team that loves and trusts him – couldn’t look him in the eye.
  • And then shared how decisions have been based almost entirely on cost savings – not about who is needed to cover all of the job functions, who is the most dedicated or the best team player or who they will need to reinvent the future.

Are you ready to pack dreams and reinvent?

A new year! A new you!

Earlier this week movers came to the home of our dear friends and packed everything they had to prepare for a move to another country.

  • It’s a great career opportunity for him.
  • It means more daily freedom for her.

But it’s still stressful.

  • Anticipation, doubt and fear swirl together about the unknowns.
  • And at the same time they process the emotions of an ending before the new beginning…

As 2015 comes to an end, you may be considering a new beginning, a fresh start, a change or a reinvention…

Would you say yes, If…

I published an article a month ago, about how our international move altered the path I thought I was on to my big dream. In that post I shared how much I trust in this altered path, even though it doesn’t make complete sense yet.

About the time I published that article I heard this quote,

Two weeks ago my husband and I took a vacation to Africa. On the plane I read Nelson Mandela’s book The Long Walk to Freedom, deeply considering how a wide variety of good and bad experiences changed his perspective, caused him to seek truth, ponder deeply, and shaped the man he would become. At several places in his story I thought of different struggles that others have faced that have taken them to their knees and challenged their perspectives and then changed their futures. In the midst of those reflections I wrote these words…

Would you say yes, if you knew:

  • That great risk would lead to a greater reward?
  • That a job loss would lead to a new career in a new industry?
  • That a heartbreaking betrayal would make you softer and stronger and wiser?
  • That learning to forgive would help you experience uncommon peace? 
  • That years of unwanted change and confusion would lead to growth? 
  • That an uncommon sacrifice would create the change you’ve dreamed of?
  • That an ending would create a better beginning?

Dealing with Change: Both Wanted & Unwanted

Will it kill you? Or will you thrive?

Once upon a time, I hired a fun-loving woman with great recommendations, strong experience, and impressive tenure. (True Story!)

Not long after she joined our team she began to struggle.   Things that she thought would be easy to learn were harder than normal, which chewed away at her confidence, which made it even harder to learn, which ate away even more confidence. Sometimes when we spoke privately, tears flowed.

At one point she shared that in her last role she was so confident that she would put on a pink feather boa. And when she wore it – everyone knew a special announcement was going to be made. Here she wanted to be her authentic self, but was afraid…

Each time we spoke, I would remind her:

  1. She was grieving. (She had just left a role that she knew backwards and forwards and upside down in a place where she felt understood, appreciated and loved and moved and started a new job.)
  2. She really was smart, capable, fun and wanted!
  3. She was focusing more on her mistakes and emotions than on what she knew she could bring and that was causing her to struggle harder.