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Surviving corporate restructures

Surviving corporate restructures is really hard.

Things move slowly, and it’s painful. It feels like you’re undergoing surgery, but the surgeon is using a butter knife. And the anesthetic has either worn off or you are prolonging it to not have to face what’s going on. People become unrecognisable.

I’ve observed a number of restructures from my privileged position as consultant and coach watching people surviving corporate restructures.

Here are some patterns that seem to help people get through it.

Pay attention to what can you do

So the first one is that you need to concentrate on what you can do, not on those things out of your control.

Stephen Covey’s 1st habit about the circle of influence and circle of concern applies here: Many things concern you (will I have a job, who will be my boss, are they being fair, is there a way I could influence the outcome, why didn’t I study more when I had the opportunity, have I been too long / long enough in this job..). Rather than putting your intention on the things you cannot control, concentrate on what you can actually influence.

You’ll find a few below.

Define your brand and remind yourself of it daily

At some point this will end. And people will remember how you were under pressure. How do you want to be perceived after this is over?

Start reminding yourself what that is. Make a 3 word mantra and repeat it. For example you might like to be one of these

  • Calm, kind, generous
  • Wise, courageous, strong
  • In control, Informed, Unflappable
  • or something else.

Try changing your password to your mantra. It is a way of reminding yourself of your goal.

Know your strengths

Find out what your strengths are (try Strengthsfinder 2.0. Just get your top 5). A sun dial is useless in the shade, so find out what kind of sun you need to be the most accurate, useful, shiny or effective sundial you can be.

This will help you in writing your resume (just in case) or bringing your CV up to date.

Know your constraints

Catherine told me once

When trouble brews, bring your CV up to date, work out how long you can survive without a salary, and then get back to work

Her formula may be simplistic, and yet there’s an important lesson. Find out what constraints you have financially. Get some financial advice. Economise where you can till you know where yo are. Get a menu of choices financially.

Define your outcome

What do you want next? Write it down, or write down your options at least. You’ll want to wait and see what the organisation offers you, and the clearer you are on what you want the more you’ll be able to recognise it when you are offered it.

Be a role model, share your love

Whether your job title is a leader or not you are always leading.

In this difficult time be a role model. Lead in the way you want to be lead.

  • Tell people the good things about what they’re doing.
  • Look for how you can lighten people’s burdens.
  • Form a network of colleagues to assist each other with your linked in profiles
  • Make a good news lunch time club where everyone shares some good news (even if you have to go to facebook to find stuff, make sure you share LIVE with people at work too).

Share your pain

Find someone you can dump your problems on. Not just your spouse or your sister. Think about a professional, a therapist, a coach, an EAP counsellor. Try writing a journal every day. This can make a huge difference to your emotional and mental health.

Build your own confidence

Do whatever builds your confidence. Whatever makes you feel good, grounded, happy, resilient. Try

  • work outs
  • walking
  • taking photos of nice things
  • scrapbooking, knitting, crocheting, woodworking, tiling, renovations – whatever gives you a sense of achievement and of control.

When you put your focus on what you can do you’re going to feel better. And when you feel better you not only get offered more choices, you also notice different things.

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