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Senior executives and management of large companies regularly utilize organizational changes and restructurings to optimize and improve how the business operates. With the goal of managing costs or increasing profits, these changes may deliver long-term benefits but can come with more immediate costs to employees.
A 2017 survey by Deloitte demonstrated the widespread nature of organizational change and restructuring. Among the more than ten thousand business and human resources leaders who were interviewed, it was concluded that nearly 90 percent rated redesigning their organization’s structure to meet the needs of the future as important or very important.
Recent history is full of examples where these changes were implemented and yielded positive outcomes. I remember when Google, my employer, famously broke up the company into parts under a new parent company known as Alphabet. In a different example, consider when Netflix underwent a radical change when it overhauled its entire business from delivering content via mail to purely online.
In cases like these, change can come with extreme anxiety. During these times of flux, the shifting of priorities and people can undoubtedly cause disruption and confusion for everyone involved. This remains true for company-wide changes or for smaller department-wide changes.
In some cases, these restructurings can mean an adjustment to roles and responsibilities. In extreme cases, it can involve layoffs and loss of future opportunities. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on restructurings that involve changing roles and responsibilities.
The silver lining for employees who are undergoing impactful organizational change is that much can be gained from these times of transition. Furthermore, there are many reasons to be optimistic and excited about such a change. The key to success during these periods is to recognize the looming transition, prepare and embrace it.
Here are four ways where you can leverage a major organizational change to help grow your career and personal brand within your company:
Gain New Experiences And Learn New Skills, Without Traditional Risk
What better time to learn a new skill than during times of change and instability. During periods of flux, your future may be determined on your willingness to grow and learn while others panic and remain stagnant.
What new skills can you gain that will help you contribute more to your organization? Can you improve your knowledge of business strategy? What about improving your public speaking abilities? Finding new courses that you can you enroll in may be the best investment you can make in yourself at this point.
Taking proactive steps to expand your skills during times of organizational change demonstrates a growth mindset and likely will be valued by many employers and management staff. At a minimum, you may be able to take advantage of business deduction for work-related education, at maximum, you can prove to be a more valuable asset to your organization.
Demonstrate Domain Expertise And Thought Leadership in Areas Where The Business Is Investing
Wayne Gretzky famously said “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been”. This mantra can prove to be especially valuable during organizational restructurings. As priorities get realigned, the timing is ideal for you to flex your muscles on the topics that you already know deeply.
For example, maybe your company is shifting into a world where marketing or sales is becoming more influential to the business’s strategy. If you know these fields really well, what better time to shine your previous experience or expertise and outline your versatility.
Be direct about showcasing your knowledge and experience. Furthermore, make sure the right people know what you are good at. Informing your department head or regional leader that you previously worked on a similar project that the company is considering would be valuable information.
Taking best practices from your prior experiences will drive immediate value to your company, especially if the organization has a culture of collaboration and takes input from employees.
Rebrand Yourself Or Enhance Your Reputation
Few people can walk around an office with confidence that their reputation inside the company is spotless. In fact, if you’ve been at a company long enough, it’s more likely that your many positive attributes also come with baggage. No one is perfect and everyone has areas for development.
Organizational changes and corporate restructurings present a great opportunity to rebrand yourself and align your reputation with the one you want. For example, if you’ve recently been moved from one role within the company to another, you are essentially walking into a clean slate. Prior wins and losses don’t define you.
Ask yourself what new traits, skills or ideas you can bring forth. How can you shed previous blemishes associated with your previous work? If you want to be known as the go-to-guy/gal for something, start expressing influence around those things. Invest in your reputation as if you are an outsider trying to make your way in the company.
Engage in Compensation Conversations, Where Appropriate
You may be able to use this time of change as an opportunity to put more dollars in your pocket , depending on your role in the organization and how a restructuring impacts you. If your value to the company is high and you are being put in a situation that you aren’t excited by, find out what the company can do for you.
This is especially true if you’re being asked to take on new responsibilities, in which case asking for equitable compensation is more than reasonable. Be mindful of all the levers you have, from salary to bonus to other small or large company perks. There is no harm in asking, particularly when similar conversations may be happening among your peers and colleagues.
How should you engage in this conversation? Start by communicating how excited you are to be able to contribute to the organization in new and different ways. Second, outline that your current compensation was based on a set of tasks or outcomes that you are no longer responsible for. If the scope of your new role is drastically increased, you should initiate a conversation. In my opinion, any reasonable leader will hear you out and potentially entertain reasonable changes.
Armed with these new perspectives and ideas, you should no longer be fearful of all organizational changes and large-scale restructuring. Some forms of change can actually provide you with a favorable environment to gain more from your company than you previously had.
As previously mentioned, identify what new skills or experiences you can gain that will both enhance your resume and add value to the company’s bottom line. Next, find out what growth areas the company is investing in and start contributing to the ideas and strategy there, based on your previous experience or domain expertise. Also, use a new role as a clean slate for your internal reputation or find ways to add credibility to your current role. Finally, if the situation permits, consider asking for an increase in compensation if your future activities differ greatly from your current ones.
Above all, stay positive in the face of change because this constructive attitude will serve you well when you need it most.
May 29, 2019 at 09:34AM
Forbes – Entrepreneurs