Since starting the curated gifting business Marigold & Grey eight years ago, I’ve made some tough decisions as a business owner. And I’ve found that the tougher the decision, the more painful it is to make. I lose sleep over it. I agonize. I go back and forth and consider all the pro’s and con’s and then some. But finally do arrive at decisions I feel good about. And whether they turn out good or bad or somewhere in between, at least I know I haven’t made hasty decisions.
The same is true for recent tough one – a full re-organization of Team M&G. As we’ve grown, it was becoming more and more clear to me that I couldn’t keep everyone in the same roles. Some people had too much on their plates, while others were simply in the wrong roles altogether and not being given opportunities to let their truest talents shine. (Not anyone’s fault – growth brings these things to light.) While the need for sweeping change is tough to address, it was even tougher witnessing the negative impact that not changing was having on the business from a financial perspective, efficiency perspective, and a morale perspective. So while I was away in January for my annual workcation, I tackled the re-org head-on. Here’s what worked for me:
Review Weaknesses And Gaps
Part of my normal workcation routine is to look at all aspects of the business – what went well and what didn’t go well. But in knowing I needed to re-organize, I took an even harder look at the weaknesses across all areas of the business since I knew these would factor into my decisions about how to address them.
Review Talent At All Positions
I’m a big fan of always hiring from within if possible. Even if you’re changing someone’s day-to-day role, especially in a small business, everyone has some exposure to other teammates’ roles so the ramp up period is inherently going to be less. It’s also good to reward existing employees who are your top performers with promotions and opportunities to explore other areas of the business where they may have expressed an interest over time. The answer isn’t always to find a new hire to add to the existing mix – mix it up from within if that makes more sense, and in our case, it made more sense. In reviewing weaknesses as a first step, it’s a natural next step to review strengths to see which fixes you might already have in-house!
Rip off the Band-Aid
If you know change is needed and you’re tempted to implement only incremental changes at first because you’re afraid to announce widespread change, you might want to think again. Sometimes the “rip off the band aid approach”, as long as the changes are well thought out, can work better in the long run. People will adjust and will ultimately benefit more from time not being wasted. I was extremely nervous before announcing the changes at M&G but my excitement over finally reaching the decision and feeling in my gut that it was the right decision helped me get past the nerves and do what’s best for the business and team as a whole. To truly implement change that will move the needle, you need to rip off the band aid.
Communicate The Why
Change is always hard. It’s human nature to resist change or anything that will bring discomfort, so if you’re the CEO in charge of a re-org, know this will happen. If people are not immediately happy or cheerful, it does not mean that the decision you’re making is wrong.
If you let everyone know the why behind the reorg and your thought process, the changes will have a higher change of being adopted. Sure, it will take more time to figure out the best way to communicate the changes rather than simply saying “this is the way it’s going to be because I said so”. For me, this communication took a LONG time to work out and ensure I was striking the perfect balance between confidence, authority, optimism, and empathy.
It has always been my philosophy that taking more time to communicate pays off, especially when what you communicate isn’t the best of news. The effort you put into communicating will be recognized, appreciated, and will usually soften the blow of whatever “bad” news you’re delivering.
Restructure Job Descriptions And Communicate
The most time-consuming part of the entire re-organization was writing and re-writing the new job descriptions for every single person in the company to make surethe descriptions were complete and reflective of where we are today in 2023.
Several of our employees came in a few years ago and have advanced tremendously beyond their original roles and so job descriptions needed to be re-done, with or without the re-org. But what I will emphasize is that transitioning the entire team to new/adjusted roles and titles is challenging. But the updated job descriptions serve as a handbook, so to speak, for how team members should begin anew. And if there is a tendency for people to revert back to their former roles, having the job descriptions to reference will be a game changer.
Once the existing job descriptions are rewritten, you can then review them for gaps and write job descriptions for the brand new positions you’ll need to hire for. But always determine the new hires after the fact because you want to make sure your mind is open to what’s possible with your existing team and if you already have pre-conceived ideas about which new roles you want to add, you may be missing out on team members with talent that are already there and excited about taking on new challenges!
Call Out Wins
Once the re-org is announced, it’s really only just beginning. You’ll have growing pains as everyone, including yourself, works to get used to the new normal. Some team members will adjust faster than others and that is to be expected. When wins occur, call them out no matter how big or small. Even if you think everyone automatically notices. The accolades and words of encouragement need to come from you as the owner and the one who initiated the changes.
Hope you’ve found this helpful if you’re currently going through a re-org or wondering where to start! If you have any comments or questions, contact us here.
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