How fitting, right? Writing a blog about change and uncertainty at a time in which the organization you’ve worked for, enjoyed doing what you do, and called home for the last six years announces it’s been acquired. What is next? How can I set proper expectations for myself and my team? The questions and anxiety start to set in pretty quickly if you give them that power. It is natural; after all, it’s our human condition to be uncomfortable with change. If you’ve been around for a while like myself, you’ve seen this a time or two. In both of my cases, neither went all that well. However, it is important not to judge based upon past experiences; this is the time that counts to me in this moment. It has the potential to be very different. It comes down to the mindset that you let have control as you navigate the waters of change and uncertainty.
Communication. Communication. Communication.
Change can bring silence from decision makers; it can mean you feel disconnected. This is to be expected in an acquisition as there are a lot of moving pieces, a lot of things that need to be addressed, and plenty of things to sort out. This is a time where it becomes especially important that your team knows the destination. Transparency is key. Your people need to know where they are headed, and it is vital you share as much as you know with your people during a change such as this. Make certain they know that you will keep the lines of communication open as things go through the process of getting figured out, and that if they are not hearing from you it is not because you are hiding.
The danger of not communicating the known and not keeping transparency within the organization at a time like this is that people will develop their own ideas of what will soon be. These ideas become stories, these stories spread, and soon a good culture you’ve worked hard to build and maintain turns into a lost cause seemingly overnight. I’ve seen it – don’t do it. At the same time, it is very important to know that you as the person managing your team through these headwaters will not have every answer to every question every time. It likely won’t work that way, at least doesn’t seem to anyway. The key to keeping the boat afloat is to communicate. Communicate often so your team knows they can have faith and trust in you and the process. If that communication is to the team as a whole, in your weekly meetings, or both, constant communication is the best sauce and will keep you sailing in the right direction. Change can take many forms. It can be an acquisition. A reorganization. A personnel change. A legal change. It may not always be as simple as this, but open and often communication is the foundation, folks.
I hope you find this helpful someday as you may find yourself navigating the waters of uncertainty. Feel free to share. What would be the message you’d like to hear in a time of change and uncertainty from your management team? Or what has helped you make change easier for your organization? Comment below.
Bob Malik, AurStaff Branch Manager
Bob has been with AurStaff for over five years and has experience in transportation, operations, capacity management, and account development. In his spare time he enjoys getting outdoors and spending time with his family.