I used to work for a large financial company that restructured every few months. The team I was in had about 5 changes of direct report (ie which manager and department we were positioned in) in about 3 years. That’s a lot. You seldom saw any results of the changes – as soon as things started to work out ok, it was changed again on you.
I kind of got used to it. When upper managers leave and are replaced by new people with new ideas, the trickle down effects start to come through as the replacements change roles and responsibilities just under them, and so forth. Sometimes it’s tedious, sometimes it works, sometimes it’s really good, sometimes it’s shocking. It’s very personality driven. Upper management tends to put people under them of the sort of people they want under them.
My current company is ripe for some changes. We recently had a change of top manager – who has been making interesting decisions. Last year some redundancies were announced which caused a lot of angst, worry, and delight, depending on who you were and what department you were in. I did this painting above to illustrate it. Just to make it clear – I was one of the dudes high fiving on the right. I have been looking forward to some change for a long time, I am not the only one.
There is a Frank Herbert quote I’m very fond of that sums up what one of the main problems with companies that need change and new direction but don’t get it:
“Bureaucracy destroys initiative. There is little that bureaucrats hate more than innovation, especially innovation that produces better results than the old routines. Improvements always make those at the top of the heap look inept. Who enjoys appearing inept?”
I question processes and reasons why we need to do things. I question a lot of things. I’m an artist and I see things differently, I’m a test analyst and I will attempt to validate processes/people/decisions all the time, not just systems and code. If inputs don’t equal outputs, and things are happening for for no gain but their own ‘importance’ to a process – I will ask why.
So… I ended up on a team day yesterday that I had been dreading (if you know if you read a prior post of mine) but which turned out astonishingly good. It really looks like some actual, real, good, change is coming, this time from the top down (so it will have success, as pushing up to change against resistant bureaucratic thinking just causes failure and frustration) and some of the really big issues overhanging us that are inherent in our company culture were ACTUALLY DISCUSSED. I have a tendency to point out the elephant in the room which can really work for me or against me – (I am not a diplomat by nature, shall we say) and some elephants got brought right out. It was actually a fun day, too. And yes, the lunch was delicious.