I'd like to get your views on the following topic:

How do you communicate an org change to your directs which includes changes to the reporting line (actually introducing a new layer in between the directs)?

What is the trade off between pre-wiring the change during one-on-ones versus having everyone receive the communication in a team meeting at the same time?

Thank you for your feedback.


jhack's picture

What does "introducing a new layer between the directs" mean?  Are some being promoted above others?   

John Hack

dieter_berz's picture

Good question, John.

There is no formal promotion involved. It's a move from 1 to 9 to a (1 to) 3 to 8 system. 1 of the three currently is with the 9; 1 is in a different reporting line today but more senior than the 8; 1 is the current "1".

Hope this makes sense.




jhack's picture

Perhaps my industry doesn't use those systems....

Is that some kind of matrix?   I don't know what "a move from 1 to 9 to a (1 to) 3 to 8 system" means in terms of who reports to whom.  

John Hack

dieter_berz's picture

Sorry that I've been cryptic.

Today: 1 manager with 9 directs

Future: The manager continues to perform his role; a new mgmt level will be introduced with 3 managers (the current manager, 1 manager from a different unit and 1 promotee) with the remaining 8 directs. The current manager will remain to be line manager of the promotee but not of the other manager.


peterlevy's picture
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Here's my read:

Current structure is Manager with 9 DRs.

New structure has 1 Director, 3 Managers, who have 8 DRs between them.

The 3 Managers in the new structure are made up of: the current manager; someone from another division; and one of the current DRs.

So I guess the DRs are a layer further from the top than they used to be, is that the issue?

How'd I do, Dieter?

jhack's picture

Is the director new?   Or does the current manager report to the director, and the director is changing the span of control?  

The decision's been made, so you're not really "prewiring."  It's more a pure communications issue.  And the details are important in how you (or someone else) communicates the changes.  

John Hack

dieter_berz's picture

You're interpretation is almost correct, Peter. The current manager will perform both: the Director and one of the Manager roles. And while the role won't change, the perception you stated is the issue.

John, the current manager is the "Director" in this picture (as well as one of the Managers). So the span of control is changed. However, the Director role will become more of a janitor with the P&L responsibility being delegated down to the 3 managers (of which the Director is one).

While the decision is made the details are not ironed out (who goes into which box, whether directs will change their role moving into another department, etc.). But you're right: it's a communication issue. Still the question is which sequence works better? First to all and then following up one-on-one; or one-on-ones followed by a communication to all.


cruss's picture
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BLUF: For the communications issue, you might start with the "Change Initiative" (Part 1 and Part 2) casts which talk about communicating changes.

I have to admit that I'm still confused about the Org you are describing. This may make more sense on a flow chart but I'm not getting how John can be the director and one of the managers. Do the other managers report to (and receive reviews from) John? If so it sounds like John is just a director with two managers reporting to him. If not then there must be some other "Director" up the org chart that they report to. If you are really trying to have three managers cooperatively manage a team, you may see if you can rearrange it. It sounds like not all of the decisions have been made.

I think an important point Mark has made before is everyone has to have only one boss.(I think it was in the "How big a team" cast)  They describe this as putting "two in a box", filling one management slot with two people. My best approximation of who your boss is, if it's not clear from the org chart, is who performs your annual review. That is the person you are most likely to listen to and treat as a "boss".

I hope you are describing three managers, reporting to some "Director" up the chain, and a total of 8 directs between them. Even if John is assigned the P&L reporting as a task, if each direct has 1 manager they are reporting to then you should be OK.

Canyon R