Submitted by 42blue on
I'd like to get the group's thoughts on whether I should contact our new CEO to get perspectives on priorities and plans.
Our organization was acquired by another about 18 months ago. My regional managment colleagues and I have recently found out that we're seen as 'barriers to change' which worries us given the purging of former executives from the merged organization.
We have a new CEO who has mentioned he has an open-door policy but has no contact with our region so far.
I'd like to take a proactive approach to demonstrating our openness to change and new initiatives. Perhaps getting a better understanding of the organizational priorities and the rationale behind some new policies, ect. would help open more effective communication channels and change perceptions.
Management between us and the CEO are in survival mode and I'm not sure they are standing up for middle management during this transition.
Any thoughts or suggestions would be greatly appreciated.
That approach would not go well for you
This isn't the CEO's problem to solve, its you and your managers' problem.
If your goal is really to understand new policies & initiatives, then you need to get that understanding from YOUR manager. The CEO's not there to explain himself/herself to everyone at every level. That's why s/he communicates down to his or her directs and so on down the line. Going and asking for a rationale from the CEO means you're effectively saying to the CEO that every manager between you and the CEO hasn't done their job.
Not only will that not be well received, the person who will get blasted is you - not every manager between the CEO and you. They have relationships going on that you're not part of. At the very LEAST you'll be known as the guy "who doesn't know what's going on in his area."
Next - what are you going to say? "I hear you see us as barriers to change and I want to prove we're not?" If CEO hasn't come out and said that, then you're just guessing as to his rationale and potentially mis-characterising his/her actions. What if you're wrong? What if you don't have all the facts (and you don't)! How will that look?
Finally, follow the MT guidance - look at the problem in an ever expanding circle starting at your desk. Then change what you have the power to change. If you and the team are responsive to change, then embrace the changes you've been asked to make. The proof is in the behaviour and that's what you'll ultimately be judged on.
I know that's not the answer you wanted, but that's my view.
Managers are communicated through
How many levels are there in the organization between you and the CEO? Work those levels, starting with your own boss. Has there been anything circulated at that level about plans and priorities that you can get a hold of? That would give you something to be proactive about that doesn't jump the chain of command.
From a different angle, just how did you "find out" that your group is seen as a barrier to change? Who said it? What indications do you have that this is an accurate representation of someone else's impression of you? "Survival mode" can make people say and hear strange things.
Houston, Texas, USA
Appreciate the advice Mark.
Thanks for follow-up Flexiblefine.
There are about 3-4 levels between the CEO and my level and I have started talking with my direct boss about options for addressing these concerns. I'm staying within the chain of command as you and Mark have suggested.
As for the barrier comment, one of the members of the board of directors actually came right out and said this to my colleagues and I. We have resisted two initiatives proposed that we felt didn't fit within the enviornment of our regions but I think it's an over reaction given that our regions have been the company's most profitable and growing. However, I feel we have to begin to be more proactive with suggestions or we will be stuck with this label.
Any other suggestions you may have would be appreciated.
I just had another thought:
If your org has communication problems (and who doesn't!) then have you thought about ways you can all communicate "up" better?
Remember that you have to keep repeating things over and over before they get completely understood. Can you do a better job of talking about your successes and making sure your actions are seen in the proper context?
We don't have a good information flow upwards at all. We provide an anlysis of the numbers each month but that's really the only info that moves up.
We can take ideas and suggestions to our boss but I'm not sure how much of that goes beyond that level. I'm proposing options for increased communication at the regional level amongst different divisions which would help increase communication throughout the company and provide increased business opportunities. We'll see if this gets off the ground or not.