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All- I am looking for a little advice. Our company is reorging a little and I have picked up another direct report. There are a couple of unique circumstances and I would like to get off on the right foot. While I am honored to be given additional responsibilities I am facing the following challenges:

1. She reported to the CEO prior (I am two levels down from the CEO) and I am not sure how much direction/management she has been given over the years. The thought is that I will be able to do more day to day management.
2. Formal reviews/goals/achievement/job description records are pretty thin. If it was a peer or anyone other then the CEO I would sit down and discuss.
3. I was given 12 hours notice of the change and had very little time to game plan. She is our one man marketing/advertising/PR department. I currently manage our Financial Operations (accounting) so this is a new skill set that I need to manage.

I think this is a good move for the CEO (freeing him up to focus on more strategic ideas), the company (a little more bang for our marketing dollars), the employee (everyone appreciates a well defined job and structure) and myself (another area of influence) but I don't want to stumble out of the gate.

Questions:
1. How to I go about discussing the change/position with the CEO?
2. How do I manage an area where I have little experience or knowledge (think I need to brush off the coaching pod cast at least)
3. Any other tips or advice (or thread if this topic has already been covered)

I can certainly provide more details if needed. Thanks for any and all input. Roger

ashdenver's picture

Right or wrong, my gut instinct says ...

Schedule some time with the new report asap and just talk to her.

"Tell me about what projects you have on your plate right now."

"Do you need any resources to complete these tasks?"

"What was your business relationship with CEO like? How often did the two of you meet to discuss project status, career development, assorted other issues, etc?"

"Did that work for you? Would you like to see any changes in that methodology?"

"Well, with my current team, I generally do 1:1s (frequency) - but why don't we play things by ear to start with and see how things go."

That will buy you time to cobble together a plan for managing her and these new responsibilities. The way I look at it is if she can 'teach' me what's going on, I'll be more inclined to give her a great review (she knows her stuff, is willing to share information, is goal oriented, a team player, etc.) and possibly put her up for a promotion based on her fantastic abilities.

If she's a snot about sharing info, being cold & giving the 'tude that "you're my manager, you should know this stuff or else they should make ME a manager if I have to do your job for you" she's got little business being part of the company, or at least my team.

Getting a feel for what she's accustomed to and laying the groundwork for "a work in progress" so you have flexibility to adapt as the need arises.

*two cents*

IndianaRoger's picture

Thanks Ashdenver! My meeting today went really well. I used several of your questions verbatim (along with some others). I also had an unrelated meeting with the CEO and he expressed an interest in getting together to discuss the shifting of responsibilities.

If any one wants to add their *two cents*, I will monitor the tread for a while.

juliahhavener's picture

I definitely think that a meeting with the new DR should be high on the priority list. I'm glad to see that contact has already begun and well from the sound of it. Continue your O3's, it will give you a great deal of valuable information. One of the surprising things I've learned in recent years is that you really *don't* have to be an expert in a given area to be a phenomenal manager of people who do that job.

I think that a similar discussion should be held with the CEO. This reorg is all about allowing better management of all your company's resources. Spending an hour with you going over this DR's goals, prior management, and an overall view of your CEO's vision for her and her departmental goals is a grand improvement over his spending that time on a weekly basis (or worse, not spending it and wasting a valuable company resource). I would ask very similar discussions re: current projects, marketing goals, v-i-s-i-o-n.

Mark's picture

Glad you've met with her.

I wouldn't ask her how she worked with the CEO, because you're not the CEO, and she NOW REPORTS TO YOU. You certainly don't want to send her any messages that you're going to manage the CEO's way, or that there has not been a change.

And to her, it's surely a devastating change. I'd be willing to bet she got no negative feedback. She may be smart enough to think that there was some that wasn't shared, or, maybe not. But it doesn't matter... this is NOT GOOD FOR HER.

You're her boss. Treat her as well as you would anyone else (which is to say, like your mother would want you to).

I would ask for 15 minutes of the CEO's time to find out (a) why, and (b) recommendations and guidance on her abilities and projects. The fact that you are two levels down means he likely DOESN'T want a report from you, but may still meddle to make her feel better. You'll just have to get used to that... ;-)

Pay close attention to her interest in talking directly to him. If she oversteps, you're the one that will get that feedback.

Mark