Reorganizations and You

One way large organizations can create confusion but also opportunities is when they reorganize their corporate structure. There may be multiple reasons for this sort of change, including: improving efficiency, reducing costs, or shore up performance in one particular area by putting the group under a new, different, or more effective leader. The good news with reorganizations is that they (usually) don’t lead to tech writer layoffs. Today I’ll talk a little bit about the joys of a “reorg.”

The most “mobile” organization I’ve worked with so far is the Guest Letters department at Walt Disney World. When I arrived in the department, they were just shifting from Guest Relations (theme parks) to Marketing (all of Walt Disney World). Not too long after that, someone decided that, no, Guest Letters should fall under Finance so that the costs of various aspects of our work (guest complaints, not just the cost of our operations) were affecting the bottom line. If I recall correctly, we got moved again under a more general part of the Administration section. The down sides of these shifts included:

  • New managers with different priorities.
  • New cubicle locations.
  • New reports.
  • Occasional mis-fits for the team.

The positive aspects of these shifts included:

  • Opportunities to learn different parts of the Disney Parks and Resorts organization.
  • More resources (money in the budget) to increase the size of the team and improve the types of recognition available.
  • No change in our fundamental mission: respond to guests.
  • Overlapping holiday parties one year.

As you can see, like any human activity, there can be tradeoffs. No corporate change is an unmitigated joy or disaster. Unless a reorganization occurs because of your particular organization’s performance, the odds are that you’ll deal with more confusion than fundamental changes.

If your organization was a primary cause of the reorg, however, you are likely to see more changes. If your organization’s performance needed improving, you’ll find you and your team facing new demands, increased standards and oversight, and possibly new projects. You might have to improve your performance to prove yourself to the new boss(es). Some of your leaders might lose their jobs. If you’re a manager and you were part of a project that was failing, you could be among them. If your organization was doing well and others are hoping to duplicate your performance, you could find yourself providing coaching to people in other, unrelated departments.

May your corporate adventures prove successful.

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About Bart Leahy

Freelance Technical Writer, Science Cheerleader Event & Membership Director, and an all-around nice guy. Here to help.
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1 Response to Reorganizations and You

  1. Larry Kunz says:

    Thanks, Bart, for raising an important topic that’s rarely talked about.

    It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a Tech Pubs team is often an afterthought when more influential and “mission critical” parts of the company are reorganized. As a result, it happens a lot, and we often find ourselves in strange alliances with groups like Finance (as happened to you) or Operations (as recently, and briefly, happened to me).

    So, as you said, we roll with the punches and look for ways to contribute to the larger organization. And if we get invited to two holiday parties, so much the better. 🙂

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