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Effectively Managing New Teams After a Reorg

Reorganization
Changing Company
New Manager

1 February, 2019

Seth Falcon
Seth Falcon

VP Platform Engineering at BlaBlaCar

Seth Falcon shares tips on acquiring and managing new teams after a reorganization process.

Problem

As your company grows you may be asked to take on more responsibilities. One of those duties could be the task of managing more teams. It will be your job as a leader to incorporate the new teams into your practices as they transition through the reorganization process. Below are actionable recommendations on how to effectively implement and manage these new teams.

Actions taken

  • When you gain new teams begin with assessing and learning, before you try to do any correcting. Observe what is already in place and try to understand how they carry along so that you can later formulate a plan to easily transition them into your operations.
  • Get a clear understanding of the purpose of your new teams and make sure that the teams themselves comprehend their own purpose. Every team should have a well-defined charter so be sure to learn what it is. If they don't have one then it will be your duty to create one.
  • Get to know team members and team leaders whom will be reporting directly to you. Build trust among your direct reports. You may find that some teams do not have a leader so think about appointing a qualified candidate to that position.
  • After your assessment of the teams then comes alignment and correcting, divided into three main parts: clarity and purpose, boundaries, and conditions.
  • First, decide what needs to be done by your team and why. Establish their purpose and remind them for continued clarity.
  • Next, put in place constraints so that people know that things must be done in a certain way. Institute boundaries and define clear rules so that teams may have autonomy down the line.
  • Last, look at the environment and resources of the team. For example, tools may need updating or to be switched. These and other conditions should set the team up for success.
  • With the addition of new teams, missions may overlap and cause confusion. These alignment issues can be resolved by setting up a framework which answers the questions of what do you need to achieve, what are the goals, and what needs to happen to get there.
  • Setup regular weekly cadence meetings with your group of team leads. Meeting together with your leadership team gives you a chance to share with them your worries while also setting up a space to review priorities. This ensures visibility and alignment through a top-down manner.
  • Consider reading the book The First 90 Days by Michael Watkins. He talks about how critical the first days in a new position can be because small differences in actions can have a big impact on long-term results. One model in the book, specifically, is an idea that categorizes a situation using the mnemonic STARS (start-up, turnaround, accelerated growth, realignment, sustaining success). Whether all of these categories are relevant doesn't matter but use it as a frame as you transition into acquiring new teams.

Lessons learned

  • Spend time with all of your teams, but especially the new ones. This way your vision is cast over everyone and you will be better able to distinguish where your focus and attention is best spent.
  • Clarity is derived from the top-level. The clearer your plan is for the transitioning of new teams, the better organized your teams will be, and the easier it will be for team members to achieve the necessary goals and objectives that you have outlined.
  • You won't be able to keep tabs on everything. Acknowledge that fact and let that be okay. Decide where your time is best spent and prioritize. Give high functioning teams and team leads autonomy where deserved while focusing on teams that need a little more guidance.

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