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Finding the right way to communicate the 2017 team strategy

Team reaction
Internal Communication
Reorganization
Sharing the vision
Managing Expectations

6 December, 2017

Faced with having to share a difficult message with his team, Ben decides on a multi-step communication plan.

Problem

I inherited a team from a company we acquired. We soon figured out that they had a very different culture than us at Datto. This meant that when I rolled out the 2017 vision for the team, as well as the strategy to get there, I faced a lot of pushback.

Actions taken

I devised a strategy to communicate the 2017 vision. My whole strategy was based on the fact that we could produce the same amount of code with fewer people. I needed to reduce headcount drastically without firing anyone (from 32 people to 20), so I needed a plan to communicate this. My strategy was to: 1. Have a clear vision. Not only should you have a vision, but it should be easily understandable and memorable, so that everyone can say it at any time. For this case, it was: "Help make the product line profitable". Easy. 2. Set up a coalition of people buying into this vision. Spot the key individuals who are the influencers in the team, who people listen to, and bring your vision to them before communicating it to the team. Ask for their feedback, tweak it and make sure they buy into it. 3. Set up targets to move forward. I believed we could reach the same velocity within 90 days. It was an easy goal to remember and it was actionable for the team. 4. Over-communicate progress towards the goal. I would hold meetings regularly where we would follow up on velocity and product line revenue. 5. Celebrate behaviors that head toward the goal. I would publicly send emails to the team when I observed positive behaviors.

Lessons learned

It is still a work in progress, but the transition is going quite well for now. Some people left by themselves due to a cultural misfit, but by following my strategy, the velocity reached the previous team's velocity in less than 60 days


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