Thursday, March 24, 2011

Picking Teams: a mill update

bbwolfWhich schoolyard metaphor shall I choose?
Red Rover, Red Rover, send Carrie right over?
Mother May I? It is kind of mother-may-I, only, no... you may not.

I remember one game we played that went like this:
It: Knock Knock
Mother Hen: Who's there?
It: Big Bad Wolf
Hen: What do you want?
It: Colored Eggs
Hen: What color?

Now "It" guesses a color.  If she guesses your color, you shriek like a Drag Queen and run around the yard and try to get back to the hen house without being tagged by the Wolf.  It makes only marginal sense.  Why would a wolf, standing in front of a chicken carry on a conversation, then run…. when it could be eating the chicken?  You may have played this game as Fruit Basket, and we played Fruit Basket too, but only at slumber parties, and only when we had run out of anything else to do.

Here's what this has to do with the Mill.  If it's spring, it must be time to Restructure.

And the game goes like this:woman screaming
Manager 1: Knock Knock
Manager 2: Who's there?
1: Big New Chart
2: What do you want?
1: Specialists
2: What kind of Specialist?
1: uummm... project specialists?

We used to say, back in the cult, "People support what they help create."  This was a nice way to use minimum wage student staff and make it feel developmental.  (And it does work.  People do).  I would like to coin the maxim, "People ignore what has become tedious."  And when you are 9 levels down, it is easy to ignore.

In fact, this game has become Red Light/Green Light.  1-2-3...write your accomplishments!  1-2-3...fill out this survey!  1-2-3...rank your projects!  Now Red Light - we have nothing new to report.  We're going back to the big kids table to invent ubby-dubby so you can't tell what we're talking about.  

I sympathize.  The Lower Middle is just so excited to have something to do; they can't help but show off a little.  And even though the Big New Chart has them at the same level they are now, it is with Bigger Teams  (fanfare) and they are pretty excited about that.

Get these levels.  I don’t even know the insignia.  I just address everybody.  And I thank the guy who stocks the kitchen, just in case.
  • CEO
  • GM – who let us know yesterday that the honeymoon is over, our freebie year is up, and you’re all accountable.  I love the Accountable speech.
  • Invisible Senior Director
  • More invisible Director – in that Senior works in my building, junior does not
  • To-Be-Hired Senior manager.  You gotta love that.  I thought for sure one of our Lower Middles would apply for that, but apparently the lure of having Bigger Teams  was better reward.
  • Team managers – These are our Lower Middles – they have blog names, but I can’t put everything in the same post
  • Senior Account managers
  • less senior account managers.  It’s a money thing
  • Us and those like us.
While the GM was laying down the law yesterday, I commented to a fellow 9-er, “I think there will never be an opportunity for [her] to know my name.”  Unless she happens to blog-surf.

There are 40+ 8s and 9s in my department.  (it goes corporation-division-department-group-team-platoon-troop…. what was I going?)  And 4 Lower Middles.  To make it all even-steven we are being reassigned, and in some cases those customers in our care as well.

Here is how it going to go down.

Juu-uu-st kidding.  I don’t really know.  And I do care, but not enough to stress about it.
It is much more entertaining to do this:

chalk talk
Yesterday I got to overhear the most senior of the Lower Middle and our outgoing (but mostly visible) Director have one of these kinds of conversations:
LM:  We can do this, but then there’s this problem.
Dir:  yeh, that's a problem.
LM:  Now this one's will all need to be redistributed....
Dir: But not over here...
LM:  No - that mess this up.

Oh, shut the door, already.  And up.

So the Boss says to me – (level 6, if you are counting), “Any questions you have?”

1984“When’s it over?” I said.  I won’t sugarcoat it for you, my Readership, you know I said it.  I had asked earlier, in a group setting, whether the target (these words always appear in my head in quotes, and a Madison Avenue Helvetica) whether the target was  “as soon as you can make this happen, or is it effective next fiscal year.”
And she said, “Oh right away.”  In a spiky kind of font, like a Dennis the Menace comic, “I don’t think we can drag this out any longer.”   

excellent.  do say more….

Lately I have been working through an exercise where I play out each possible trade so I can prepare myself for how I might react.   More than 1 of my colleagues has confessed s/he will give notice if s/he gets a bad match.  I’m not thinking that boldly; I am just practicing not responding F*** Me.  Let’s take this one day at a time.

1 comment:

  1. Apparently the only thing that is constant in Corporate America is change. Some change is good and believe me in the past 34 years I have seen it happen over and over. As a result, I have worked for some real pieces of work. Hire this one, terminate (I hate that word.) two, rearrange 3 and when all is said and done, we just keep on keeping on. Our identity is not (or should not be) what we do or where we work but who we are at our core. Add to this the fact that we learn from change and in many ways grow. Hang in there!! M


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