September 9th, 2015 Systems posted by dmerritts View Comments

The Right Way to Restructure a Team or Company

Restructuring causes chaos. Layoffs sucks. Unfortunately, every leader needs to do it from time-to-time. It never gets emotionally easier, but recovering from it with dedication and renewed trust from your team is achievable.

Do It Once, Do It Right

Morale is often the largest hit of a restructuring. To maintain a one-time morale reduction and a collective path forward, it’s best to only have a single occurrence to create a new normal. Slow, pre-announced, and prolonged layoffs ensure that your teams are in fear of losing their job and all progress stops until everyone feels safe again.

Robust Communication

A successful restructuring requires a lot of planning and communication. The more robust the communication plan the better everyone comes out of it. This starts with the top, but must be clearly understand to each manager in the organization. Leaders must make themselves highly available during the transition times.

Dignity

Whether it’s firing a co-founder or laying off a large percentage of people, you must ensure that the departing employees feel like they’re being treated fairly and with dignity.

I  learned a lot of this watching Ben Horowitz gracefully do it while I was at Loudcloud. He talks about it here and here. Great advice!

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