Your Performance Improvement Resource from BEI
– Event or Organizational Change?
is not just an event that reduces the number of personnel within
your organization; downsizing affects processes, culture and systems
(which include structures, objectives, alignment, facilities,
technology, etc.) as well. As such, it is very helpful to view
downsizing just like any other change initiative your organization
may go through – and view downsizing as a change that should be
your organization has recently downsized (or is about to do so), it
is essential to recognize your actions as an organizational change
– and not simply a reaction to the market or poor business
If your organization has not carefully considered the future
state, but perhaps downsized in response to a declining customer
base or an abrupt change in the competitive environment, now is the
time to plan.
Without a clear vision of the future state of the
organization, the changes involved in downsizing will all be
reactionary and not managed.
is important to recognize that downsizing, like any organizational
change, will affect your people, processes, culture and systems.
It is also important to realize that a change in any one of these
elements will impact the other three – so even if a downsizing
appears to only impact the number of people available to do the
work, it will most likely have a noticeable influence on processes,
systems and culture as well.
most obvious impact of downsizing impacts the people who remain with
the organization. To manage this change effectively, pay
attention to what people will need to do differently – what
changes will be expected of them. Will they need to do work
they previously were not responsible for (e.g., answer phones, take
messages, ship packages, etc.)? Will people be working in new
groups, with people they don’t know and who may have very
different working styles? Will people need to be moved to
different locations? Will people know what is expected of
them? Will they need new skills or need to be trained to work
new equipment or perform new tasks?
involve how your employees do their work. Downsizing can
affect the processes in your organization in a number of ways.
For example, will the old processes still function with fewer
people? Are there improvements that can be made to eliminate
non-value added steps? Are staff meetings still required if
your department now consists of you and one co-worker?
Alternatively, is there a more efficient way to share relevant
the downsizing has occurred, you will need to ask yourself if all of
the same structures are still necessary (or even still in place)?
Has downsizing removed several layers of management? With
fewer individuals, will everyone still interact the same way?
Can all of your strategic objectives still be supported? Will
everyone still report to the same people? Will everyone still
need the same degree of supervision (or deserve the same degree of
freedom)? Will downsizing affect the actual physical
structures of your workplace (e.g., do you now have three offices
for every employee?) How will you reward people, especially if
cash flow is an issue?
you will need to consider if your organization’s culture supports
or hinders its new, leaner size. Does your culture support
more intimate, smaller groups of people working on the same project
or task? Or is your organization married to several layers of
bureaucracy that can no longer be supported? How does your
organization handle and respond to conflict? Will closer or
smaller working groups increase or decrease friction between
co-workers? Can your organization support closer working
relationship between staff and management (especially upper
Conclusion – Defining
the Future State
your organization has recently downsized, it is best to look at the
changes you are experiencing just like any other organizational
change effort. By carefully examining your organizations
people, processes, systems and culture, you can begin to align them
with the (perhaps new) needs of your smaller organization.
After you ask yourself the questions above, you will need to make
decisions on how to proceed and communicate those decisions to your
organizations experience some pain when moving from a current to
future state. Careful planning along these four elements can
help lessen the impact of this transition and help support your
organization in it’s new business environment.
any downsizing, remaining employees often find they are picking up
extra work and may be doing tasks that are new to them. While
boning up your “multitasking” skills may seem like the best
approach, recent research suggests that true multitasking may
actually decrease your productivity.
is working on two separate tasks at the same time. While it is
possible to engage in two activities that use different mental
resources (e.g., talking on the phone while folding clothes), trying
to engage in two mentally demanding activities at the same time is
impossible. In these cases, what appears as multitasking is
actually repeated and rapid switching of attention from one task to
this may look impressive to one’s boss, recent studies have shown
that the time involved for an individual to mentally switch from one
activity to another can increase the amount of time it takes to
complete a task by as much as 30-50%. The more dissimilar the
task, the greater the time it takes to switch between them.
this in mind, your may want to try the following to make the most of
the time you have:
on one task at a time to avoid the inefficiencies of
“switching.” If need be, set aside two one-half hour
blocks to address groups of similar tasks (e.g., answering
interruptions whenever possible. If you absolutely must
finish a task, let others know you wish to be left undisturbed.
Posting a small “do not disturb” sign on your office door or
cubicle works well.
whenever possible – don’t think you have to do everything
communication channels open. Your staff cannot support
your efforts if they’re out of the loop.
technology whenever possible. Use email, voice mail or
Instant Messaging to keep in touch with your coworkers/customers
and accomplish tasks during “downtime” (i.e., waiting for a
flight or while your computer is booting up).
touch paper once. When you receive a report or memo, deal
with it as soon as possible. Stacking papers on your desk
only makes for more work (and a big mess) down the road.
priorities and managing time effectively is critical to managing
individual and organizational performance.
offers a time management workshop that examines particpant’s time
related behavior in 12 learning categories. Participants also
develop action plans to improve time management skills ranging from
individual attitudes to mastering time in a team environment.
completing this workshop, participants will be able to:
how they relate to time in 12 areas: attitudes, Goals,
Priorities, Analyzing, Planning, scheduling, Interruptions,
Meetings, Paperwork, Delegation, Procrastination, and Time
their time usage behavior
productivity and effectiveness of time usage
personal time management improvement plans
Time Mastery profile (a self-assessment tool), lecture and
discussion are used to teach the skills presented in this workshop.
Workshop size is limited to a minimum or 12 and a maximum of
20 in order to ensure individual attention and learning.
learn more about our services in this area, call us at 248.625.8100
or browse related course offerings at http://www.beinc-online.com/learningcenter/businessskills.asp
Web Sites Top
(CNN) -- Multitasking is a managerial buzz-concept these days, a
post-layoff corporate assumption that the few can be made to do the
work of many. But newly
released results of scientific studies in multitasking indicate that
carrying on several duties at once may, in fact, reduce
productivity, not increase it.
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