The deep end…

We’re reorganizing. By my count that brings me up to the 5th full scale reorg I’ve participated in since coming to work for Uncle in 2003. For purposes of this discussion I’m leaving out the myriad of minor moves, tweaks, and changes that have only tangentially touched whatever position I happened to occupy at any given time. If those were included, we’d easily be well over one reorg a year. As it is, one major reorganization every other year feels like it happens far more often than it really needs to.

Reorganization. Realignment. Operational efficiency. Synergy. Improved customer focus. Empowered team members. Leveraged resources. Cross-leveled workload.

Yep. All the right buzz words are there to make sure that this reorganization gets it just right and that six months from now we won’t all be engaged in a counter-reorg to undo most of what was just done. Except of course that we will. Maybe not in six months, but certainly before the year and a half mark some or all of this brave new structure will fall away as ungainly, unworkable, and ultimately unsustainable. They all do in the end.

There will be some new boss at echelons higher than reality who, applying every little thing he thinks he learned at B-school, will have some brave new scheme for how things can work better. Or he’ll need a job for a favored underling. Or he’ll just want to “leave his mark” on the organization.

Big organizations are surprisingly resilient to the finicky twiddling of the Olympians on high. They tend to muddle along despite what damage transient leaders try to do to them. Organizational inertia pushes things along, ensuring that today looks a lot like yesterday and that tomorrow won’t look all that much different. Wait a while and all the changes, both good and bad, will be undone in favor of some other idea. There will always be another reorg just over the horizon. They ebb and flow like the tides.

For some reason I can’t help but think about a ship steaming across the deep ocean. A massive tsunami may pass under its keel unnoticed and unremarked. It’s only when that vast wave washes up on a far shore that it’s really a problem. Get too attached to what you’re doing and where you’re sitting and you’re the one sitting on the shore… but if you stay out there in the deep water, you can just watch it slide on past and inflict its damage on other people.

If anyone needs me I’ll be out here paddling in the deep end until this whole thing blows over.

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