I had a long talk with a friend this morning, a senior executive at a financial services firm.  He’s lucky.  He still has a job.  But he took a big pay cut and feels like the dumping ground for responsibilities left hanging when people were laid off.

My friend is being asked to do much more, for much less.  And his leadership team is so occupied with difficult lay-off’s, they haven’t come forward to define what next.  My friend feels deflated.  If he feels this way, imagine how less diligent, less committed players feel.

We tried to figure out what my friend could do to feel more in control.  We landed on a few actions that might help others who feel stalled in their tracks and leaders who are laying-off while trying to motivate the keepers at the same time.

Action breaks stalemates

1.  Delineate jobs in writing. Every job is a new job after a big reorganization.  Discuss, negotiate, agree on what role each individual will play.  If your boss doesn’t do it, write your own role delineation.  Discuss it with your boss.  Get on the same sheet.  You won’t take risks or commit big if your role is ambiguous.

2.  Find a vision that faces reality but offers a path out of the storm (even if the probability of success is low).  The worst thing a company can do is have no plan.  If the leadership doesn’t offer a vision, pull a group together, and co-create it yourselves.  At least you’ll have a straw man to get the conversation going.

It’s easy to slip into stalemate when there’s turmoil.  We agreed that any leader in his/her right mind would appreciate my friend’s initiatives to organize and move forward.  That’s the big idea.

Mary Vonnegut
PrimeGenesis Executive Onboarding