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Submitted by Kbaker on


I started a brand new job, ready to go, listened to the podcasts and have been a student of MT for awhile. I thought I had this in the bag!

Fast forward to my first day on the job. My boss announces his resignation as he introduces me to my team. He also tells me that I will be picking up two more directs who previously reported to another division, that one of them has been fired and her last day is in 2 weeks. He tells me to learn all I can from her so I can take on her role (in which I have zero experience) in addition to management of my directs.

I am learning as much as fast as I can, my team and peers are fantastic. I am so overwhelmed and inundated with requests I don't know which way is up. I'm not even sure who I report to right now.

Any advice on how to prioritize in the midst of a corporate upheaval?

timrutter's picture

Start with the obvious....... Don't panic. You've identified the risks and gone for help, so that's a great first base.

A few things spring instantly to mind:

  • Get some face time with you bosses boss. Get his view and expectations and what succession planning that he can let you in on
  • Reach out to your new, incoming directs and start building a relationship with them even if they haven't arrived yet
  • Set expectations with the direct who is leaving of what you need from her and when you need it by then get it deligated to one of the team
  • Build relationships with your new team, they'll pull you through this, just follow the podcasts

Take all that advice you've harvested from the podcasts and roll it out. The situation is far more complicated than you expected but the advice remains the same. Get building your relationships, get organised, establish the results that are expected from you and your team and execute.

Also, good luck and we're here for you!




Andrew J Baer's picture

Concur with all that timrutter posted.  I'd also say that this is actually a really good opportunity for you. Expect to put in some late nights or early mornings, depending on your preference, but as long as you over-communicate and are deliberate, you'll have proven yourself right off the bat to your organization.  

Some other tips from someone who's gone through something very similar...

  • Take notes on everything and put in the effort to make them legible and useful
  • Constantly ask yourself: do I know my boss' top 3 priorities?  How about my boss' boss' priorities?  If you can see yourself accomplishing steps in those top 3, you're ok.  If not, look over the MT time management/scheduling casts and try blocking off two 45min periods per day for THE BIG THING
  • Establish a rhythem early
  • Do your absolute best to take care of yourself: 30min of eating where you DON'T think or talk about work, shut the electronics off at home and get at least 6hrs, etc.  If you have family, let them know your progress and struggle so they can be supportive.
  • Remember to spend time learning  about and enjoying your coworkers (peers, superiors, subordinates) as people. 
  • Start building a centralized reference library (digital, analogue, whatever makes sense to you) of all the regulations, old products, contact lists, etc. that get mentioned.  Most of the knowledge gap between you and seasoned employees can be quickly bridged by a good file and CTRL+F
  • Always take a breath and assess before reacting.  Unless someone's life is in danger RIGHT THERE you probably have at least 15min to sit and problem solve. 
  • Acknowledge mistakes are going to happen.  Just keep overcommunicationg, work hard, and you'll be ok.

Good luck, my friend - let us known how you do. 

timrutter's picture

Really good post Andrew, especially about the need to look after yourself in the middle of the maelstrom