Aligning to Innovate After a Re-Org
Updated: Oct 21, 2022
A product manager recently asked me, “how can I improve internal communication and alignment after a big reorg and strategy revamp at my company?”
It didn’t take COVID, the Great Resignation or Quiet Quitting to throw chaos into some companies. Most organizations reorganize occasionally, but others seem to be in a constant state of change. Whatever scenario you’re living with, it's nearly impossible to innovate when teams don't understand strategic goals and their role in achieving them. Market Strategists are often relied on to get everyone working together in the new direction. Here are some tips how to do that:
Know What You’re Doing Today
The only way to communicate how the organization's changed is if you know what it looked like before. What’s your product and go to market strategy right now? What personas do you serve and what’s your current market position? What are the responsibilities of product managers versus product marketers, and who do those teams report to today? When re-orgs happen, make sure the role and strategy changes are documented and communicated with this historic context - people want to know what changed and why.
Enable Strategic Onboarding
Organizations spend days teaching new hires how to fill out expense reports, but no time at all sharing knowledge about their markets or tying corporate strategy to everyday responsibilities. During reorganization, even long-term team members may not know where the company is headed now, and newbies find it impossible to get up to speed. As the Market Strategist, create up-to-date product and marketing plans with clear illustration of how these contribute to realizing the overall corporate strategy. Short videos are great tools for this. Make sure the communications are included in employee onboarding materials by reaching out to HR and building it into the workflow.
“The one constant in life is change.” - Ben Franklin
Check in with Leadership
What if it’s leadership that’s new? The Market Strategist has a role to play in alignment here as well. The difference is, your focus is to help the new leader navigate the organization so they can more effectively communicate and implement their strategy. Acting as communications Sherpa for a new SVP is a great way to get aligned with what that person finds valuable. Also, by embracing the new direction and acting on it, you play a big role in making the shift as quick and painless as possible for all team members.
Walk the Workflow
Maybe the organization has changed so much you’re not sure who does what. If that’s the case, ask the team members you are sure of whether they have anyone new in their network. Ask your boss if they have peers they’d like you to keep in the loop. Keep asking until you start hearing the same names over and over. Pare away needless (read: unused) communication channels and revamp to meet the need of the new structure.
Ben Franklin said, “the one constant in life is change.” That is especially true in business. Establish a baseline from which change can be communicated, understand the media your new teams prefer, and you’ll be much better able to handle whatever comes your way.
About the Author
Diane Pierson is the Founder and Principal Market Strategist of Innovate on Purpose, a consultancy enabling successful product innovation for tech companies through strategic focus and powerful go-to-market strategies. Diane is also a visiting instructor at Pragmatic Institute. Contact Diane at firstname.lastname@example.org.