Daily Archives: February 8, 2011

Your company has been purchased, , , now what?

You are out of town on a business trip and you get a phone call. On the other end of the phone is the CEO, your boss, , , and he proceeds to tell you that the company has just been sold and you now have a new boss, , , the new CEO!

This happens more than you think and happened to one of my IT Manager Institute students who called me at home late one evening upon receiving the news just like this. The rest of the message from his CEO was that his new boss wanted to have a meeting with him on Monday morning when he got back into town.

If you have ever been in such a situation, you know what races through your mind when you receive such life changing news, , , things like:

  • Will I have a job?
  • Will I like my new boss?
  • Will my benefits change?
  • Will I have to relocate?
  • Will I have different responsibilities?
  • Will things be different and will I like it?

These questions and more were certainly going through my student’s mind. The reason he called me was because he knew I had been on the other side in many company acquisitions, , , i.e., the purchasing company. He wanted my advice on what to do and how to deal with the situation!

It’s a very reasonable question for anyone encountering a situation like this.

My response was rather simple, “Step back, take a deep breath and relax, , , this could be the best thing that’s ever happened to you.”

“, , , this could be the best thing to happen to you

IT managers are detail oriented people. When we hear something new and don’t fully understand it, we analyze, , , and ultimately come up with an answer about whether this set of circumstances is good or bad. In almost all cases, detail oriented people come up with an answer that it’s going to be bad for them.

We do not come up with, “This is going to be a very good thing for me, my team, or my company.” It’s almost always, “This is NOT good.”

The problem is there is no way of knowing whether it will be good or bad until you learn more from the new boss.

What I suggested was that he go in on Monday and meet with the new CEO and ask him, “How can I be of help?”, , , and mean every word of it. You see, during an acquisition, the senior management team is looking for managers and employees who can help make a smooth transition happen. When they find them, they tend to be eager to work with them and genuinely want their help.

If you go in and show resistance or that you are not happy with the situation, , , it’s going to be an early out for you, , , but not in the best way possible. Helping the new team with a transition may still mean you lose your job, , , but it may create opportunities you never would have thought of as well.

In the case of my student, the new management team was impressed with how he handled the situation. He did lose his CIO position, but they  gave him contracted consulting work to help with the company transition and he did quite well financially the next year.

Ultimately, the contract ran out but it gave this young manager plenty of time to make a smooth career transition himself, and he learned some valuable things during the transition.

When things happen, look for the positives in the mix, , , and work hard to avoid coming up with negatives when you analyze the situation. This “terrible” thing could turn out to be one of the best things to happen for your career.

IT hiring expected to increase in 2011

Every indicator I see says IT hiring will increase in 2011. Survey after survey says things are looking up, , , at least for new jobs in the IT segment.

GREAT NEWS, , , but don’t get too excited yet!

There is also a huge challenge looming for IT managers when it comes to hiring, and I just wrote about it in an article analyzing Cutter Consortium’s 2011 IT Trends Survey.

The issue is that hiring is going to become tougher and tougher for IT managers. The ability to find qualified technology expertise is going to become more difficult, , , not easier.

There are several reasons.

First, we are about to see many IT employees start looking for another company.

Even though there have been millions of jobs lost in the past 3 years, IT was somewhat insulated, , , not completely, but to some extent. We were not impacted as heavily as other sectors like construction, retail, etc. because we took a big hit in the early 2000’s during the “Dot.com” crash, , , remember the days when so many IT people were out of work?

In the current economic downturn, general types of workers were more affected and IT was insulated unless their company downsized across the board or went out of business, , , companies had already thinned out their IT organizations during 2000-2003.

This thinning process has placed enormous pressure on current IT organizations to keep up with their company’s needs during some very tough years. Technology support need continues to increase but IT staff levels have remained relatively flat for several years.

The result of this is that for the past 2-4 years, IT employees have been “hanging in there” and content to have a job with their company under possibly difficult circumstances because the job market has been so uncertain. Now that it is looking better, we are likely going to find IT people starting to search for a better situation.

Second, the pool of qualified technology candidates has shrunk and continues to shrink in a market that’s growing in need.

Because of the “Dot.com” crash and the more recent economic challenges, college graduates majoring in computer science and similar studies have had major difficulty finding a job. When these things happen, college students tend to veer away from majoring in these specialties, , , they major in something else where they are more certain to land a job upon graduating.

Add to this diminished output of qualified candidates coming out of the colleges and universities, , ,  and then look at the loss of senior level IT employees who are retiring. The “baby boomers” are retiring or changing professions faster than colleges are producing new IT professionals, , , and with them leaving we are losing the top tier of IT talent with years of experience.

Third, as companies need more IT workers and begin hiring, , , they will be looking for your best people.

That’s right, , , your very best people are their targets. When a hiring manager has an immediate need and wants experience, he or she is going to try to find a proven candidate, , , headhunters and placement companies have a way of learning who your best people are in your company.

What this means

All of this is going to place increased pressure on the IT manager in many ways:

  1. Motivation skills become much more important in order to keep your good people.
  2. Management skills become more important to insure your team is challenged and focused.
  3. Communication skills become more important to insure there is an open path for employees to discuss their issues.
  4. Interviewing skills become more important to find and hire the best.

New hiring forecasts are good and that’s great to hear, , , but with it you are going to see some additional challenges in the future. Develop a strategy to motivate and develop your team, , , they will walk through fire for a manager they respect and know supports them.