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.