The Rigors of Restructuring: Lessons in Leadership
“You need to let six people go.”
Those were the instructions I received from my new management right after I was promoted to head of the department and the company was divided in half. My employer—a multimillion-dollar construction company with operations in several countries—was in the process of splitting into two different companies. It was agreed that until all financial matters were settled, the company would be separated into two clusters, each with its own management. Each cluster would operate in different countries, independently, and would maintain the employees already allocated to those countries at the time of the split.
The department I worked for, the PMO, would also be separated in two (one for each cluster). I was given the choice to either become the PMO head of Cluster 1, or follow my supervisor at the time to Cluster 2. I chose the former, as it was an advancement to my career. The function of the PMO would be to plan and coordinate the cluster’s resources, provide costing support to the projects, recruit new personnel, and maintain the company’s knowledge base.
After the split, the PMO of our cluster inherited 16 people—far more than required to meet the needs of the department. I was therefore not surprised to receive the instructions to reduce the number of resources. There were, however, two issues of
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