You are the director of the marketing department in a major corporation. Your boss, the Vice President, has implemented widespread changes in budgeting for the department as a result of decisions from the CEO and Board of Directors. There have been formal communications in the form of weekly newsletters, posters on the walls of the office, and an internal instant messaging person to answer any questions. Your department is having a difficult time accepting the changes, and one of the most influential members of the department is vowing to put a stop to the changes–something most people seem happy to have happen. This person is sowing the seeds of revolution and gaining support.
You see that this situation has the potential to go very badly. Those above you are pushing to get it done. Those in your department are rallying behind the revolution leader. You are in the middle.
What do you do?
Things to consider in the answer:
What impact could this have on acceptance or rejection of the initiative by the employees?
The CEO and Board have decided this will happen, will you approach them? If so, what is your goal with them?
Will you approach the revolution leader? If so, what is your goal with that person? What might be the outcome of the conversation with that person? How will the others in the department likely react?
What is in your thinking as you consider the situation? Are you most concerned with yourself, the company, the employees, the customers, everyone?
2 Responses: Please response to the following two posts:
Student A: “As the sitting director of the marketing department, I would utilize my authority through the realm of professionalism and protocol. I understand that the employees deserve a workplace in which they are valued and heard. Though, there is no need for rebellion and division. Instead, as director, I would contact my superiors and inform them of the concerns of those who are dependent on my leadership. If the higher-ups understood that the changes they are implementing will result in the resentment of the workforce, they may very well alter the modifications to suit the company as a whole. I would inform them that the initiative may result in the resignation of a number of employees as well. My goal ultimately is to ease the tension between the two sectors of the business. If the board understands that there is also a fiscal stability factor to consider with the implementation of the alterations, they will surely see the benefit of considering all parties involved.
I would also speak to the revolution leader. I would inform them that their concerns are heard and understandable. Afterward, I would explain why it is vital to keep the workforce and the board within a mutual understanding. A revolution has the potential of being successful. Though, creating an amicable consensus has long-term benefits. I would ensure the leader that I will not allow the employees to be unconsidered in the decision making process as a whole. It would also be necessary for them to understand that the implementations will take place all whilst informing them that I am in the process of materializing an addition of alterations that heavily favor the workforce. The employees may be frustrated that the revolution did not go as expected, but I do believe they will be relieved that their concerns will also be taken into deep consideration. My concern is for not only the department, but the entire company. “
Student B: “I feel that there are many ways this situation can go. It truly depends on the type of people you are working with. Some people can just be hardheaded and irrational while others just need an explanation or a different perspective. I try to listen to individuals’ concerns and talk to each person before making any arguments. Sometimes there are misunderstandings that need to be addressed in order to move forward with the plan. I would probably start by hearing each person’s complaints and weeding out the people who have simple misunderstandings of the changes or information they have received from others. I would approach the CEO and Board with any valid concerns that may impact the entire department. My goal with them is to represent the people in my department. While it is my job to pass down information to the department it is also my job to see the department thriving and that cannot happen if the employees are not happy at work. I would have to approach the revolution leader, that is part of representing the CEO and Board to the department. My goal with them would be to understand what their concerns are and why they are having them. I think reasoning with the rebel and finding common ground between the two parties is what would help create an environment in which people could open up to hear another perspective. Getting each side to be open to hearing the other’s concerns would be the goal for the entire situation. In the end, a company cannot bend to one person’s threat. Every action needs to be in the interest of the company, but that would be another situation. My concern is for everyone. I think there is a way to please the majority and at least get everyone on the same page. The company must be the first priority, as there are no jobs without it, but that doesn’t mean we can’t have satisfied employees. Their happiness is not my responsibility but I do feel a responsibility to ensure their comfort in coming to work each day.”