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You’ve been ‘mapped into a role’. Now what??

by | February 2, 2018

With so much transformation around at the moment, you may have started the year with the news that you’ve been successfully ‘mapped into a role’ within a new organisation structure.

If things have been uncertain for a while, then you’ll be forgiven for wanting to at least take a moment to breathe a sigh of relief and wait for the dust to settle!  But far from sitting back and waiting for things to happen around you, now’s the perfect time to get on the front foot and ensure this situation is a positive and decisive move for you, rather than a role you simply sleepwalk into.

So if you or your team is in this situation, here are some practical things you can do to help you hit the ground running…

Tap into your emotional intelligence

If former colleagues are walking out the door with severance packages, you’re probably feeling mixed emotions right now. Relief, excitement, disappointment, survivor’s guilt, a sense of anti-climax maybe?

Paying close attention to your emotions can give you useful insight into what’s really important to you and how you want your life to change moving forward. If you were to put a label on the main emotion you’re feeling, what would it be? And what information does this give you that it could be useful to act on?

If it’s relief that you’re staying because you’re not confident about your job prospects elsewhere, what can you do now to strengthen your CV so you feel less vulnerable in the future? Do you need to refresh some skills? Learn some new ones?

Maybe you’re feeling disappointment that you’re not leaving with a financial package that would have paid the mortgage/school fees/taken you on a world cruise. What changes can you make outside of work that will give you greater financial independence so you can do some of these things anyway?

Maybe the prospect of redundancy has been the first time you’ve allowed yourself to contemplate what other roles are out there and this role now feels like an anti-climax because you recognise you’re actually ready for a much bigger career change.

If you recognise that you’re not yet feeling excited about this new opportunity, what will it take to have you fully firing on all cylinders for the year ahead?

Perform your way through the ambiguity

Being told that you’ve been mapped into a role may actually mean that you have a job title on an org chart, but not much more than that initially!

You may not have 100% clarity because key decisions still need to be made higher up the chain, but avoid falling into the trap of ‘waiting for more information’ because that time may never come. A whole first quarter can easily disappear while people wait for clarity, and this isn’t good for business and it’s not good for you. At the end of the year, you’ll be measured on a whole year’s performance even if you only had formal objectives in place for part of it.

You’re the role holder and are well placed to make recommendations about how things can be done differently moving forward. So act your way towards greater clarity rather than wait for it to be fully defined by someone else. Start some projects your customers will value, make recommendations about new ways of working, and improve the problem areas you see in front of you. Early successes will keep you feeling motivated, show you add value, and allow you to start shaping this role as you think it can best be done.

Don’t delude yourself that you can do two people’s jobs

If resources have been cut in your area, make sure you’re taking this opportunity as a team to reassess how you’re doing things and agreeing what work is (really) not going to get done as a result.

A transformation is absolutely the opportunity to take slack out of the organisation, create more efficiencies and find new and innovative ways of doing things. It’s not about doing all the things you were doing before but with half the resource. The only place that’s heading is burnout, stress and diminished performance.

So avoid the trap of saying yes to things you really should be saying no to, just because you’re feeling grateful for still having a job. Start as you mean to go on by setting and managing realistic expectations with all of your key stakeholders, at all levels in the organisation. You may be closer to the ground than some of the decision makers, and if resource decisions are being made that may compromise key customer projects, it’s important they know that sooner rather than later and can redeploy resource appropriately.  Being a hero and taking on more than can possibly be expected by one person is probably just storing up bigger problems later on.  It’s your reputation at stake.

Treat the situation like you would a brand new job

If you’ve been automatically mapped into a role by HR/your management team because it’s equivalent to something you’ve already been doing in the organisation, you won’t have mentally prepared yourself for it in the same way you would if you’d proactively decided to apply for a brand new job elsewhere. You may not even have known a re-org was about to happen in your area.

Set yourself up for success in this re-org by approaching it with the same discipline you would a new job; identify some quick wins, establish success criteria for the year ahead, expand your network, identify the new projects/skills that will enhance your CV, and regularly assess how you can reap enough from this opportunity to keep your career moving forward.

Above all, avoid sleep walking into a situation that may not have been of your choosing in the first place. You may have been mapped into a role that suits your organisation, but you’re absolutely not a passive bystander in this process. This is your career and you continue to be in charge of it.

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