I heard it from three of the five members of the management team during individual coaching sessions. Not all at once but over a few months. I addressed it with Mike very carefully and, not to my surprise he was aware of the feeling. Together we explored the mission critical initiatives he had managed over the past six years. Mike had made a significant contribution. Last year a change in strategy rendered the project he was spending his primary time and effort on irrelevant.
Mike ran the IT department but it had only a few people since the network service was outsourced and last year’s move to the cloud cut the workload and reduced the department headcount by one. The two left were managing the database and running special reports needed by management. They did not need a VP capable of running a major IT department with comp program to match. The opportunity to develop breakthrough technology the management team had believed in when Mike came to the company was not going to happen now as the market had shifted. Mike and the team knew it.
During our coaching session we explored how he might contribute going forward but came up without an answer. Mike was unable to find technology that could enhance the company’s drive for new revenue and profit. The changes in the ERP system that was the company’s backbone were installed and working well. It was probably time to move on to a new challenge.
The CEO knew he was behind the wave on the whole Mike situation. He valued what Mike had brought to the company but knew there was not enough IT work going on to justify the expense. At our next coaching session we discussed options and he agreed to address it with Mike immediately. Once they got it on the table an agreement was quickly made to provide some support while Mike relocated. Everybody won. Mike relocated to a more appropriate job with a company that needed him. The team became more focused. The budget now had room to add a couple of customer advocates and a salesperson to help develop new business.
Not surprisingly, the team worked better as a result. It is far better for everyone to help the Mikes of the world move on when it’s time. It is really a natural part of adjusting to change. We are essentially at full employment. Anyone who has marketable skills, particularly technical skills, can easily find work. Train, re-deploy and retain good people when you can. When you can’t, make the move both rationally and quickly.