Clenched Fists Work Well in Cage Fighting, Not in Organizational Change

“You can’t shake hands with a clenched fist.” 

Indira Gandhi

Whether you are going through a change at the team, business unit or organization level, expect to experience a communication snafu or two as roles and boundaries are tested and defined. The opportunity / challenge is to manage through these moments as effectively as possible.

I recently received a professional certification from Daniel L. Shapiro, PhD., the faculty at Harvard University and coauthor of Beyond Reason: Using Emotions as You Negotiate. Shapiro confirmed the criticality of gaining role clarity from you manager and how to do it.


Ask your boss these four key questions in a neutral and safe way (translation: without a lot of attitude):

  1. What are my responsibilities?
  2. What decisions should I be involved in?
  3. How do I ensure that I get the information I need to do what I am expected to do?
  4. Is there any advice you can give me that would prevent this from happening again?

Result: Your manager will respect your actions to work reduce the drama that can be present during organizational change.  Good luck.

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Sandra Schwan

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