If there is one thing to be said of working in a Silicon Valley startup, it’s that nothing stays the same for very long.
The boss you have this week, the direct reports you have this month, and the CEO at your quarterly meeting are all up for grabs. In these parts, every day is a new opportunity for “reorganization.”
In five and a half years at Twitter, I saw my share of jobs, bosses, and teams. It’s natural, of course, when you watch a company grow from 50 to 5,000, that things change. And change. And change some more.
And, although on a macro level it’s what you want — you want your company to succeed, don’t you? — on a personal level it doesn’t always feel like that.
Because every change comes with its own share of growing pains. In my time at Twitter, some changes were welcomed with enough Twitter-bird cupcakes to fill you up for days. Others, not so much. I remember one coworker whining about having had seven bosses in three years. He wasn’t alone.
In those wacky years of watching reorganization after reorganization at the hands of massive growth, I learned a few things about staying Zen that can help anyone deal with organizational transition. It turns out (spoiler) the things I learned were mostly about people.
Here they are:
Get an Anchor: The best thing you can do if you’re not sure what team you’ll be on tomorrow is to find an anchor in a great mentor or professional champion. Someone who can have your back, yes, but be there to provide insight and advice if and when things get messy.
No, Get Three of Them: Remember that whole thing I was saying about how the folks you work next to might not be there tomorrow? No matter if they’ve moved to a different floor or a different zip code, you’ve got to be prepared. So, don’t get one anchor. Get three of them.
Get an Outlet: Aside from a older (or younger) wiser soul to help give you professional direction, you also need an outlet. Someone with whom you can talk shop and share your woes in equal measure.
No, Get Three of Them: OK, you get the drill. Things change. Get three outlets and keep them close, bribing them with regular trips to Starbucks during hectic days.
Overwhelmingly, companies are about people. Sure, we all know that, but when you’re watching a startup grow quickly it can often feel that like that’s the furthest thing from the mind of the (growing) concrete mammoth. More floors. More offices. More bureaucracy.
And, although growth means more people, it often means you know everyone less than you ever did when than things were small and cozy. Nip that in the bud by remembering to value the people more even as the startup grows. Find your anchors (and your outlets) to weather the storm.
For more from Claire, read her free ebook on developing a morning routine, check out her blog, follow her on LinkedIn, or find her on the Twitters via @claire.
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