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It’s been a long time since my “Reflections” post, almost nine months! The last time I posted, I was starting a new journey with a new company, and wow, what a ride! The company has gone through some tough times; I’m not going to sugarcoat it. The week I accepted the offer, they declared bankruptcy! It turns out it was a Chapter 11 reorganization done as part of a change of ownership. I had known about the pending change of ownership; the bankruptcy was a bit of a surprise. It’s turned out ok so far.

The company cleared bankruptcy in the minimum amount of time and started rebuilding. In IT, we’re still reorganizing to match the reduced size of the company and a more pragmatic and lean stance toward hardware, software, and people. Sadly, there were some staff reductions, which is always hard. The good news is that my experience running a lean IT team has come in very handy. There were a lot of extra software and network services that we’ve been able to cut due to the changes in management style. Like half a million dollars of changes.

When I say management style, I’m not just talking about the differences between my predecessor and me or between the current and previous CIOs. The change has been from CEO on down. We’re on our second CEO since I  started, and almost the entire senior leadership team has changed. There has been a lot of “out with the old and in with the new” culture change, and let me say it’s caused a bit of introspection on my part. At my old company, I was old school and skeptical about how the new leadership wanted to change the entire culture of the company overnight. Now I’m the new guy trying to help reshape company culture!

The key is to be respectful to the folks who have been around for a long time and have built the base we are expanding upon now. At the same time, we all need to have a hard, honest look at the parts of the corporate culture that led to excessive spending and poor practices resulting in bankruptcy and buyout by a debtor. Now that I’ve been on both sides of that coin, I can empathize with how both sets of people feel about the changes that inevitably occur when you change the whole leadership of a company. I think it’s made me a better leader.

Of course, the biggest strength of any leader is their team, and I have a damn good one. I’m not just saying that because they might read this, either. We have been through a rough year and still have a lot of hard work ahead of us. We still have room for improvement in many ways, but in the ways that matter, we have a good core team to continue building.

We also still have a lot of building to do. I’m learning that, typical of many larger midsized companies; this one is way ahead in some ways and way behind in others. We are finally fully rolling out Office 365 and modernizing and simplifying much of the network design. Overall, we’re on track to start 2023 in a better place from a technological and budgetary standpoint. I’m proud of our work thus far and will be even more proud when we pull off the plans for the last quarter of the year!



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