Talking blue skies: risk of redundancy

In the first of his monthly “Talking Blue Skies” columns, management consultant Des Budd answers your work-related problems

Q: A recent inspection of my council’s services said we are not doing well. As a middle manager I have been informed that we are going to be restructured and my job is at risk. What should I do?

A: I love restructuring management systems as much as Colonel Kilgore in Apocalypse Now loved the smell of napalm in the morning – they both mean victory. This kind of shake-up usually helps those who aren’t up to the job leave. But remember you can master your own destiny. To quote The Clash, Should I Stay or Should I Go? – sing it to yourself as if it was a Buddhist mantra.

Nothing will convince your superiors more to keep you on than your own enthusiasm for change. Start with nodding sagely whenever someone mentions the “C” word. Interject during conversations with senior managers phrases such as: “personalising services is the paradigmatic vision for the 21st century” or “multi-agency interfacing dirigiste frameworks”. Be on top of the latest reforms by suggesting that Lord Laming’s National Safeguarding Delivery Unit must go local.

If crunch time does come and it’s time to discuss your golden goodbye insist on applying for vacancies in the change agent/ transformation/innovation/local oversight consultancy. Councils often take the people they make redundant and employ them in some new quango-type body.

Finally, remember rule seven in the management consultants’ handbook: “A redundancy is an opportunity for personal development.”

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