Advice on how to offer help and let upper management know my strengths.
November 19, 2015 1:40 PM   Subscribe

Our organization is in a bit of a crisis. There were issues with staff not completing their jobs (notes are incomplete/incorrect) as well as management issues (supervisors signing off on incomplete/incorrect notes). The reorg has already started. People at the top and bottom were let go and jobs reassigned. I know that with a case like this, I wouldn't know all of the details however, being in upper management, I want to help. I have a list is skills that I can offer (process improvement, creating tools, improving morale, finding inneffiencies). I am also good at learning and plowing through mundane tasks like scheduling and billing. I am good at both discrete tasks and strategy but obviously not great at everything.

My question is how to craft an email that lets them know that I can and will do these things when I don't know what "these specific things" are.

If it makes a difference, I am in upper management however my job is not related to the crisis at hand. And after working in this role for 8 years, management may have forgotten the other skills that I have.
posted by PeaPod to Work & Money (5 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Do you know at least one issue well enough to craft a project that would help with your skills/abilities? I think that's where I'd start. A sort of catch-all, "Hey, I'm here and willing and able" might be viewed as a nice gesture, but a full plan of attack on one thing you've researched (or just know about) enough so they can just hand it off to you without having to create a plan of action for you to be involved would be a lifesaver.

Management's job is to solve the company's problems, so finding that problem you can solve with as little input from the folks who are in crisis right now would probably serve you best.
posted by xingcat at 1:52 PM on November 19, 2015 [1 favorite]

If you're in upper management, and the people to whom you want to offer help are upper management, then maybe you should just go talk to them? Invite one or more of the managers who are stuck in the middle or closely on the periphery of this thing for coffee and just find out what is going on, and what they think is needed.

Alternatively, if your boss is more in the know than you, you could talk to her about how you could be helpful.

As xingcat noted, that would allow you to propose an actual plan. A generic offer of help just means that someone has to figure out how you can be helpful, which is more work for them.
posted by jeoc at 2:20 PM on November 19, 2015 [2 favorites]

If you're in upper management, it seems you should be aware of what's going on. Why not ask specifically of you can set a meeting to discuss the process for the reorg and how you maybe be able to help? I think a long email is easily buried or brushed aside. I'd try to broach the subject in person. Show that you really want the organization to recover and you're a team player who wants to help. Sometimes I like to meet and follow up with an email, or send an email first and then go over the points laid out in the email in person.

The advantage is that with a reorg, sometimes you can use it to your advantage to position yourself in a better role, so being involved in the reorg could elevate your status and let you make decisions that could benefit you.
posted by AppleTurnover at 3:20 PM on November 19, 2015

If you're in upper management, it seems you should be aware of what's going on

Organizations work in different ways, I recognize that. This is far from the situation in my organization (& field? it seems?). Upper management manages the oars, executive directors and vice presidents and above captain the ship. There is an intentional (and at least somewhat merited) gap between the two, because losing a captain cannot derail the ship. Legal separation of entities is a barrier put up on purpose.

In my position, I'd have to catch the attention of a captain before a phone call or meeting would be on the table. I'd definitely follow a mix of the suggestions so far, with my first step (for most captains) would be a short email giving a quick (re)introduction, if needed at all, with a one sentence statement like your "I have a list is skills that I can offer (process improvement, creating tools, improving morale, finding inneffiencies)," and a very skeletal example written out to highlight how that could help in the current situation. Then ask them to call you if they have any questions.

There's a positive way to restate negative self-assessments like "I don't know what "these specific things" are." What you mean here is that you have skills that will help in any situation in general, and I would say something to that effect.

Good on you for asking. I love getting emails like this from people I work with. It's a welcome trait in a work environment.
posted by late afternoon dreaming hotel at 3:50 PM on November 19, 2015

Maybe you could offer to take care of a specific task of your own suggestion, like coming up with an ideal standard for a "note lifecycle," or other structural aspect of recent failures.
posted by rhizome at 7:36 PM on November 19, 2015

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