A Very Inconveniently-Timed Bump in the Road & Lack of Communication

Part of my assignments this summer have been to help manage the Process Asset Library, where all of E3/Sentinel’s published documents, templates, important files etc. are housed. I have been tasked with the very manual process of archiving, updating, and/or approving each file as we prepare for the company-wide rebrand on August 1st. It is a chance for the company to really clean up their documents and transition to a consistent way to publish and access them. In doing so there is lots of manual work that must be done, and specific processes that must be taught in order to create consistency across departments. On top of this, I am helping assure that each department is aware that they are responsible for rebranding/transitioning all their own documents, as some are under the impression that the Integration/Marketing department will do it for them. Not only this, but the woman who is normally in charge of this process and who owns these hundreds of documents at the moment recently submitted her two week notice. At the moment, there is a significant lack of communication between the Executive Leadership Team and the various departments this affects. No one has figured out where all that work goes; all we know is that it makes our lives much more complicated due to the fact that even if we brought someone on to take over her specific position, they wouldn’t know the items well enough to sufficiently assist in the move. Therefore, all her tasks and responsibilities are to be divvied up, and it doesn’t seem as though we have the bandwidth to support this currently. I have been in various meetings with different departments and people at various levels in the company where I’ve heard them saying inconsistent things about what is happening due to this situation. I didn’t expect it to escalate to this level of disorganization with all these moving parts due to the employee leaving.

 

As an intern I’ve felt unsure of my place to say anything on the matter, but in speaking with my supervisors with whom I feel close enough to do so, thanked me for my observation and suggested that I try to set up some meetings with the individuals who don’t seem to be on the same page. The issue seemed to be that they would all be having meetings separately in smaller groups that I was a part of. I know sometimes it can be hard to conduct meetings with large groups, but at least everyone can be expected to be on the same page at the conclusion of the meeting. From there in the next two weeks, I’ve set up some combined meetings to try to assist with the lack of communication due to the sudden lack of leadership. I’ve even received some messages of thanks from people who felt they were too busy to be able to figure out a time for everyone they wanted to speak to to meet. It felt good to be able to take some reigns and help out in the background to resolve an issue I couldn’t let sit by, otherwise the process would have taken twice as long. Although it felt kind of weird to be telling adults when to meet to basically talk out their issues and get on the same page, I’m glad they respect my opinion as an intern and trust my judgement as a student and implementer of leadership. I feel like I’ve noticed companies are run much more “casually” than someone in college might think. My father has told me many times that there is no rulebook; no one actually knows what they’re doing but adults are really good at pretending and I’ve now seen this firsthand. Not that it’s a bad thing; I’m actually looking at it in a good way meaning I’ve got a lot of time to figure it out and don’t always need to know the answers even as I move up in the business world. As one of my supervisors said, “Situations like this can get quite messy as you can see but it all comes together in the end.”

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