Where Did Everybody Go?

When personnel in companies you deal with change, it’s challenging to re-establish relationships and ensure your own business continuity.

This year seems to be particularly challenging for me because so many people disappeared at the end of 2013. For some who left their employment, it was the result of company downsizing. For others, it was the start of new opportunities this year.

Whatever their reasons for leaving the companies that many had been with for decades, it makes it difficult for me to do business now. As it was said in Ghostbusters: “Who ya gonna call?”

Good news: Social media helps
Over the years, I’ve established some valued relationships with those I do business with. We’ve shared not only our business interests and concerns but also what’s happening in our personal lives, and this “history” will be missed. Fortunately, it’s easier now to maintain contact with associates, colleagues, and business acquaintances who’ve moved on to other things. If they haven’t provided their cell numbers or email, they’re easy to find and easy to communicate with via Facebook and LinkedIn.

Bad news:  Back to square one

It can be daunting to continue to do business with companies after a change in their personnel. For some projects that were being shepherded by an employee who has left the company, it can mean starting over with the person’s replacement. Patience and persistence is necessary to bring the new person up to speed.

In some cases, the right person to deal with is not easy to discern or obtain contact information. In some cases, whole departments have disappeared, making it all-the-more difficult to get things done.

Conclusion
The extensive change in personnel that I’ve recently experienced has taught me some valuable lessons:

  • I’m more sensitive to how customers perceive changes in staff. Customers get used to dealing with certain people and change is difficult.
  • I’m more proactive in following up on projects that have been left dangling. There may be no one at the other end to do this.
  • I’m more philosophic about change in general. While I like my routine and have established many long-term relationships with people in other businesses, I recognize that things continually change and I have to be flexible enough to handle what’s new.

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