Lyft Product Lead on How To Ship During A Company Pivot (Part 2)

During any company pivot, your circle of influence can affect people’s actions. And yes, these actions can event impact a new CEO. You can also influence what your peers and teams think about change, but you can’t control what they think.

Your circle of concern might include reminding people that gossip doesn’t actually do anything about the situation. A big company pivot might include restructuring and maybe even people losing jobs. Still, talking about it all the time won’t change reality. Skillful change management steers away from endless speculation.

Anytime a significant change takes place, therefore, you want to spend as much time as possible focusing on your circle of control and grounding yourself there.

Hold On There A Minute

I recall we once had an issue with an office in Dublin. We had some parts of product and engineering there and other parts in San Francisco, but the collaboration wasn’t ideal. Our plan was to centralize decision making in San Francisco, and this meant a significant change for the Dublin office. We almost got on a plane to tell them about the transition without coming up with a change management plan. Thankfully, we convened a meeting first, and we discovered that our message wasn’t unified at all.

Communicate It

One of the things you can control during a company change or pivot is how you talk about it. It’s a good idea to write down exactly what you are going to say. This allows the message to stay aligned which avoids confusion. 

Here are some simple change communication steps you can follow:

  1. Get the right people in the room.
  2. Answer in writing the following questions:
    • What’s happening and why. Give context, not gossip.
    • Identify the impacted group(s)
    • Establish a change management timeline – and who is doing what / when
      • When are key people finding out?
      • When is a team meeting happening?
      • When is an email going out?
      • Is there a company announcement?
  3. Draft key messages for each audience (key concerns, FAQ)
  4. Identify key influencers

Click here for Part 1

Click here for Part 3

About the speaker
Archie Abrams Lyft, Product Lead Member

Archie Abrams currently leads growth product for riders and drivers at Lyft. Previously, he was SVP of Product at Udemy where he led a 45+ person team across Product Management, Product Design, User Research and Analytics. Before building the product team, he led the growth team at Udemy. He joined Udemy as employee #10, helped scale Udemy marketplace to over 25 million students and 100,000 courses across 185 countries. Archie is a graduate of Bowdoin College and currently lives in the Bay Area.