During the last years I have been working in environments that where under the deep impact of disruption. Having been in the telco industry for 17 years now, I've seen the raise of mobile, the internet bubble burst, the raise of mobile internet and, unfortunately, the decline of telco. There's a lot of ink about it so I'm not going to add any more about it. But I want to write about the tough situations you face when all this means changing organizations, reducing budgets, lay-offs... or just rumors on all the above.
My team, very often, comes frustrated, concerned, wondering what is going to happen. I've noticed that here are three attitudes to face this situation (or maybe there's a combination of them). These are:
1. The coffee machine rumor engine crew
You know what this is. The coffee machine is a pretty cool space to increase social interaction and awareness in the team. It helps create bonds that could not be created without the easy chit chat. But it also has a double edge. It can become a source of rumors, frustration and negative energy in difficult times.
I always say to people this can get you an ulcer. Not a good think to do. It will increase your stress levels, you will be all the time concerned about the last "fake news" and it will decrease your productivity massively... not a good option, I guess
2. The head down and do your shit
A second approach is not to pay attention to anything. Put your head down, focus on your business goals and deliver, deliver, deliver. This is like when Miguel Indurain, the Spanish cyclist, fronted a big mountain. He used to put down his cap and focus on the front wheel. Hell, it worked, he won the Tour the France 5 times!!!
I know you are not Indurain, me neither, but this will keep your productivity very high and if your manager is a bit smart, you'll get reinforced in the transition. And, even if not, at least you'll be busy making shit happen so will not be thinking about what may or may not happen
3. The "there are no lions in the door"
And look, if you are not happy, don't believe in the project or simply need fresh air, you can always hit the road. Nothing stops you from doing it. Just your own decision. It will kill your current problems and create new ones. By the way, if you take this option, leave thinking about what is that that you really want to do with your life. Leave with a plan of what you want to achieve, and what your dream job will be. I've seen people failing in this transition, it happened to me once, just because I wanted to leave something behind that was not perfect, and got into something worse. So, keep cold head!!!
All these are valid options. Personally I have gone through the three of them. The first one demonstrated useless and very frustrating. The second gratifying and even good for my career. The third, depends one how I built my next step.
But as a manager, I always encourage my team to keep on pushing to accomplish what we are at. We have a dream and we have to fight for it till the end. Nothing is easy and in these difficult situations, it's really rewarding when you get to a good end. So as Churchill said, "if walking through hell, keep going"