how do I survive working for an unorganized company?

Surviving and even thriving in an unorganized company can be challenging, but there are strategies that can help you navigate the chaos and maintain your performance and well-being. Drawing from the insights of executive coach Ed Batista, here are some suggestions:

  1. Zoom Out and Install Smoke Detectors: Recognize that in the early stages of a company or career, being busy might have been equated with progress. However, as you move forward, it's important to distinguish between mere motion and true progress. Instead of constantly putting out fires, focus on creating systems that prevent issues from arising in the first place [14].

  2. Embrace Learning and Narrow Your Focus: In an unorganized environment, it's crucial to learn as efficiently as possible. Narrowing the focus of your responsibilities can help you become more effective within the chaos. This approach allows you to concentrate on areas where you can make the most impact and learn the skills necessary to navigate the disorganization [7][8].

  3. Find Personal Fulfillment: Despite the challenges, find aspects of your work that are personally fulfilling. Like the CEO who "kept a garden" of small projects alongside running a massive organization, identify tasks or projects that allow you to feel a sense of mastery and satisfaction. This can help make the role more sustainable and prevent the negative consequences of becoming disenchanted [10].

  4. Establish Structure Where You Can: While you may not have the authority to reorganize the entire company, you can create structure within your own domain. This could involve setting clear priorities, establishing routines, and creating personal systems that help you manage your workload more effectively. A structured approach can also contribute to psychological safety, which is essential in a chaotic environment [3].

  5. Develop Resilience: Building resilience is key when working in an unorganized company. Resilience is not about being unaffected by challenges; it's about being able to absorb the impact, adapt, and persist without breaking. Emotion regulation is a critical component of resilience, helping you balance the need for unwavering faith in your ability to prevail with the discipline to confront the brutal facts of your situation [25][26].

  6. Confront Mortality and Embrace Change: Recognize that life is finite and change is inevitable. By accepting the reality of mortality and the limitations of control, you can approach your work with a sense of acceptance and determination. This perspective can help you stay grounded and focused on what you can influence, rather than being overwhelmed by the unorganized nature of the company [17][18][19].

  7. Seek Psychological Safety and Support: In an unorganized company, it's important to have a support system, whether it's a network of colleagues, mentors, or external support like a coach. Building relationships and fostering a sense of community can provide the emotional support needed to navigate the company's disorganization [3].

By applying these strategies, you can create a sense of order within the disorder, focus on personal growth, and maintain your well-being even in an unorganized company.