Leading and Communicating Through Significant Change
A private manufacturer with an impeccable record and reputation was planning to sell a division that represented a significant percentage of the company’s volume and employed thousands of people. Though grounded in the manufacturer’s strategy and future vision, the decision to divest this division was expected to affect employees, customers, suppliers, community partners and other key stakeholders, and the company’s leadership was committed to delivering the news with an abundance of respect and integrity.
With the public sale announcement less than a month away and no communication plan, the company engaged 44 Degrees North Partners to help leaders develop and execute thoughtful, customized and timely messaging to a large and complex network of audiences.
44 Degrees North Partners collaborated with a small number of cross-functional company leaders who were entrusted with advance knowledge of the divestiture. We developed a master timing and action plan that identified the internal and external audiences who needed to be informed of the divestiture and the appropriate order for cascading communications to each audience. In addition, we created customized messaging for hundreds of communications that were delivered by numerous individuals across a variety of channels – in person, via phone, digitally and through traditional mail – keeping senior executives apprised through regular touchpoints and incorporating their feedback throughout the intense process. We also partnered with the acquiring company to ensure alignment of announcement messaging and timing.
Despite the exceptionally short window for developing a comprehensive communication plan, the news of the divestiture was communicated to all stakeholders smoothly and efficiently, with many affected stakeholders sharing their appreciation for the respectful manner in which the news was delivered.
To assist the company with subsequent large-scale change management communications, 44 Degrees North Partners documented the entire process and captured learnings, creating an actionable playbook.