How well-planned communication helps in event of insolvency

The call came out of the blue. “Our company is in a difficult situation. Insolvency threatens. Can you support us with our communication?”, asked the CEO of a medium-sized company. I took on this challenging task, and I am delighted that the well-planned communication and the coaching of management was able to make a valuable contribution to preventing the insolvency.

During the coronavirus crisis, freelancers, start-ups and small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are threatened with insolvency, for example on account of payment difficulties or debts. I am pleased to share my experiences from the above-stated case, and give recommendations for insolvency communication.

1) Obtain a comprehensive picture of the situation

All the facts corresponding to this threatening insolvency were presented by the responsible person in the company, and unpleasant and uncomfortable questions were answered. This provided a comprehensive view of the facts of the case and created the important basis for working out the communication strategy, which ensured that subsequent surprises and any resultant communication traps were avoided.

2) Close coordination with the persons involved

The drivers in an insolvency process, beside management and the legal department, are persons who do not belong to your company, in particular insolvency administrators, creditors, banks and lawyers. The exchange of ideas and opinions with the process-relevant persons took place immediately. The facts of the case were supplemented with important and relevant arguments from these experts. In order to work specifically for management as the person responsible for communication, the involvement in all important sessions proved to be very advantageous.

3) Prepare communication in a targeted manner

The regular exchange of ideas and opinions with all involved was indispensable for the creation of a communication strategy, also in order to avoid negative consequences for the current process. In order to improve comprehensibility, the complexity of the matter and its implications were thus reduced and the clearly formulated messages were made legally waterproof. The harmonised language rules subsequently formed the basis for the coaching of management, in which, among other things, presentation and interviews were simulated so that management gained confidence in its arguments.

4) Inform relevant target groups immediately

The aim was to gain communicative leadership in the insolvency process. The workforce was objectively and comprehensively informed. In order not to incite any unnecessary fear, management personally answered questions from the employees. Only after the start of internal communication were relevant external target groups provided with precise information in order to gain their trust. Finally, the active regular communication was happily concluded with the positive information on the avoidance of insolvency.

Of course, in the insolvency process these steps do not follow one after the other, but in parallel, which increases the pressure on those responsible in the company and for communication. This pressure increases if non-controllable factors compel the company to react. For example, if creditors or counterparties actively seek publicity or the media get wind of the matter at an early stage. This then means: Gain an overview of the facts faster, devise a communication strategy faster, and gain the upper hand in communication faster by means of well-planned, structured and active action. Also in order to prevent long-term crisis communication.

My skills for your success (selection):

  • 10 years heading the global department at international market and technology leaders
  • Positioning (Coaching) of 40 board members, managers and heads of departments
  • Over 1,000 projects for enhancing corporate identity internally and externally

You have questions about my offer or a specific requirement? I am happy to help you and look forward to hearing from you.