TMB's Bonnie Kintzer on turnarounds


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In 2014, Bonnie Kintzer was named CEO of Readers Digest Association, becoming its fourth CEO in three years as it emerged months earlier from its second bankruptcy.

After renaming the company Trusted Media Brands, recently shortened to TMB, Bonnie set out to decisively shift the company to a digital model while diversifying its focus to include its other lifestyle brands, such as Taste of Home and the Family Handyman. TMB added Jukin Media, bringing its streaming and video capabilities as well as brands like FailArmy and The Pet Collective.

“I had multiple steps that I shared with the entire company. Did we have the right people? Did we have the right culture? Did we have the right assets? Were there assets that we should bring into the company? What did we need to stop doing? Because I think when you're doing a turnaround, you have to really have an incredible amount of focus.”

Here’s Bonnie’s three principles for a turnaround:

Enjoy the process. Turnarounds can be grinding affairs, filled with their fair share of downs along with the ups. “You have to be a certain kind of person to like turnarounds, and you have to surround yourself with those kinds of people,” Bonnie said.”

Be decisive. Tough decisions are inevitable. Putting them off isn’t going to make them any easier.

Over-communicate. Change is hard and understandably unsettles people. “When I first got back, people didn't believe that we could do it,” she said. “It was about constant communication and proof points that all of a sudden people [believe] we can do it.”

The Rebooting Show is produced by Jay Sparks at Pod Help Us.