Pathfinding for a stronger future at Rhea + Kaiser

President/CEO Diane Martin describes the start of a restructuring process

As Pathfinders at Rhea + Kaiser, we help our clients achieve their vision – we help them get there from here.  We collaborate with them to set a course and steer their marketing and communications to their target destination. And sometimes, to chart a new course to that vision when the market dictates. We’re also Pathfinders for our own business. We have a vision, and like our clients, sometimes must pivot or restructure when the market dictates.

Restructuring has become a dirty word, no matter the intent. It can come with uncomfortable change, which can include elimination of functions, positions and sometimes entire departments in some organizations. Equally as painful as saying goodbye to the hard-working professionals we have come to trust and respect is the disruption and discomfort of change as the organization works to achieve the new vision. Because restructuring isn’t a single event on a single day. Restructuring is a process that takes many days, week and months.

If you’ve ever been through a restructuring, whether due to merger or acquisition, downturn in the economy or seismic shift in customer demands, you know the process is fraught with lots of white-boarding, number crunching and emotionally draining deliberation.  Not to mention the meetings, new process manuals and learning to work in new ways with different people.

Today at Rhea + Kaiser we announced a restructuring due to changing client needs and our desire to be a more agile and efficient agency. It is time that we adapt our agency model, so we can better align with the services required by our clients and the ever-changing landscape of marketing communications.

We said goodbye to some outstanding people who greatly contributed to who R+K is today. People we call friends. Professionals who cared about their jobs and collaborated to deliver the best work possible for our clients and agency. Perhaps at this moment it seems hollow, but I recognize and value what these individuals have done for R+K. Everyone here hopes the disruption to their lives is brief, and we will always cherish the privilege of knowing and working with them.

Difficult roads often lead to better destinations.

I am adapting someone else’s words here. But they best capture the coming days at R+K as we begin adjusting our service structure. Over the last several months we have talked a lot about being a more nimble and efficient organization. We have talked about operating like a start-up where bureaucracy is an obstacle, and ingenuity, creativity and the ability to pivot on a dime are the order of the day. We have talked about shaking off “how it’s always been done” and asking ourselves “what if?” and “why not?” And we continue to talk about being the destination where clients come for guidance and solutions, for Pathfinding, in achieving their visions and goals.

Tomorrow is the beginning of a new day at R+K. It is the first of many days of collaboration and hard work as we continue this process of restructuring. Having been through a few restructurings in my 30-plus years with R+K – with the addition of services, departure of key personnel, the addition and loss of clients, or seismic events like when the dot.com bubble burst or more recently the Great Recession – I know the coming days will be challenging, heart-breaking and exciting, sometimes all at once. I also know that the process will be rewarding, not just for me but for the entire organization.

Today’s commencement of restructuring helps us turn talk into action. Achieving our vision isn’t going to happen in a matter of days or even weeks. There will be tweaks and adjustments over the next few months. But I am confident that the Pathfinders of Rhea + Kaiser have the smarts, fortitude and imagination that will position us to deliver smart, strategic solutions for our clients. We are on the path to a better destination.

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