Delphi Corporation is out of its long bankruptcy today. Those who pay attention know there are always lessons to be learned from corporate bankruptcies. This time, though, there’s a powerful communications lesson.
The CEO who led the company through the bankruptcy, veteran Robert “Steve” Miller, answered questions from the Wall Street Journal that ran in yesterday’s edition. It’s very important to note that communications served as perhaps his biggest regret.
I invite you to read the exchange below. It’s further proof that the most successful companies, even in tough times, are the companies that communicate the most effectively. It’s an opportunity for other businesses to learn from Delphi’s mistake.
WSJ: In 2005, you said management of a bankrupt company should be communicative. How did that work at Delphi?
Mr. Miller: I was very outspoken when we went into Chapter 11. But there was a lot of pushback and criticism. We made the decision to shut up. But if I had to do it all over again, I would keep speaking out. When you are in a controversial situation, you are going to be criticized whatever you do. The critics said, “Steve Miller is the devil incarnate,” and we said, “No comment.” The only thing left out there for the public was the notion of a devil.