A Higher Calling
On July 31, HarperCollins Christian Publishing (HCCP) turns one year old. According to Ted Olsen of Christianity Today, a leading voice of the evangelical movement, HCCP controls 50 percent of the Christian publishing market, making it by far the largest player in the segment. Led by President and CEO Mark Schoenwald (above), the first year of HCCP has been a "mission" of sorts, one of uniting the two similar but distinct missionary directives of its constituent parts, Zondervan and Thomas Nelson. As Schoenwald and his team have transformed the organization, their mantra has been "One + One is greater than Two."
The First 100 Days
Schoenwald was named the head of the new division after nine years at Thomas Nelson and just three weeks after HarperCollins closed on its acquisition of the venerable publishing house. From the outset, he was committed to making sure that the major elements of the new organization were in place and that all employees would know their fates within the first 100 days. Working with consultants from Booz & Company, he formed 12 teams representing all the functional areas; each
included a representative from Zondervan, Thomas Nelson and HarperCollins. Every team had three charges:
- Define the business area as it operates today to understand how the business or function really works.
- Taking into consideration digital and the other forces disrupting the business, decide how you would build it in the future.
- Start to envision the structure of the new division, creating an organizational chart and putting names into the boxes.
On Sept. 5, 2012, HCCP announced its new divisional leadership team consisting of 14 leaders drawn from both Zondervan and Thomas Nelson. One hundred days after the division was formed - as promised - the last of the functional areas announced its infrastructure, future plans and leadership. The teams had exceeded the expected amount of synergy-related costs savings, had been able to identify and inform employees about their personal futures, and managed to keep the business on track.