Wednesday, August 02, 2006

"When making decisions, the 'pros' are much easier to deal with than the 'cons.' Your boss wants to see both." William Swanson

Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management, unwritten rule number 23...

"This is another aspect of making sure that you see what's missing.

There is nothing more valuable than a review process that surfaces all the potential consequences of an action rather than just the best-case scenario.

There is no way to effectively weigh the risk and benefits of an action if one is ignorant of the risks.

By presenting the pros and the cons, you show others that you have thought the problem through. You will have more credibility."

Tis the season. Planning for 2007. The image above is by Sidney Harris and serves as the cover art in his collection "Chalk Up Another One: The Best of Sidney Harris" (Amazon info here)

The line "then a miracle occurs" captures the thinking or at least the mindset that too often creeps into the planning process. Here Swanson's wise counsel is appropriate. Assumptions need to be grounded in reality. Reality as it is, not as it was or as one wishes it to be. 2006 is proving to be a difficult year for media folks. 2007 plans need to avoid the "step two" in Sidney's cartoon, the potential is always there for step two style assumptions to get baked into planning...

The new format

The new morning show

The new NTR initiative

The new GM

The new acquisition

The new branding campaign

The new anchor team

The dramatic turnaround sweep

In radio, the roll out of critically important spring books has - in too many cases - served as yet another illustration of this meme "then a miracle occurs." The PD betting the farm on a third phase miracle. When you reach the point where success depends on a single phase of the sweep, when the one last toss of the diaries makes or breaks your performance, you have a problem. Hope is not a method.

Terry Heaton gets it...

2007 is looking more and more like a desperation year for local broadcasters, a year when new media ventures begun this year need to begin producing fruit. We won't have the Olympics, although they didn't perform up to snuff this year, and we won't have elections, so political ad money will vanish. Wherever I go and with whomever I speak, there is this growing sense that new media MUST be more aggressively pursued...or else. More here

FAQ - one of the most asked questions this time of year - how much should we be investing in new media? The rule of thumb that seems most appropriate is...your investment in new media should be equal, at least, to the investment made in your morning show. 2007 should be the year that your new media initiative gets traction. Your site should be nothing less than the twice a day habit your audience can not live without. Your site should consistently rank as the first or second unaided "local" favorite with your audience, your lifegroup, your target market.