Sunday, November 19, 2006

Photo credit: LeeLeFever Mt Hood

"Beg for the bad news." William Swanson

Swanson's Unwritten Rules of Management: unwritten rule number 27...

"'Begging for the bad news' means creating a climate in which everyone on your team understands that the boss wants to hear the bad as well as the good, that the boss expects you to speak up when something's wrong and is not getting addressed in a timely manner.

The leader must create a climate in which it is understood reflexively that bad news, while never pleasant, must be shared. And the sooner the bad news is aired, the better.

It is amazing how slowly bad news can travel up the levels of an organization - unless the corporate culture encourages, and demands, that bad news be reported quickly."

Great counsel from Swanson's classic writing. At RKO we were taught, by Dwight Case and Paul Drew, "the first three rules" were...

  1. No surprises
  2. No surprises
  3. No surprises
Dwight and Paul always told us we operated in a "no surprises" environment. Decades later I came upon the same style of refreshingly brutal candor (while working for Mel). Get your team on with brutal candor and operating in a no surprises environment - incredible ROI without equal.

A Great Sales Manager: In the process of updating my earlier monograph and would sincerely appreciate your input. What are the qualities, the attributes, the characteristics of a truly GREAT sales manager? Your comments are welcomed and encouraged; please use the comments function at the end of this post or forward your comments using the "contact me" link you may find in the right column of this page. Thank you! (Previously, updates of A Great General Manager here and A Great Program Director here)

Young 06 voters rated corruption, immigration, Iraq and terrorism extremely important, read more from Pew Research and exit polling data here (Thanks to Lee Arnold for the tip).

Don't forget your shotgun: Seth Godin makes a point of the obvious - when doing deals...

Don't forget the shotgun clause. At some point, one of you is going to want to run with the project. So build in a clause that says, "At any time, one person can offer to buy the other out. The second person then has the chance to either buy the first person out at the same valuation, or sell." Money can solve a few problems, and this is one of them.

Amen Seth, well done! Read all nine of Seth's points here. Which reminds me - never split the difference as part of a negotiation - never.

Expect a bunch of M&A activity thanks to Clear Channel. Makes sense for CC to sell off those small markets. But they'll probably sell more. Back of the envelope math says the company generates about 75% of their rev from fewer than 250 stations and that would seem to indicate they have another 400 or so stations that bring them little more than exposure and risk. Will Sumner decide to "unlock" some value of his own?

Doc provides an overview of some Jupiter Research and in the process opines on his ongoing, and important, marketplace theme...

Think for a minute about how much more useful (or obsolete) marketing would be if customers had actual relationships, or the means to initiate relationships — on the customers' terms — when and where they wanted to initiate them? Read Doc's post here

Christopher Lydon does good work and he needs your help. Open Source is a program produced for public radio. The independent nonprofit production company that produces the program seeks a new primary funder - in the meantime you can help out by sending a donation. Please join me in supporting this good work. Tis the season, please give what you can. More info here.

Brad Garlinghouse one of the senior Yahoos and his now famous "Peanut Butter" memo...

We may have fallen down, but the race is a marathon and not a sprint. I don't pretend that this will be easy. It will take courage, conviction, insight and tremendous commitment. I very much look forward to the challenge.

Read the entire memo thanks to WSJ here

Brad and his colleagues would be well served by inviting Dave Winer in for a chat...

"What Yahoo may need is someone who can speak for them, who can give an exciting speech, who can lead all the external forces, and internal ones too. What they may be missing is an eloquent founder-type who, when people need to settle a difference, can come in and make the choice. At Microsoft, in the old days when Microsoft worked, people could ask themselves What Would Bill Do? Google has Larry and Sergey. Yahoo may need a leader. But they've got a pretty good foundation to build on. And they could probably go a long, long way without great leadership, since most American companies don't have that." More Dave on Yahoo here

Dave's right on the mark. While they're at it they should ask Tom Peters to join the conversation too.