Sunday, November 26, 2006

Photo credit: leftovers by McBeth - Great shot; Thank you!

"There's a general tendency to focus too much on individuals and make too much of who's in and who's out...You're going to need people who are visionary and innovative about the opportunities created by digital media, but I would look less at the individuals and more at the teams they're are putting together" Geoffrey K. Sands

McKinsey & Company
media practice head Geoffrey K. Sands as quoted by NYT writer Richard Siklos in his article Seeking Executive to Tame the Digital Future here. Good job Richard, well done. Geoffrey makes an excellent point, to be successful, digital initiatives require a team, no lone rangers need apply. The single exec appointment is a press release not the serious commitment needed to make the best of things. On another suggestion made in the article, my sense is there are a number of "seasoned" media execs - including some at the operating level - who have a healthy respect, a solid working understanding and an appreciation for the web, simply too few. The notion, proffered by exec recruiter Michael J. Speck that there are but three major types of media execs charged with oversight of digital initiatives fails to properly recognize operating leadership that does get it. Speck's "three baskets of digital media overseers" are...

  1. Well-versed old-media exec who both knows how to navigate corporate corridors and run a business but may not be the most webby person on the squad
  2. The web stars - those who know how to identify and build web businesses early
  3. The general corporate athlete who has a track record of getting things done in a complex company but is neither a seasoned operating exec nor a web head
Richard gets right to the point when he writes...

"...does the anointed guru have the juice to cross over existing divisions and to introduce newfangled businesses that may actually hurt before they help?" It's all about leadership and leadership demands juice - 100% authority at the price of 100% responsibility for producing results.

One positive outcome related to the dotcom bubble...old-media execs were recruited and learned the web first hand using live ammo. After the crash some returned to old-media, some took posts with the bigger survivors and others made a new living with a foot each in both worlds. My point here is there are execs out there who have not only strong operating track records in old-media but proven successes operating in new media as well. These "best of both worlds" execs have a unique pov, one born of practical, real world experience. Yahoo has done an excellent job in recruiting especially in sales. Google has begun to recruit from old-media's best and brightest. Both firms get it. Let me also suggest Microsoft, contrary to popular opinion, is also well on their way to achieving significant and lasting success in the media and advertising businesses. Should Microsoft acquire Yahoo the game could change dramatically overnight. The other smart players include Sumner, Barry and Rupert.