Tuesday, August 14, 2007

"You can't escape the responsibility of tomorrow by evading it today." Abraham Lincoln

"The legitimate aim of criticism is to direct attention to the excellent. The bad will dig its own grave, and the imperfect may safely be left to that final neglect from which no amount of present undeserved popularity can rescue it." Bovee

"A really great man is known by three signs - generosity in the design, humanity in the execution, moderation in success." Bismarck

Today's image: Recycle, Renew, Teach, Love, Repeat by Thomas Hawk. Very cool. Thank you!

At this time every year we begin to get questions about planning, about budget process. Every year we provide a half dozen points by Dr Gary Hamel, to wit:

  1. "The gap between what can be imagined and what can be accomplished has never been smaller."
  2. "Today we are limited only by our imagination. Yet those who can imagine a new reality have always been outnumbered by those who cannot."
  3. "By the time an organization has wrung the last 5 percent of efficiency out of the how, someone else will have invented a new what. Inventing new whats - that's the key to thriving"
  4. "The world is increasingly divided into two kinds of organizations: those that can get no further than continuous improvement, and those who've made the jump to radical innovation."
  5. "Dream, create, explore, invent, pioneer, imagine: do these words describe what you do? If not, you are already irrelevant, and your organization is probably becoming so."
  6. "All too often a successful new business model becomes the business model for companies not creative enough to invent their own."
First questions of importance.

Why are we here?
What is our business?
Who is our customer?
What is value to our customer?

The most important four questions for any enterprise. You must reach crystal clear clarity on these four points before you can move planning, the budget process, forward.

How, exactly, are we different?
What game-changing innovation do we offer?

Getting better is not enough, it will not get the job done in 2008; you must get different. Your team must be obsessed with creating contrast. You must learn how to fail faster to succeed sooner.

What will our business be?

Our most consistently successful clients (and those others we admire) are intent on making a small number of things happen each year. They are totally preoccupied with delivering, without fail, a handful of meaningful achievements. They look forward and imagine what their business will be.

What three things must we achieve next year?

Chose three. Fewer and you are not pushing the team. More and you are probably over-reaching. Three is more than enough for one year.

This is the most common of reasons for failure. In our experience teams too often show up at the budget dance with a plan driven by six agendas (five local and the one baked in by corporate) and twelve big things to do next year. They don't have a chance. Only the arithmetic works, certainly not the logic.

The objective-solution set alignment is not sufficiently optimized due to unexpected limits in resource elasticity, second order effects may now require some additional investment.

That's a twenty-five dollar way of saying the objectives were way too big for the dedicated resources and we will have to put more money in, or redirect funds, for a shot at (maybe) making the plan work. Resources are always dear, finite. Make every dollar count. No, make every nickel count.

Fully fund the three objectives with almost every resource you have. Cut resources to all activity that does not directly benefit or support achievement of your three objectives.

Abandon. Cut every penny that is not mission essential.

The very few exceptions, of course, being those expenses to support vital activities required by law, regulatory or common sense (revisit these as often as possible).

What three things must your team achieve next year?

Congrats & cheers: Barry Mayo, long-time pal and former colleague, on being named radio prexy at Radio One. Dan Kelley on reaching posting number 200 on his blog this morning. He's a programmer seriously dialed into classic rock, hardwired is perhaps more accurate, check out Dan's Classic Rock FM here. Blog on, Dan! Steve Wexler, Journal Broadcast Group EVP, named WTMJ TV GM. Celeste Perry new KFRC breakfast co-host, with the Duke; Sue Hall joins KFRC to do middays. Boomer Esiason and Craig Carton new breakfast hosts at WFAN.

Next: You are heading an audio entertainment startup, a music channel. You are given a first year budget of $1 million in cash to cover two line items. You may spend it as you wish given the following conditions:

You are required to decide what, if any, percentage of the $1 million to invest in talent, jocks, performers and how much to invest, if any, in marketing, advertising and promotion.

Bonus round: pick one. If you had to pick only one of those two, would it be staffing up with talent, setting yourself apart with jocks, entertainers or would you elect to go talent-free, jockless, flooding the zone with a clever, well timed ad and marketing blitz.

Next time, right here, in a brand new show.


Dan Kelley said...

Again, thank you Dave for your kind words and support over these past seven months.