Friday, July 25, 2008

"We all live under the same sky, but we don't all have the same horizon." Konrad Adenauer

"You can't take a crash course in serenity." Shirley MacLaine

"The true genius is a mind of large general powers, accidentally determined to some particular direction." Samuel Johnson

Today's image: Padre e hijo by Paco Espinoza. Wonderful. Thanks for sharing.

Got talent?

Two of the biggest challenges consistently high on the agendas of effective leaders are recruitment and development.

Recruitment, that is, casting, while essential to the enterprise is increasingly difficult. We are not involved in the process with the frequency needed to acquire or sharpen the skill sets necessary to improve our success rate.

Simply put, we don't hire often enough to get good at it. Further, in too many cases we only hire under the pressure of those time sensitive scenarios associated with replacement. This leads to the inevitable creative compromise, a shift in focus with more emphasis on expediency than on quality of hire. "Good enough" becomes the de facto standard. Process is diminished to event. This is akin to the profound contrast found when comparing preventive health care with the critical care associated with emergency medicine.

The solution - adopt and enforce a policy of continuous recruitment. In the first phase of this policy managers should be tasked with succession planning. The objective being to identify and cultivate the best replacements before any are needed. In the second phase, already prepared to address un/expected replacement hiring, managers should focus on networking and directing a strong outreach program. Continuous recruitment recasts the role of HR from an accounting of compliance (i.e., shepherd of EEO model execution including postings and related paper trail) to a driver of policy engagement. HR ensures the homework gets done.

Development has become more ad hoc and less formal. For example, the first time seller is typically provided the attention needed to secure employment beyond the new hire probation period while there is rarely support for any ongoing formal sales development program dedicated to improving the effectiveness of the entire sales organization. Similarly, novice air talent command the attention needed to reach a minimum performance standard while veteran staff are, in the majority of cases, expected to sustain a certain accepted and often unwritten standard of performance on their own. Veterans get hit and run coaching sessions as needed and more often than not the result of a problem requiring "corrective action" or documented discipline. This will go into your permanent file!

Every talent benefits from having a coach but too few enjoy that advantage.

Talent want to be led not managed.
We need to catch them doing something right.

This presents an interesting paradox. At a time when there are more development resources available than ever before fewer firms than ever appear to be making investments in those resources.

As part of a 2007 survey of media organizations we asked about development investment (HRD). Over 78% of those responding told us development was a management responsibility, a function assigned "in-house." Less than 16% of those directing sales development "in-house" were able to provide an outline or summary of their development program and less than 9% indicated development (including training) was a budgeted line item. More interesting was the state of development on the product side. While 92% of those responding told us product development was done "in-house" fewer than 10% of those were able to provide an outline or summary of their development program and less than 5% indicated product development (including training) was a budgeted line item. [Related: A significant number of operators suggested their investments in programming research should be properly attributed to product development, however, our survey assigned research to a separate investment category] It should come as a surprise to no one that the majority of development dollars budgeted were used to cover convention/conference attendance, some used to pay for trade journal subscriptions (on/off line) and only in a minority of cases were development funds used for actual development or training activities.

"Stars are not born, but people with the potential to become stars are born" so said Steve Ridge, president of television for Magid. As part of a story in the New York Times he went on to say "The key is identifying the potential early on and cultivating it by putting them in an environment to be successful." Steve's remark is spot-on. Read the Brian Stelter piece "Needing a Star, CNBC Made One" here.

Are you providing your stars with an environment to be successful?

The end of days: The popular parlor game of predicting the death of certain media is very much alive and...well, uh, mixed. Following are some recent posts predicting the end stage of newspapers, tv and radio. Can't say I agree completely with any of them. Nonetheless, with kudos to Duncan and Mark...

Duncan Riley: Television will be the first traditional media medium to fall. Newspapers will survive, radio will die, but not quiet yet says Duncan. [Related: FriendFeed comments here]

Mark 'Rizzn' Hopkins: Old Media Deathrace 5000. Radio will be the first to fall and is killing itself opines Mark.

Revenue revolutionary: Dan Pacheco blogs It's Time for a Revenue Revolution. Kudos, Dan. Interesting approaches, thanks for sharing.

Congrats & cheers: Two radio rock stars. Mickey Luckoff, legendary bay area general manager on his induction into the National Radio Hall of Fame. Jack Swanson, bay area programming ace, on posting the 120th consecutive #1 book at KGO. Mickey and Jack, two of the best ever, truly exceptional leaders, none finer. The exceedingly bright Carolyn Gilbert brings her intellect and proven leadership chops to Tribune signing on as EVP, Multi-Media Sales Group.

Have a wonderful weekend. See you next week in a brand new show.

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