Friday, October 24, 2008

"In art as in love, instinct is enough." Anatole France

"A really great talent finds its happiness in execution." Goethe

"The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice." R.D. Laing

Today's image: Positano - Country - Italy by RayDS. Beautiful. Thank you for sharing.

Execution, not excuses
Second in a series

Thoughts on next steps for media CEOs. Ten things you must do now to prevail in 2009. Here are the second three of ten [first three here]

4. Reinvent sales. Stop waiting for business to come back. The revenue problem is not the problem, the response to the revenue problem is the problem. We don't need to simply reboot sales, we need a new OS. Stop wasting valuable resources trying to get better and start getting different. Embrace transparency and accountability. Adopt and enforce a zero tolerance for internecine silo warfare. Until broadcasters stop trying to kill the broadcasters across the street things will not get better for anyone except the buyers. Focus on your clients, not on your competition.

It is vital that all associates understand and agree, they are either in sales or sales support. A good read on what's happening in sales is What the Customer Wants You to Know by Ram Charan. [Amazon info]

What we are witness to today is nothing less than a sales crisis. It didn't happen overnight and has been years in the making. We've been writing about it here since 2004. It's easy to dismiss the problem, to ignore the fact that our sales departments have not changed very much in the last ten or, as some would argue, thirty years. Some wise guys will read this and say "Sure hope we have more than a week to get this baby checked off the list, reinventing sales might take two weeks." Clearly what we have here is a major challenge that requires our best thinking and best efforts. Reinventing sales will be an ongoing process not an event. It must be an urgent priority. We must get started.

Until and unless sales gets the attention it needs the entire company is at risk. The old saw seems apt, if you always do what you've always done, you'll always get what you've always gotten. Step one is stop blaming the market. It is we who have the perception problem, it is the delusion that we are doing something productive to fix the serious issues related to our dated revenue engine.

5. Get serious about R&D. Encourage, enable and protect innovation. Learn to win in the new ambiguous world of perpetual beta. Prize creative collaboration. Instill a bias for action understanding that to succeed sooner one must fail faster. Experiment. Forget about cap ex next year, put dollars into research and development. [Hint: If you missed the slide show in the first post of this series, here it is again - please watch here]

6. People first. As a practical matter, making HR important beyond compliance issues will be a new concept for many media firms. We have to start treating our employees like our best customers. Every person on the payroll is talent. Employees help the company achieve its goals by becoming the best at what they do. Leadership must create the context in which people can do their best work. An important part of the D in R&D is HR-D. The key to growing profits is growing people. Employees deserve and need an advocate, that's a critical mission for HR.

Diversity continues to be a challenge. As the joke goes our business is being killed by old white guys. Not enough women and minorities are being hired or promoted. Start with fixing outreach, it's broken.
On promotion, one example. Recently Clear Channel Radio announced the promotion or contract extension of senior programming staff, it should be noted that not one named was a woman or an African American.

Part three in this series may be found here.

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

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