Thursday, October 22, 2009

"Thank God for screw-ups, for if life had adhered strictly to six sigma rules, we’d all still be slime." Gary Hamel

"Mindless habitual behavior is the enemy of innovation." Rosabeth Moss Kanter

"It must be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to plan, more doubtful of success, nor more dangerous to management than the creation of a new system. For the initiator has the enmity of all who would profit by the preservation of the old institution and merely the lukewarm defense in those who gain by the new ones." Nicolo Machiavelli

Today's image: canal by Banksy. Wonderful. Thank you for sharing.

It's the top line, stupid.

Broadcast leadership continues to be obsessed with tweaking the numerator.

My sense is too many are still keeping score like it's 1999. Preoccupied with optimization they continue to fail because they do not yet appreciate the critical importance of recognizing and unlocking the incredible value inherent in attempts at bold innovation. Truth be known, playing around with numerator has reached beyond the point of diminishing returns. To be blunt, optimization strategies for broadcast operators are well past their best used by date. Attention and resources continue to be invested in getting better at a game that is less and less relevant. Over the past ten years every department (and related function mission systems) at broadcast stations has fundamentally changed with one exception - sales. Proof of this abounds. Any candid accounting of results produced will tend to support this assertion. Let me suggest the best (and most important) evidence may be found by talking with buyers. How has the "broadcast buying experience" changed? How does this experience stack up when compared to other media options?

If you always do what you've always done,
you'll get what you've always gotten

Permit me to invoke an old saw from Zig Ziglar "Two sure ways to fail. Think and never do or do and never think." Broadcast leadership appears to have cornered the market on both. Enough! My thought (confirmed by recent experience) is the new game is getting really serious about changing the denominator. Sales development - the hard work of driving new top lines. Getting fresh and creative in perspective and approach. Experimentation. Discovery. Learning how to respect, appreciate and reward the art of failing faster in order to succeed sooner.

On the day job we have observed the best "return on imagination" begins with unvarnished discussion concerning the creation of new markets rather than the same old fights over how to grow an increasingly irrelevant metric - silo share of a declining market. Going to work to kill the guy across the street is simply not an effective strategy in driving top line development and the entire ball game is, plainly, to continually, consistently and creatively develop the top line without any excuse. To develop your top line you'll need to invest in developing your people.

Invite and encourage cognitive diversity in your organization

Paul Jacobs offers a writing that merits the attention of radio and TV leadership. Follow The (Shrinking) Money - his post on the Jacobs Media blog, is a call to action, to wit:

"...if we don't make major moves in our sales and marketing
strategies, we're in real trouble"

Read Paul's entire post, here. Kudos to Paul, he is right on the money. He presents a well-reasoned case for changing up the game and getting into a whole new reality, the competition that is measured media fighting for dollars at the dawn of the 21st century mediascape.

Congrats and cheers: Robert Feder, by far the best and brightest writer of his generation to cover the media beat, has returned. His new home is, a new media venture of the Chicago Public Radio folks. More, in his own words, here. Welcome to the conversation, Rob. You've been missed.

Bonus: Cool kid Mary Meeker and her colleagues at Morgan Stanley delivered an important presentation at the Web 2.0 Summit. You may access the PDF of their presentation - Economy + Internet Trends - here. Bravos to Mary and the Morgan gang on a job well done.

Oldie but goodie: Malcolm Gladwell from 2004 on spaghetti sauce. Thanks, as ever, to TED.

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