Beyond the Horizon


Season's Greetings:

Let’s talk expectations…

We’ve all heard the “newspapers are dying” lament from acquaintances, businesses, multiple digital channels and just about every source you can think of.  It truly started about 10 years ago and the cacophony has increased ever since.

I’m not going to take sides, or even offer ideas or proof suggesting one way or the other; what I am going to do is suggest that leadership and attitude are a HUGE part of the problem.  More importantly, they could be a SIGNIFICANT part of any solution.

Just last week I spoke with a regional publisher who I think would be fantastic to work for.  She was being asked (correction, ordered) to eliminate sales resources (people and tools) and was certain this will hurt her efforts.  Her worry was that these actions would put the company into a “death spiral”.  Her words, not mine. 

Think about this conundrum – having to decide between executing plans you are certain will compromise your mission or lose your job? 

With this type of guidance from the C-Suite, what would you expect the reaction to be?  How should this regional publisher communicate with colleagues and respond to questions?  What expectations will this create in the community this paper is trying to serve?  Do you think competing media will try and take advantage of such reductions?

Fun, right?  What would you do?

On the other hand, consider this a poster on the wall of a client:

This small family-controlled newspaper group is facing IDENTICAL challenges, yet is responding in a decidedly different manner.

WHO                  IS              RIGHT?

While I have both data and emotional conviction concerning which approach makes more sense, the fact of the matter in each case is No One Knows!  Only time will tell.

How do the expectations differ in this scenario?  Where would you rather work?  Which option do you think better serves customers?  If a “think bigger” attitude permeates the organization how would that affect rank-and-file expectations?  Would the community respond favorably or not?

Do me a favor and remind me in one year and I’ll tell you what happened and maybe even who the papers are.  I’ve also made a “note to self” so it’s in my follow up system – The December 2019 Beyond the Horizon enewsletter must provide an update!  Expect it!

For now, let me share something I know to be true and expect you’ll fully agree…

At the end of the day it is the PEOPLE who matter and make a difference. 

From brand new entry-level hires to senior leadership, if you recruit the right people, train them appropriately (and continually, since your business will evolve!), arm them with empowering resources and lead (not manage) excellently, You Win.  Period.  In any business.  Of that, there’s no dispute.  You can take that to the bank of truth.

No matter how talented, if you take a limited number of humans and reduce their numbers and/or how they are supported, guess what, it will negatively impact your ability to serve.  (Read that sentence again, please!)  That’s about as black and white as it can get.  Agreed?

Please accept my gratitude and appreciation for reading, occasionally sharing and reacting to this enewsletter.  I inevitably get a handful to a few dozen replies and value every one. 

May each and everyone have a splendid holiday season, full of family, friends and abundant promise for the coming year!

All my best,

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