Finding personal satisfaction and a sense of overall happiness can be an incredibly difficult thing.
Even in a non-pandemic moment there are days that pass where this sense of well being is elusive.
As you consider ways for you to personally be in a better space,consider also how happiness factors into your style of leadership management.
What you project defines part of your style and how your message is received.
Even with virtual management being a new normal, when you sign on to your morning stand up with a scowl on your face from a bad night of sleep, there’s no doubt you are sending the wrong message to the troops.
Some months ago I was fortunate to take a course via Coursera called The Science of Well Being taught by Yale Professor Dr. Laurie Santos.
During the course Laurie brought up the importance of gratitude as one of the cornerstones of happiness and well being and I couldn’t help wonder whether this is a missing link that the leadership of today should consider.
Her view is that happy people are:
Socially connected and they spend time with others.
They prioritize connection.
They also don’t focus on themselves as they are “others oriented”.
They are grateful and they look for good as they have a mindset of gratitude.
They find three to five things they are grateful for everyday.
I started to wonder if some of Laurie’s priorities from the course, especially gratitude were an opportunity for leaders to improve their teams and the entire organization.
In thinking about gratitude at the core of happiness, how can this permeate all employees?
Do you actively keep note of things to be grateful for as a leader?
Certainly your current employer is a good place to start being thankful for.
Times are challenging and the fact they have hung in with you means a lot.
When you consider the employees you manage are you going out of your way being as Laurie put it to be”others oriented” and acknowledge great work?
Do you consider the work of all departments during this difficult time and express appreciation for the good work being done?
This all sounds easy but it really takes individual focus.
As Seth Godin put it on January 10 2017 “entitlement gets us nothing but heartache. It blinds us to what’s possible.
It insulates us from the magic of gratitude.
Gratitude, on the other hand is just as valid a choice. Except that gratitude makes us open to possibility. It brings us closer to others. And it makes us happier.”
Now is a good time to consider adding gratitude to your leadership toolbox.
We are at a moment in time that requires incredible strength, intestinal fortitude and ultimate leadership at the highest level.
No matter what business you are in, the margin of error can be the difference between success and failure.
Rishad Tobaccowala knows what is necessary to push not only ourselves but our organizations to greatness.
He is a Senior Advisor to the Publicis Groupe and he is the author of “Restoring the Soul of Business: Staying Human in the Age of Data”.
His spirit of marketing innovation along with his direct but gentle style makes him the business buddha of our time.
His session “Re-inventing Leadership with Heart and Soul” at the Radio Show produced tremendous insights to take back to your various teams and put into action.
One of the points in his speech that I was drawn to was his comment that as things have changed you should embark on an exercise with your teams that does a SWOT(Strengths, Weakness, Opportunities/Threats)analysis of your team, your competitors and of yourself.
What would a personal SWOT look like?
Great leaders know that they can rely on their strengths as an important backbone to success.
What characteristics of your strength give you a unique selling point and a competitive advantage?
It is worth pausing to truly think about this.
When you go beyond processes and systems and get to the core of strengths, there are many questions that you should ask about yourself to consider where you rank versus peers.
Just like a competitive SWOT or a full team SWOT you need the “ice in the veins” approach to get to the honest evaluation of your personal SWOT.
Where does appreciation of excellence fit into your view of yourself?
Those leaders that have an appreciation for excellence in the moment and value the beauty of tremendous performance, both in the present and the past serve their teams at a higher level.
Courage and tenacity is critical in your personal SWOT analysis because if these factors show up as weaknesses or threats than you and your organization will shrink when a challenge creeps up.
We must consider how organizations value innovation as part of their core philosophy and curiosity plays an important role in that process.
Curiosity may be placed in your personal SWOT in the strength category but it also can be a high value opportunity as well.
Many times when we consider how we “carry” ourselves in a business setting an important trait that hopefully stacks up as a strength in your SWOT is your social intelligence.
This is the important dynamic of knowing what makes people tick, essentially reading the room.
Take this aspect of your SWOT very seriously as it can easily be an opportunity for improvement or a threat to your personal brand as well.
When personal weaknesses are considered in your SWOT there are many backbones of success that can need long term work to turn around.
For example: your reputation is everything and at it’s core are elements such as: honesty and authenticity that are pillars of leadership characteristics.
Perspective is an important trait that hopefully is one of your core strengths as you can see that the individual that possesses this is the person who gives their team wise counsel.
As these are difficult times the leader who has humor as a strength in their personal SWOT can be an incredible asset to their organization.
I strongly consider you follow Rishad’s advise and find some quiet time in the day and conduct your personal SWOT.
This week at the Radio Show 2020 presented by the NAB and the RAB I delivered a presentation called “How Programming and Sales need a makeover”.
In the presentation, I discussed that today’s internal Programming and Sales teams should strive to re-set the internal culture as a first step to maximizing monetization in these challenging times.
Great collaborative efforts are producing tremendous results all over the country, but as the difficult task of budgeting for 2021 is beginning we have to ramp up our efforts of excellence to have a better chance at getting our fair share of revenue.
The internal teams need to improve their culture by being diligent about documenting success and building upon internal pride.
I discussed how there must be an obsession with our advertisers built upon understanding client “hot buttons” as a path to better client “partnerships” and the “next generation of NTR.”
One of the pieces of the process of preparing for 2021 that I discussed in the presentation was an internal planning meeting with all key stakeholders called a “Promotional Monetization Analysis” where each available station asset is discussed to ensure that it was monetized most effectively.
Also, part of the discovery process for the meeting involved getting specific client feedback regarding promotions they loved, what could have been improved and in general how the client partnership relationship can be maximized.
This reminded me of my late friend, former Beasley VP of Sales Bob McCurdy who in one of his last blogs in Radio Ink back on July 5th titled “What Got us here won’t keep us here” wrote:
“Enhance Relationship with key decision makers. Dig in with agency planning groups to understand how they view and go about choosing media. This knowledge would enable me to better “position” my media assets.”
I went to a select group of great thought leaders who like Bob McCurdy have supported our medium for years and asked the question: “What can radio do better when it comes to presenting creative solutions for agencies to get the best share of the marketplace.?”
Lauren Russo is the EVP Managing Partner, Audio Investments and Promotions at Horizon Media and she has been a long- time supporter of our business.
According to Lauren: “Radio Broadcasters need to provide holistic solutions utilizing all of their assets across broadcast and digital while leveraging their 1st party data to inform sales proposals to align with brand objectives. Measurement and attribution on the backend to prove the effectiveness and value against a brand’s KPI’s are critical in today’s data- driven environment.”
Going down a similar path to the question is Bruce Mittman, President and CEO Mittcom. Bruce sits at a unique vantage point because in addition to owning his agency, he is also the owner of radio stations (Community Broadcasters).
According to Bruce: “Deliver to the advertiser an attribution model with all schedule’s which measures and demonstrates ROI! Provide the agency with a clear rationale of radio’s contribution to the overall media strategy. Demonstrate radio’s unique creative audience engagement potential and cost efficiencies.”
Lastly, I asked the question to Glenn Rosenberg, the owner of Power Media in Jericho, NY and he said:
“Radio pushes their salespeople to develop new business but puts almost no effort to retain the business. Most of the time, when one of our radio campaigns ends, we don’t hear from the rep to ask how the campaign did or even if we’d like to renew.”
I hope if you saw the presentation you found actionable items and I hope in the spirit of Bob McCurdy’s comments you will seek feedback from key decision makers as a path to incremental improvement.
Challenging times demand strong leadership no matter what business you are in and our business needs great leadership in all facets of our business.
Here are some thoughts on the type of leadership great managers deliver that hopefully will inspire you.
My old friend Chuck Knight has always demonstrated great programming leadership and he says:
“Be a leader. Don’t get too high during the highs, too low during the lows. Ask questions of your listeners. Respect their answers. Develop a plan to give them what they want. Pay attention to detail. Value and work with talented people. A Brand Manager is an artist with a blank canvas. Hear it in your mind. Continually coach specifics. Give your people your time. Have regular meetings. A leaders job is really about giving your team confidence. Dream. Have fun. Always be honest.”
What a great series of thoughts from someone I know lives and breathes his words because of his love for our business.
Matt Basile has spent many years around our business and was one of the earliest digitally focused specialists that I observed and worked with years ago.
Matt has a beautifully simplistic view of leadership traits of great managers: “One doesn’t need a title to be a leader. I’ve always gravitated towards those who aren’t afraid to roll up their sleeves and get dirty. Someone who walks the talk and does what they say they will do. As a leader, I always try to be honest, fair and genuine. Everyone on your team is an individual and may be motivated by something completely different than another team member. A good leader recognizes that and knows how to communicate in such a way that inspires and encourages team members to achieve success.”
Matt’s mention of genuine authenticity as a leadership trait is key in a hyped up world that we live in.
When I brought up via Linked In that I was looking for input on great leadership traits I heard from a bunch of on-air talent who weighed in with there perspective: and seeing the potential of who the next “stars” are
John Willis who has worked in Boston Radio for many years and currently anchors for Total Traffic says “A good manager is focused, stays on message and can easily communicate with the staff. They stay positive and consistent in their demeanor. They are always willing to listen and are open to suggestions and ideas. They support their staff at every turn and are willing to invest in their success.”
Roxanne Steele who is on air for Cumulus Detroit highlighted some of her best managers and their leadership traits: “The best managers I’ve worked for were Todd Cavanah and Dave Robbins in Chicago, and Tim Roberts in Detroit. They always communicated with me personally so we knew where we stood as a company and where we were going. It’s truly the key to success! Also honesty. If you can’t be honest and share feedback(good or bad)you can’t grow. Having compassion and showing your employees you care goes a long way.”
I’m so glad in particular that Roxanne highlighted the late Dave Robbins because I also witnessed first hand how he loved his craft and practiced great leadership as well.
It was a mission for Dave Robbins!
Shawn Tempesta who is on-air for Entercom also weighed in as well: “In my opinion great leaders are accountable. They don’t project failures on other around them. Great leaders don’t wait for others to take the first step. They take bold action and act in discovery and desire to reach higher heights-not fear of an idea not working. Great ideas un-tapped are a massive waste. Honest is integral. Be a straight shooter. Don’t sugarcoat or beat around the bush. If you lose trust, you lose everything.”
Honesty is a key theme here as you can clearly see.
We’ve all heard the comment over time in our business that “for being in the communication business we don’t communicate well” and on air talent Marissa Lanchak adds “communication, consistency and building a spirit of great team work” are important leadership attributes.
Tim Moore is an SVP at Iheart and he crystalized things nicely from a managers perspective-“ Leaders need to set an example by being willing to dive in and work at day to day tasks that used to be delegated. I think that open communication-including the big picture stuff that is often withheld from the troops is critical.
Never has hiring been more critical and retention of exceptional people been more vital along with seeing the potential of the “stars” in their formative stages “
Lastly, my view on leadership is that these are all great words that MUST be backed up by actions!
DWYSYWD=Do what you say you will do remains an important guiding force for the present and the future!
As we wind our way thru a tumultuous year, it is important to stop and think about one of our most important assets, TALENT.
How are you keeping your talent engaged?
How strong of a bond have you solidified with your talent?
Does your talent believe you have their back and will they run thru walls for you?
Some thoughts on how to do this at a time it is more important than ever that they feel good about the work they are doing.
1)Share the state of the state with them on a regular basis.
This includes pertinent ratings results and goals, revenue goals, social meeting engagement goals.
Sometimes we take for granted that everybody has the scorecard and knows where we stand and that is not always completely true.
Communication is a key priority in keeping talent engaged especially in these times that can be so isolating.
2)Acknowledge great examples of flawless execution
This can be another instance of what we as programmers take for granted and don’t remember to acknowledge their talent.
Flawless execution is always a top priority whether it be: stop set placement, great storytelling, the art of the tease or in general spectacular content “in the moment.”
You can never overdo acknowledging flawless execution and it will help foster great talent engagement.
3)Do you listen to how talent currently themselves is feeling about their work?
Sometimes just listening and letting talent talk is the most valuable way you can engage with them.
This is especially important now as in many cases talent continues to work remotely and they can be feeling isolated like many of us due to Covid restrictions.
Ask good questions but make sure you are a good listener and you are willing to hear the answers.
4)Do you find opportunities to let your talent dream big?
Give them the freedom to think of what they have previously viewed as impossible.
Your job as a leader is to give talent the opportunity to dream and to help them realize their goals.
5)Discuss what talent is engaged with outside of their radio world.
By understanding the rhythm of their life you have a better chance of appealing to their most passionate interests.
Sometimes this discovery just happens in casual conversation and that’s ok as well!
6)Make it fun/not a chore for talent to be with you.
If they dread the experience with you they likely will be tuning you out.
Be sensitive that you aren’t droning on for the sake of conversation.
7)Practice empathetic leadership with your talent.
If they know you understand truly where “they are coming from” the better the engagement in the relationship.
By understanding talent in more detail you’ll understand the right buttons to push.
8)Knowing who talent is engaged and entertained by is a helpful window inside their thought process.
If you understand who has influenced or mentored talent throughout their career you’ll be more effective in managing them moving forward.
9)Make sure talent knows how obsessed you are with details of their show as a specific way to demonstrate that you care about them.
There is nothing worse than talent feeling you aren’t paying close attention to the work they are producing.
10)Don’t forget to fill talents “bucket” up with positive reinforcement on a regular basis.
This is such an underutilized technique and it is critical to building a positive and productive mindset for talent.
You have to be a straight shooter but keep the balance of the conversation positive and upbeat.
Radio keeps mentioning local whenever it can, but do stations really walk the walk?
It’s easy to throw the term around but like many truths often these are half- truths.
So what are some examples of localism at its best?
1)Your station is SO embedded in your community that the political leaders are friends and family to your organization.
They look to you in times of need and you have a track record of delivering.
They ACTUALLY listen to your brands!
2)Your stations are SO embedded in your community that getting your brands played on the radio in high traffic locations is a lay- up.
You are a dominant force in your community and are heard EVERYWHERE!
3)Your stations are THEE go to source from other media outlets in the community.
This is especially true in breaking news cycles around music, pop culture and other news worthy events.
4)Your charity relationships go well beyond just running a PSA to support an event.
Charities are true partners with you on a local level and together the partnership produces amazing results!
5)Your local sports franchises don’t hesitate to partner with you even if you aren’t the rights holder in the marketplace.
Team ownership knows the value of a great local relationship.
6)Your brand is so local that when out of towners consume the content they are occasionally lost and out of the loop of some of the conversation.
This local content can consist of slang, new local trends or anything that is hyper-focused to the market.
7)Your stations are so local that they truly are the local social network of the marketplace.
Great brands connect with an ear to the ground in the local marketplace better than any social network ever can.
8)Your local brands are so connected to a market that they set trends and create them rather than follow trends.
This can manifest itself in the form of local events, local catch phrases or any other local movement that unites an audience.
9)Your stations are so embedded locally that your programming leadership knows every zip-code and every nuance of every town and village, so you can super serve the audience and their passion points.
Your brands know how to blanket the local marketplace.
10)Your brand is so attached locally that with a world of competitive choices the other options are irrelevant to the marketplace.
Localism is clearly a competitive point of difference for the radio business.
Quality must always come first, but great local radio gives any competitive option a difficult battle to fight.
What are your examples of localism at it’s best?
With the passing of Labor Day means the passing of the Summer and on to Q-4 and with that it’s important you and your team come out of the gate strong.
Here are 10 steps worth considering that can help you be effective doing that:
1)Pull your team together(in whatever form of in-person or virtual)and do a State of the State Meeting. This is all hands on deck and it is designed to give everyone a sense of what the current state of the marketplace is, how you are performing and what you intend to do to be successful.
This is step one allowing you to set the table to organizing your mission.
2)Meet one on one(or virtually)with your key team members to get a sense of how they are doing personally, how you can set them up for success and what are the priorities in doing that.
This is a way for you as a leader to look them in the eye and really determine if and how they are up for the challenge.
3)Have your sales leadership do a quick assessment of the largest clients by category by reaching out to the clients, asking them what their key priorities and needs are and determine next steps.
4)Have your programming leadership work with marketing and promotions and do a quick database survey of your audience to see what they are feeling these days as well.
This is a reality check to help guide your brand’s tone and temperament in communicating to the market.
5)Evaluate current imaging campaign for a station brand and freshen up the production pieces to reflect the mood of the market.
If the audience for example desires each brand EVEN MORE for “escapism” in this current climate then have that reflected in the attitude of the imaging.
6)Evaluate all music clocks(if you are a music station) to determine effectiveness relating to your most recent research and make necessary tweaks to freshen up what is coming out of the speakers.
7)Evaluate your current airplay(if you are a music station) to determine it most effectively executes your latest research and if you are playing the best music.
8)Make sure that all social media platforms are consistent with best messaging for the current times.
9)Do a post mortem of all promotions for first three quarters as a beginning step of planning for 2021. What worked, what didn’t and how to create more of the magical elements that are needed to stand out.
10)Dream big as an organization with your sites set on how to turn our many challenges into big opportunities!
Return a phone call
Answer an email
Help a colleague who has lost a job
Encourage a colleague with a new venture
Support an industry initiative
Propose an alternative idea before shutting a good idea down.
Salute a past mentor
Find someone new to mentor
Share an interesting article that might improve someone’s work
Thank someone for their valuable time
Challenge the status quo
Respect the past
Re-imagine the future
Seek great before settling for good
I recently was honored to collect thoughts for the Radio Ink August Magazine issue from a variety of great minds for the topic “40 Ways Radio can be stronger in the next 100 years” article in celebration of the 100th Anniversary of Radio.
I probed an anonymous cross section of business leaders and I was struck by all of the passionate and very candid responses to the question that touched a lot of nerves.
For that reason I decided to share some leftover responses that got minimized or left on the editing floor.
These thoughts were too good to leave to vanish in thin air.
I broke the thoughts out by general topic as there were many recurring themes.
“What do people want that radio does really well? Human voices telling stories, reflecting our own lives in conversation. Radio stations/ talent stables/on demand audio channels can remain relevant destinations where the best hosts are found. Yes think about the amazing music hosts that mix stories and songs.”
“Throughout the pandemic we’ve found that people have been home for much longer than ever before and they have discovered that Spotify and Pandora and Apple TV and Netflix are not only easy to use but enjoyable. The Consumer is in charge and the only way radio can differentiate itself in this crowded media landscape is to provide something that others aren’t, that’s a local story with local information.”
“What does Radio have to do in the next 100 years? Reinvent!!! And understand that it is not in the Radio business but in the content/product business! Every industry has been challenged in their life cycle because of new technology, changes in the marketplace dynamic, a shift in consumer desire and consumption. Those that don’t adapt and reinvent themselves suffer a fateful end! Radio must realize it is in the content business. Consumers have too many choices for content which is exactly why Radio must produce content that serves a purpose for the consumer. Too much of what airs today is bland lifeless content that lacks unique appeal. Stop and think about it, why does the industry continue to spend money to air great content that airs one time! It makes no sense! One of the things ESPN did so well in its heyday was getting the content on as many platforms as possible. The radio industry has attempted to do that but gotten bogged down with concepts like podcasts rather than understanding where the consumers are: You Tube, Twitch, Instagram, Facebook and others. All of these are simply platforms for distribution. And there will continue to be new ones. Radio is a platform to deliver content.”
“Radio industry leaders need to stop being cheerleaders for radio. In the 2000s, newspaper executives were cheerleaders for print. It made them look defensive or worse, daft to what everyone else knew what was happening. Their response to losing about 10;billion in print classified advertising within four years was to create and trademark a logo called “Bona Fide Classifieds” showing a 1930s style newspaper carrier holding up a newspaper. They asked all newspapers to put it on their classified pages, stating “classified ads in newspapers are REAL and online classifieds are not.”
“Too many groups will not walk away from any piece of business. Buyers don’t respect the industry. They know they can get whatever they want and continue to drive pricing down. There is plenty of demand for radio, however we keep selling more spots for less money.”
“We’ve got the all important local connection, we influence our community and deliver for advertisers. Too often those in position to buy radio advertising perceive radio as second fiddle. We need to shift that perception to crystallize our position as the most powerful reach medium available.”
“In 2001, newspaper publishers were engaged in strategic planning for the future. They picked the futuristic year of 2005, which would be the equivalent today of doing strategic planning for 2025. While it sounds great, the problem is 5 year planning hangs on short term trends. In 2001, the dot com bubble had just burst giving credibility to publishers who felt the internet was mostly a fad. Today, the equivalent of the dot com bubble burst for the radio industry is Proctor and Gambles reported retreat from radio and the abandonment( for the time being) of Facebook advertising by Unilever, Starbucks, Ford and others. If history repeats itself(it will)these advertisers will return to Facebook or find other forms of “social media” that are most acceptable. Radio dollars will continue to erode.”
We’ve reached the back of this illustrious year of chaos and it’s worth hitting the pause button for a second to deal with everyone’s favorite topic: Data and Metrics.
OK it’s not everyone’s favorite topic but it’s a necessity in this day and age.
You can’t avoid it.
My suggestion is that whether you are a Market Manager, Director of Sales, Program Director, Digital Manager or anyone I’m unintentionally leaving out you should assemble your team and review your existing metrics, prioritize the ones of greatest importance and specifically set and reaffirm the goals for the back of the year.
It is no doubt your teams are swimming in a sea of numbers and as the great Peter Drucker said: “Managements job is to simplify” so it’s time to take on this herculean task.
You can do it…and you need to do it!
Here is an attempt to put perspective on the challenge of prioritizing metrics and give you a nudge in the conversation.
Your mileage may vary.
Any conversation about metrics has to include this disclaimer because every situation is different.
Every market has it’s competitive nuance and metrics can sometimes only tell a part of the story.
There are differences by format types, gender, age and ethnicity that need consideration when thinking of metrics.
Consider the details of your unique circumstance as you ponder the metrics.
Cash Flow and Revenue Projections
This is obviously the big picture set of numbers that is and will always be of most importance for every company, no matter what the size or business.
Surprisingly, that information is not always shared in totality in some market cluster situations and it leaves some team members in the dark and often wondering what the “state of the state” really is.
Everyone should share in the pain and enjoy the gain.
Leaders should consider the best and most efficient process to share this information across departments within their organization so everyone is aligned on the mission.
Winning in the ratings game still matters and there are so many ways to evaluate, frame and sometimes put a spin on the details.
The facts around these results can also vary depending on the differences of PPM versus Diary and what actions you have chosen that support your brand.
When a monthly or quarterly “data dump” occurs bring your respective teams together and decide where you’ve won, where you’ve lost and what actions need to be taken to improve upon your work.
Evaluate all of the critical fundamentals like weekly cume, average daily cume, time spent listening, market PUMM levels etc and consider how seasonality, news events and abnormal listening patterns factor into the current results.
This is a critical factor when consideration is given to making changes with one of your brands.
Success can be a game of inches and consideration also needs to be given to how much audience growth is needed to jump up the ratings point ladder, which we know is ever so critical in a world of competitive ratings compression.
Build the best case you can take to the market to tell your story and win the battle for mind share.
Find new ways to make the case for how clients are achieving great ROI for their advertising spend.
Here’s where the world has continued to evolve and where it can get really crazy to prioritize and make sense of the data and set specific and achievable goals for your team.
Digital teams who are part of content creation and Digital sales teams need Managers who understand how to simplify and manage the data flow.
Remember when the digital metrics evaluation was led primarily by monitoring website traffic, growth and specific user behavior data?
This at it’s core still needs constant nurturing for growth.
Database management and growth was part of the early stage of digital and we can’t forget about goal setting for that important initiative.
Are you making sure that you are providing a meaningful value proposition for the members of your database?
Many stations seem to have given up on growing their database as a result of other “shiny objects” entering the picture.
It is of critical importance as well to evaluate where your performance stands with all of your social media platforms and how you intend to grow your brands footprint.
Defining specific metric and loyalty growth should be agreed upon by all members of the team.
As our business as a necessity becomes omni-channel , the list that falls under digital seems to sprout new tentacles that need to be managed and evaluated.
With Podcasting entering the landscape over the recent years managing subscriber growth is a priority.
Podcasting platforms also allow for granular analysis of how people consume your content, where they get fatigued, devices they utilize, etc so you have an opportunity to find ways to improve your product.
As mobile consumption becomes a continued key area of listening behavior, are you evaluating app downloads and setting particular growth goals for your brands?
Managing your assets includes managing how frequently you promote your assets over the air.
You should treat yourself like a good client when it comes to using inventory to promote these assets.
Because Smart Speakers have grown as a listening destination those metrics need to be managed very closely to grow usage.
Many brands have video as part of their portfolio and this has opened up the importance of not only the number of views you are garnering but also what your completion rates look.
This is another area for you and your team to study audience behavior so you can consistently tweak content for improvement.
In summary, there is too much at stake in every competitive situation to not pause, bring your team together, define priorities and set metric goals for your future success.