The 5 Questions
June 9, 2015
Only the rarest possess what the Greeks called megalopsychia -- greatness of soul. Very few media groups have shared the iconic history of Hubbard, Cox or CBS. Equally few leaders occupy a place in the Hall of Fame (wherever that may be). Some people have very quick analytic brains but no particular artistic appetite. Some people have loads of artistic drive but limited leadership talent -- and most of us possess our own moderate portions of each.
Seemingly, like many fields of endeavor, radio lies just off the shoals of danger; hoping for favorable winds and some internal direction. Across the specialties of radio groups from our unabashedly unscientific perspective, here are The 5 Questions:
- Am I better than I was a year ago?
- Do I have the right "generals" in our skill positions (finance, engineering, programming and sales)?
- Do I have diversity of opinion?
- Do I have greater confidence in those key people today than on the day I hired them?
- Is our strategic plan "safe" or is it truly aggressive tempered with good sense?
- Where does my cluster really rank against our competitors -- going beyond the latest ratings or Miller Kaplan audit?
- Do I have enough information; how long since my last perceptual guidance?
- How does our leadership team rank; starting with me?
- Are we programming with assertive strategy or walking by the cemetery wearing a blindfold?
- Is my sales team at parity with my competitors or measurably better?
Directors of Sales
- How do I objectively rank my recruiting?
- How do I candidly assess my retention -- is turnover killing me?
- Among the members of my sales team, how many are spot-peddlers, how many are "sustaining resources?"
- Is our training advanced and leading to improvement?
- My position is arguably the co-most important in any radio cluster. Would I hire me?
- Can I say I think and act "strategically" or am I often only winging it?
- Do I have enough tools to execute at this level of competition?
- Have I lost belief in select talent or department people?
- Can I rely on reinforcements from the company -- research, marketing, or talent acquisition?
- Do I have the self-confidence to ask for help?
- Does anyone care?
- Am I objective about my work or kidding myself?
- Are ratings the only criteria by which I'm scored?
- What do I need to do to get some coaching?
- Regardless of my numbers today, is there any stability here?
There are only a handful of radio thinkers with 1,000-horsepower minds. We could list them on a half-page. That said it's not enough to do our best … we must do what's required. We mentioned three companies that over the long years have exemplified graduate work in radio's rare circle of achievement.
There are more companies, of course, several of which aren't inside the top-25 markets and while the magnitude differs their scope is the same. It's easy to write off high-profile leaders as meretricious bubbles on media history. But think about it: How many people can you credit for having been decisive, positive factors in your career? It's good to study them, emulate them and like them, "ask questions."