On some level, I share bits of my journey to make myself accountable, accessible, and hopefully a beacon of some form of motivation. In many ways, I am a cliche plucked directly from a movie about rebellious behavior, and figuring it out into adulthood. While arriving at the realization that we don’t have to fall in line in some things but in others, we must be functional and give on to Caesar what is his is.
When I embark on a new journey, whether it be a new client, project, job, or contract, it takes me a bit to get into a routine. This is what I often refer to as my observatory period, I learn about the culture of the people involved, the functions, purpose, and mindsets. I would love to say that this often allows me to strike effectively as some sort of secret weapon, but it does not always work out the way I plan. What I am really doing is identifying weaknesses and strengths and strategizing how to fix one and leverage the other.
While I maintain the expected deliverables, I am developing ideas for change, restructuring, and transformation, whether I remain or leave, my impact must be meaningful and valuable. I am truly there to help while ultimately gaining valuable for myself to take with me on my next journey. We can’t enter a new environment with only self-interest.
I often do deep dives, full immersion into the industry, I went in as a blank slate but I will leave with exceptional knowledge gain. I say this to say, the things I never paid attention to on television now stand out like red clown noses being thrown at me, some are good others not so much.
I am also even more firmly grounded in my belief that television is not dying, free to air simply needs transformation, a new purpose while migrating to digital, it must maintain its presence in traditional broadcasting. Content is key and like any brand, it must identify the values of its consumers and align itself with them.
The TV is a vehicle, a product that also needs to leverage its differences and provide a benefit, focus on product quality, yes, the better the quality the better the delivery. However, to provide the tangible value required, it must provide a benefit founded through a belief system, brand mindset by defining itself. By it, I mean television brands.
Internally, there must be programme oriented functions and systems, not project-oriented ones. Companies such as Netflix with strong brand presence and messaging are the main competitors and there are lessons there.
Programme orientation refers to defined processing and feedback loops.
As an example of this, here is a popular summary found on sample proposals, worded in different ways across the internet, but all have the same intent for using it. I wish I knew who said it or its origins, it feels like an Alan Weiss bit, if you know, feel free to let me in on it.
“The primary internal transition has to be from a project-oriented, transient approach, to a program-oriented permanent approach in business management. This will require establishing standards, measurement, tracking, feedback loops and ultimate ownership, which must also be embraced by all stakeholders. The process of ownership is central to success. The right collaboration in a matrix structure with accountability thrust downward is paramount, and necessary for achieving the intended goals.
You must “disrupt” what was, the people, so that a new approach of working cross-functionally — in a matrix organization — is not merely accepted but is exploited as a high-productivity way of life. Although reorganization has not been the norm, there is likely to be resistance, both from those inside and from those outside the new organization. A key factor — perhaps the key factor in success — is the ownership and appropriate behaviors of all key managers and exemplars, so that people have the proper leadership, and also accountability.”
In other words, there has to be disruption, change is inevitable but how we respond is way more important. We cannot hold to a past mindset in a fast ever-changing present. We can, and we must change, become adaptable while maintaining our foundation principles, and yes, there will be resistance. However, with the right leadership, and ownership, in a less tolerant environment (Blair Enns on tolerant and intolerant companies) where investments are made in the right people and leveraged. The appropriate manager and leadership roles, the right people in the right places will create valuable and vested interest needed for accountability, and ownership.
Many companies still operate with a triangular structure as opposed to a circular one; Likewise, many companies are adapting to the circular structure for effective feedback through an R&D-driven mindset.
“In everyday speech ‘feedback’ has come to mean: A piece of information received from the environment or another person (as in “we responded to feedback”). While this kind of feedback may be a sensory observation, mostly it is what people like or dislike about our behaviour.
In cybernetics, feedback means: A series of interacting processes which together result in a system adapting to the effect of its previous behaviour. Technically feedback is a pattern of organisation that operates only as long as the part ‘originating’ action is influenced such that its behaviour changes.”
Nonetheless, I can only speak from my own experience, the things said in this article are my opinions from my own observations. My job is to help in defining brands, but in order to do this, I must understand internal and external functions, intent, and long term vision. In any industry, learning about that industry tells you whether the client company is on point or not. Without this information, there is no brand to define, the “brand purpose” has to be the business purpose.