In a forest, when a big tree falls, light pours in and there is a huge growth burst. Such an event is taking place at NPR. The press say that this event is because the board is anti media. We all know that the opposite is true
In the light of the press' view of what is happening, I feel compelled today to offer up a few attached insider's views of what a new CEO could find in this clearing.
First of all some issues that are now visible in the environment:
- NPR cannot go it alone - Go for the "System" - Networks trump everything that is not a network. We were maybe not sure about that after New Realities but many had that insight. There is now abundant evidence that this is true - look at Senator Obama's fund raising - so a public media system that is a real network including NPR and producers and the stations that pulls in the full creativity and energy of the public will trump any other system. The best way forward is together. Not because it is "Nice" but because it is the best! The resources that are latent in a system are vast. In a system that includes the public - are stupendous
- The money will dry up really fast - Our economic model is now as bad as for newspapers or the music industry - The shift to the web is faster and more complete than many thought in 2006 - By 2010 the web will be the centre of how life is lived and the economics for those that rely on other ways of connecting will fall off the cliff. Inaction is a decision to die. Action means a huge push to 2.0. No one is able to do this right now.
- We are all stuck. We know where to go but can't even take a first step to get there - the participative person centered system - the destination is no longer in doubt - BUT we don't know how to get there. Most are completely stuck - the Friction of the current world is overwhelming. At the moment death is very likely.
So we know where the "City on the Hill" is. We know that we have to get there. But we are stuck.
So in my humble opinion the work is to get the system unstuck. So how might we do that?
- Acknowledge that we are stuck and begin a conversation about why we are stuck and ask what would unstick us.
- Ensure that this conversation extends into the system
- The source of all healing is acknowledgment up front that we all share a problem
Some principles for getting unstuck that are the rules of healing and new growth:
- Having the expert talk down at you fails - groups of peers are the only way to help people overcome their natural fears of being someone new
- The lessons of the Innovators Solution - if you are dealing with truly disruptive change and you put the change inside the power of the old system - the old system will have to kill it
- You need great evangelists - could our modern Paul be called Jeff or Doc or David or Euan
- The lessons of the Reformation - as you become more successful in the new - the full power of the old will do its best to kill you - you need the power of the German Princes to defend you. Who are the German Princes today? They are called Omidyar, Skoll, Brin and Gates.
- You need signs of success - get some victories fast.
- You need to show your power - Eisenhower sacked any member of his staff that dissed the other allies he knew that victory depended on the alliance.
There is room in the forest for all of this to happen. It has to happen fast.
The great thing about being a consultant is that you can have some detachment. The curse of being a consultant is being detached. The last 18 months have been very hard.
I have great hope for my many friends in the larger system and at 635 Mass Avenue and I have great confidence in Dennis and Howard. Namaste