In the latest “Radio on Main Street” podcast, Radio Advertising Bureau President and CEO Erica Farber spoke with three radio group executives about effectively leading, and not just managing, change.
“All of them are effectively leading change in their organizations and I asked them, ‘Why it is important for a leader to effectively lead change?’” Farber said as she opened the podcast, which features Hartley Atkins, Chief Operating Officer of the Markets Group for iHeartMedia; Jonathan Brewster, Chief Executive Officer of Cherry Creek Media; and Susan Larkin, Chief Operating Officer, Entercom. Highlights of the podcast follow.
“This window has put a bright spotlight on a lot of people’s management styles and practices. There are two types of leaders: There are builders and there are sustainers. They both have value. Sustainers are good at seeking out growth in windows of limited change. Whereas builders are great at taking things in disrepair and challenging themselves and others to take a view at the possible and then map out a plan to get something done that would better them considerably. They enjoy the building process. A lot of managers live in this every other year world. They have an up year, and the next year is a down year. Builders tend to have several years of growth. They want to outperform themselves. They take a crisis and see it as an opportunity to make the organization better. That’s where I think something like this, horrible as it is in so many ways, gives us a chance to hit the reset button and the right leaders are in a position to do that.”
Leaders “are deep into the process; not just managing from above. You have to have your finger on the pulse, knowing how to work effectively with different people on the team. Knowing how a radio station and clusters function, the day-to-day issues, and how changing one system can impact other things. For me, ‘managing’ is kind of managing from above. One of the problems with that is you have people with various backgrounds, different priorities, and you are not in there working with them side by side, leading them, to address some of the different challenges to make it all work together.”
“It starts with the premise of change. You can’t grow and you can’t innovate without change. As a leader, you are expected to have that vision of growth. We have to move forward. The leader is the one that has the vision and can create and convey that vision to the team on the case for change and why we need to change. That’s why it is really important to have that leadership on the outset.”