Michael Foy

Do publishers have the right people on the bus?

A classic text provides some helpful and timeless advice

I know from talking to many of my clients that most have read Jim Collins’ book ‘Good to Great’. I have also been inspired by his research into what makes great companies great. Many of you will recall an article I wrote on applying the lessons of Jim’s more recent book ‘Great by Choice’ to publishing. Thus inspired I recently read his earlier book ‘Good to Great’ for the first time.

In ‘Good to Great’, Collins and his research team discovered that the great companies didn’t ask what product or which strategy first. They instead asked who. Who do we need on our (company) bus for a successful business journey? Company owners Hewlett and Packard, for instance, consciously built their future by hiring outstanding people even before they knew what they’d be making or what direction they’d be driving. Whenever they found these people they hired them even without a specific job in mind. Hewlett Packard became one of the great American success stories and outperformed the stock market by many times. They were one of many cases that emphasized having the right people is the most important element for an organization to achieve greatness.

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Applying “Great by Choice” to publishing

First to market with the riskiest digital offering shouldn’t necessarily be the goal

I don’t think it’s news that most publishers are struggling with the same changes that accosted the music industry a few years ago. Shrinking demand for traditional products coupled with very specific needs for digital content. Challenging times are testing most sectors of the economy and companies of every type are looking for new models of operation. Why then are some companies thriving? That’s the subject of a book I read recently called Great by Choice, by Jim Collins and Morten Hansen. The subtitle, I think, is even more provocative: Uncertainty, Chaos and Luck—Why Some Thrive Despite Them All.

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Speaking as a publishing recruiter and author

The best talent isn't always in the most obvious places

Mining dollars from the digital age. It’s what every publisher is concerned with lately. In my day job as recruiter, as I like to say, I’ve clinically observed publishers struggling with the new realities. By night, as I assume my guise as publisher and author, I join in the industry’s goal to utilize the latest e-tools to sell content.

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