(By Deborah Parenti) The primary focus of Radio Ink has always been to serve the needs of sales, marketing, and management. And as social media has altered the way news is covered and delivered, 24 hours and on the spot, that mission has become even more refined. Radio Ink headlines, which arrive daily via e-mail, cover current news, and our “breaking news” bulletins alert readers to important industry developments as they are happening. The goal of Radio Ink magazine, on the other hand, is to provide fresh and timely, yet evergreen, features and ideas that can be used this week, this month, or even later. Our editorial staff seeks out the best experts and innovative ideas, all aimed at sharing marketing strategies, plans, and success stories. It’s a wealth of information, and a great deal for the price of a subscription. OK, that’s a blatant plug. But the rest of this isn’t. Because the rest of this column is about another great source of ideas and market intel, especially if you are a manager. And it’s right outside your office door.
Your staff. When was the last time you called a meeting to brainstorm with your sales team — or even one-on-one? Better yet, when was the last time you took a problem (not your “solution”) to the team for their insight on how to solve it?
The best advice is so often found in our own backyard. Much of the time, the key difference is that internal advisers don’t need plane tickets or hotel accommodations to provide their advice. And they don’t send a bill for services rendered.
That’s not to insinuate that one should dismiss or not call on outside perspectives. Seeing a situation from afar offers great benefits. Taking stock of the bigger picture can be enormously helpful, especially if that perspective comes from someone with the advantage of having viewed many similar scenarios. But as a group owner once told me, “Those who fly in, including me, see a motion picture. You and your staff, on the other hand, see the daily rushes. You know what’s been left on the cutting room floor. And you have the power to add it back or reshoot as necessary.”
So are you looking at the daily rushes? If your door is open and inviting, you might just get the fresh ideas and innovative problem-solving approaches that have escaped you. Your sellers know the pain of the local retailer and have built trusting relationships with agencies and buyers. If they have been trained right, they know their clients. They know who has kids, who is crazy about horses, and who likes to play golf or tennis. And the better they know these clients, the more likely they are to also know their goals, challenges, and hot buttons.
The air personality down the hall (provided you still have at least one) is more than a one-sided communicator with your audience. She or he reads the pulse of the community with every phone call, online chat, or in-person interaction. When is the last time you grabbed lunch (they are always hungry) or had pizzas delivered? Trust me, they will follow the scent from the parking lot to the conference room.
But this time, don’t use the gathering as an excuse to conduct a meeting. Instead, turn it into an opportunity to find out what’s happening outside your doorway and in their world, a world where points are people, reach is a tangible connection, and audio is an up-close-and-personal voice that provides everything from entertainment to information, especially in times of crisis.
Success doesn’t start at the top. Success, if not the “flash in the pan” variety, is built from the bottom up. And it’s seldom singular. The most successful executives are not flying solo — or blind. They surround themselves with equally smart, passionate, committed people. While they may ultimately decide the plan, they realize that an organization is made up of many moving parts and that no one person can keep a close eye on every element. There is no better way to build trust and insure all the parts are moving in the same direction than by including the perspective of the team in the process.
A corporate COO once told me, “Your stations are blank canvases. Paint them as you like — just make each one beautiful.” Expanding on that philosophy, may I suggest a mural that allows others to participate in the painting? The reward might be a terrific work of art.
Deborah Parenti is Publisher of Radio Ink. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org