Read the following Case Study and prepare an original discussion thread addressing the following questions: Visions usually require changing people’s values. What desired changes in values are highlighted in this case study?
How can Nick create a compelling vision and effectively communicate his vision to the other stakeholders?
Case Study: Nick Gibbons was described by his classmates at Columbia Universitys prestigious School of Journalism as a hard-core newshound with ink running in his blood. After working as a beat reporter for 10 years, Nick became city editor of a newspaper in a mid-sized Midwest town of about 100,000, overseeing a large staff of local reporters and writers. So when the president of the large media group that owned his newspaper asked Nick to come to its headquarters for a meeting, he was excited. Until he heard what was said.
The company was going to stop printing daily newspapers, instead publishing digital editions. Nicks newspaper would only be printed three days a week; the other days the news would be delivered in an electronic edition. As a result, 75% of the newspapers workforce would lose their jobs. As the president witnessed Nicks shock and dismay, he said, Nick, we think you are the only editor at your newspaper that can make this happen. On the three-hour drive home, Nick realized that change at the newspaper was inevitable. Newspapers had been losing subscribers and revenue for a decade as readers turned to the Internet to get their news. Digital versions of newspapers were cheaper to produce and deliver. Although he did not like the idea of going digital, Nick knew in his heart that he still believed strongly in the importance of reporting the news and informing the community, no matter the format. To succeed in taking the newspaper to a digital format, Nick was going to have to change an entrenched culture and belief system about newspapers, not only within his staff but among the public as well. To do this, he had to start from the ground up, creating something entirely new. This would require bringing aboard people who were energized about the future and not mourning the past. His plan employed a three-prong approach. First, he informed the entire newspaper staff that they would lose their current jobs in three months and they would have to reapply for new jobs within the newspaper. The first required qualification was a willingness to forge the future for local journalism and make a contribution to this movement. If you cant let go of the past, he told his coworkers, then you cant move forward. In the end, almost 80% of the new positions were filled by former staffers whom Nick believed to be the best and brightest people the newspaper had. Second, Nick moved the companys offices out of the building it had been in for 120 years to a smaller, very public space on the first floor of a downtown building. The offices were located on a corner completely sided by windows, the inner workings of the newspaper on display to passersby. Nick wanted the newspapers operations to be very visible so that it didnt seem like it had just disappeared. Nicks third approach was what he called a high forgiveness factor. What they were creating was new and untried, and he knew there would be plenty of missteps along the way. He stressed to his new staffers that he didnt expect perfection, just dedication and determination.
For example, one of those missteps was the elimination of the newspapers exhaustive list of local events, which resulted in a huge community outcry. To correct this, staffers determined they could satisfy the communitys frustrations by creating a dedicated website for a local events calendar with event organizers submitting the information electronically.
A staff member would oversee college interns in editing the submissions and updating the website.
When the newspaper announced its change to a digital format, the reaction was harsh: Readers canceled subscriptions, and advertisers dropped away like flies. Its been four years since the change, and the newspaper is slowly gaining back readers and experiencing more visits to its website.
The sales staff is starting to be successful teaching advertisers how to create digital ads that can reach the right audiences by using behavioral targeting and social media.