Friday, April 20, 2007

Tribune to eliminate jobs, put it's managers on an 8-step program

Reports yesterday were about the 1Q loss and 12% cash flow drop and today Zell's new company has buyout/layoff plans for 100 in Chicago. No one's talking about how many positions will go company-wide. Zell has said he didn't think cost-cutting would solve Tribune's problems, but how is slashing jobs not cost-cutting?

While we all wait for the bad news, perhaps there's a bit of good news in a Tribune plan to fix it's leadership/management problems.

In today's Chicago Tribune online edition, we learn that Harvard Business School professor John Kotter, author of business manual "Leading Change", was invited to Chicago this week to address top executives. "Kotter talked about creating a sense of urgency and removing barriers that get in the way of doing new things ..."

Kotter's 8-step program for guiding change according to the book's Table of Contents:
1. Establishing a sense of urgency
2. Creating the guiding coalition
3. Developing a vision and strategy
4. Communicating the change vision
5. Empowering broad-based action
6. Generating short-term wins
7. Consolidating gains and producing more change
8. Anchoring new approaches in the culture

A Library Journal review begins "After trying an endless array of quick fixes and other panaceas, executives struggling to stay in business in a rapidly changing world are finding it necessary to consider more fundamental reasons for their lack of success." Mary Whaley for Booklist wrote that Kotter "acknowledges that substantive change requires leadership, but not the elitist notion of leadership as a divine gift of birth granted to a few. Kotter makes a compelling case that winners will be those who outgrow their rivals." Could it be that Zell brought in Kotter?

We might read the book. We just hope the barriers needing removal aren't the hard-working, content-providing folks who are the very core of the company.

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