Lets Give Ourselves an "A" for Possibility!

25 Jan Lets Give Ourselves an "A" for Possibility!

104641178“We can’t choose your content. If we did, somebody here would lose their job.”

I hear this objection a least once a week from one prospect or another. It is yet another example of how fear paralyzes our industry.

True, the large corporate owners of local media companies rightly continue to wring out costs from their organizations. Unfortunately, too often this translates into staff reductions, furloughs or both with no accompanying plan for growth. Not a week seems to pass these days without another announcement of some job cut.

In fact newspapers and their electronic media counterparts seem to be intent on cutting their way to oblivion, pursuing a downward spiral of negativity, to borrow a term from conductor Benjamin Zander. You’ll need a spare 30 minutes to watch this clip of Zander, but it’s worth your time if you want concrete proof that greatness starts with frame of mind:

Zander gives every student an “A” at the beginning of each class provided the student writes him a letter telling him who they will have become by the end of the course. He celebrates their possibilities rather than dwelling on what his students can’t do.


Leadership is the belief in opportunity rather than the fear of survival. Leadership is the celebration of optimism over protectionism — creating new jobs instead of eliminating old ones to hold on for dear life, for example. Leadership is believing that you and your team can do the impossible or at least the improbable. What’s happening in the newspaper business today is that extraordinarily talented, dedicated people are being stopped and held back because they are so anxious about their jobs and their futures.

When I was a kid my mother used to tell me, “can’t never did anything.” Of course she was right. Mothers always are.

“Can” requires vision of the possibilities. Possibilities are unlimited! Possibilities also can require bravery and faith. Still wouldn’t it be great if the next time we utter, or hear the words, “we can’t . . .” we stop in our tracks and ask, “What could happen if we do?” Obviously it may be bad things would happen, but it is possible that good things would happen in such abundance that they outweigh the bad.

If you choose to use our content in a niche category like bridal or to make holiday a year-round business, could you then redeploy your current staff to cover a local school bond issue or tax increase or that recent rash of burglaries — news of intense local interest? Would that make your paper or radio station or Tv station stronger, better? Could content from CTW help you grow your revenue from non-traditional advertisers? If you grew revenue enough could you increase the size of your team?

We all have a choice. We can choose to live in fear and negativity. Or we can choose to celebrate what is possible.

It’s time to give ourselves an “A.” We need to see the possibility that we can become a growth industry that creates more jobs than it eliminates again. We can start today.