Beyond problem-solving: Leading through the chaos and setting the course

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The strategic plan developed by the SNPA Board of Directors encourages the creation of a publisher development program based on what members have identified as a training void in our industry.

Publishers attending the News Industry Summit in Nashville, Oct. 10-12, will get a taste of this new initiative.

Tom Silvestri, president and publisher of the Richmond (Va.) Times-Dispatch and chairman of SNPA's Executive Development Committee, said the committee "has outlined an approach and invited The Poynter Institute to help create such a program for SNPA members." Any program created would require SNPA Board approval.

He said an expanded segment at the fall SNPA conference in Nashville will "provide a sample of what such a development program could be."

He added, "This live demonstration will focus on helping current publishers and publishers-to-be lead through the chaos and uncertainty to constantly anticipate what's next and have the wherewithal to turn possibilities into positive results. You won't get a certificate for completing the Poynter-led overview, but you'll help SNPA further refine a development program that we hope will be career-changing for our publisher members."

Neil Brown, president of The Poynter Institute, will lead the segment at the News Industry Summit.

Brown said, "We've diagnosed the challenges to our news and advertising business: marketplace volatility, dynamic changes in audience and advertiser behavior, uncertain (and squishy) business environments, even pop-up competitors. We know that it takes dedication and poise (and even a strong stomach) to respond to these forces."

During this session, he will talk with SNPA members about spending time on leading, not just responding. He said, "Working strategically – and bringing your organization forward – too often gives way to putting out fires."

His talk will examine:

  • The qualities and skills that set apart those who can chart a course for their company and collaborate with their team to create a future.
  • How change leadership is about more than cutting or adapting to adverse circumstances.
  • How publishers can embolden each other – sharing resources, working on creativity, clarifying messages – so that their leadership is about optimism and exciting possibilities, rather than appropriate reaction to trouble.
  • How communication, relationships, time management, staff development, peer contact and other skills can help the most experienced executives and emerging leaders.
  • The belief in an "essentialist" approach to leadership.

Silvestri said, "You might not be able to solve all of the industry's challenges after the Summit, but you won't lack for a better approach."

Reserve your hotel room
The News Industry Summit will be held at the Nashville Hilton. The group rate is $254 (single or double occupancy). Reserve your room no later than Sept. 19 by calling (615) 620-1000 (Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.) or dial 1-800-HILTONS. Rooms are expected to sell out early; you are encouraged to reserve your room as soon as possible.

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