Mike Drop: Takin’ Care of Business

By Mike Lessiter, President

From the Mike Drop column of the February 2019 Lessiter Link newsletter

In each of the last 3 months, I’ve represented LM at 3 media executive events — the Niche Media CEO Summit, the Media Growth Council and, last week, the Specialized Industry Publishers Assn. (SIPA) Owner’s Retreat. I’ve found each to be good for flushing out new ideas, flying the flag among sellers and benchmarking our performance. And of course, establishing relationships that are leading to further thought exchange, which has been very helpful in recent months.

I’m grateful to others here at LM who’ve stepped up in their responsibilities so I can pursue my leadership development. I intend to use this time (and their contributions) wisely. I’m accountable to prepare a presentation each month to the management team on key takeaways.

Areas that have piqued my interest in our niche audiences include data programs (internal and external), consultative-type services, e-learning certifications, buyer-seller exchanges and audience peer groups. I’m impressed to see companies doing great things by aggregating business management data and presenting them back via benchmarking tools and worksheets. As a company built on the shoulders of a niche, we are positioned to explode our offerings to those audiences we work to understand.

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.” Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

These events make me proud of LM and energized, but also aware of what we’re missing. Going deep with niche publishing peers at these events (and the accompanying travel time) are equally good for head-clearing and reflection, as well as creating insomnia (in areas that we must do better).

An interesting discussion during SIPA involved the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). Of the 23 companies at SIPA, 4 were in some degree of implementation of this same management system we use here. At least 2 more downloaded Traction during the conference. The dialog, which continued over meals and breaks, was that every company needs a management system, and that EOS is as simple and easy to comprehend as any. After 3 years now, 2019 needs to be the year LM hits its stride with EOS.

LM’s future will hinge on how well we execute this system. Identifying, selecting and executing our Rocks will ensure progress ... Weaknesses, opportunities and threats are revealed through the system ... A structure exists to support and enact change.

But I also know this ... Company-wide, we must take care of the “here and now” to afford the time and resources to leverage what’s ahead. By my own admission, the management team is too consumed with the short-term agenda items about standards, administrative-type policies, etc. We need all the managers (and their staffs) to step in to that void and allow L10 more capacity to pursue the longer-term horizon.

And, this is a great opportunity for you to shine and grow. I hope you’ll accept the invitation to take on more ownership, or ask what you can do today to help you seize it in the future.

I don’t know of any business that stands still, and ours is no exception. It’s my job to have higher expectations of the company and each of you, and I do. It needs to be that way.

We got some things done together last year, but we’ll also need everyone’s best for 2019. Are you ready to give it? Start that conversation with your supervisor.