New Senior Management Skills

April 3, 2012 § Leave a comment

Most people in senior management arrive based on some outstanding qualities that elevated them among their peers. It is rightly expected that those qualities will be the cornerstone of how that person will perform in the future.

But, what if the industry pivots on you, and you find that you need to know more about an aspect of your business than you ever thought possible? Very few senior people are secure enough to say, “Help!”. After all, wasn’t it their knowledge and skills that got them there in the first place? Shouldn’t they be omniscient (or at least appear that way to the people who work for them)?

Some will try to “pick it up as they go along”. Others, will quite frankly, fake it. Others still find people in their organizations they trust who can backup their knowledge deficiencies.  But, at some point there is no getting around the fact that you need to at least have a working knowledge in order to get by.

The most common – and commonly accepted skill deficit – is financial acumen. Hence for many years, there have been courses available like “Finance for the non-Financial Manager”. But, in the world of publishing today, there are two areas where many senior managers are lacking, and where significant opportunities abound: technology, and production. In the current publishing evolution, knowledge of these areas of the business is no longer a “nice to have” skill, it is a necessity.

The publishing world is pivoting on technology and production to the point where these areas are no longer just cost centers but the basis from which a publisher can most efficiently position his products in the marketplace. Technology and production are no longer just tools of the publisher, they are (or can be) it’s weapon in the battle for growth and profitability.

As a senior manager, you owe it to yourself and your company to become more knowledgable in these areas. Seek out trusted advisors who can help you get the knowledge you need, and don’t be afraid to ask for clarification or dive into the details.

As you seek your path to understanding, bear in mind the following questions:

1. What are the latest innovations in technology and production for publishers?

2. How can I leverage these in my business?

3. What are the capabilities of my own team, and what new skills do they need?

4. How will utilizing the latest innovation affect the way we bring products to market?

Learning any new skill requires learning the terms, and understanding the concepts. However, as a senior manager, you must also keep your eye on the big picture, and continue to run your business. The ever changing landscape of publishing requires that we all work hard and understand new things. Taking on this task of learning about areas that you never needed to know about will set an example for your entire organization and make you a more respected leader.

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