Loving the San Francisco Bay Area... Community development, urban ministry, trying to defeat poverty, faith, religion, politics, good music, the quest for the perfect pizza, the Yankees, motorcycles... All in a 'day's life'

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Les Moonves and CBS - Focus and Leadership

I caught Leslie Moonves the current CEO of CBS on Charlie Rose. (God bless Tivo!) He has taken over CBS led a transformation in the network. CBS, going from last place in programs has come to first with shows like CSI, Survivor and others. He led a successful split of CBS and Viacom which led to a sharp incline in stock process - making CBS a Wall Street favorite.

With the current scandal at Hewlett Packard, I've been thinking a ton about companies and leadership. Living in the Silicon Valley makes the HP scandal even more real (HP's offices are about 2 miles from my house). I hope to write more soon. I'm impressed by people who can take a loser and turn it into a contender... Moonves has done it with CBS...

Rose ashes, "Since coming to CBS - how has your outlook changed, what have you learned since coming to the job? (Stepping into a company that was in last place, on the buy side rather than the sell side.)?" Moonves stated that he hated his job in the first year an a half, coming from a successful tenure at Warner Brothers. CBS was destitute. However, during the time he learned:

- You can't replace hard work.
- You have to look not only at next week but next month, next year and two years down the line.
- Whatever can go wrong will go wrong. He goes through life with that assumption. He is never surprised about a mishap and he has generally anticipated them. Because of this he is rarely blindsided by someone trying to take advantage of him.
- When you have great people you hold on to them dearly. (Says this is 'number one'. He has people who have been with him for 18 years.) You do this from both the heart and paycheck, they go hand in hand. "Love only goes so far." However it's not just about the money - people have to enjoy where they work and what they do.

On another segment he talked about focus being key to the success. CBS is about providing content and efficient distribution. He says content is king, and distribution is queen. Many companies lose their way because they get fractured and unfocused - forgetting what they are good at.

Too many times leaders get distracted and unfocused - I suffer from that at times. I thought about the section in Kawasaki's book, "The Art of the Start" where each company must determine it's 'mantra'. What is at the core of your efforts, on the DNA level? For us it's, "Combating systemic and generational poverty."

Of course he is talking about the corporate world. Everything is not completely applicable to a ministry or non profit. But - there is wisdom to be learned here...

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