Getting Back to Business: Choosing to change and inheriting media’s place in the boardrooms of Australia

MFA 5+ Talking Business

it was down to the serious business of, well, business yesterday morning, as the MFA hosted the next of their 5+ inspiration series. created for those in the Australian media industry with between five and ten years experience, the sessions expose those in the formative years of their media careers to inspirational individuals who encourage them to understand the opinions and experiences of others, and crucially discover and develop their own.

yesterday morning we were talking business and we were in the capable hands of former NBN boss Siobhan McKenna and finance reporter, broadcaster and commentator Michael Pascoe.

across two hugely inspirational (obvs), informative and entertaining talks they gave a bunch of media people everything from economics 101 to reasons why media should inherit a place at the boardrooms of Australia; I wrote a lot during the former and was encouraged by the latter. and over the course of the last day or so I’ve been thinking most, it occurs to me, about not so much business, but rather one of the key themes currently impacting on it; the nature of change.

because the world is changing

the G7 economies decline and the emerging economies take centre stage; there is only one work force and its global; urbanisation continues to drive and maintain commodity industries as well as infrastructure rethink; aging populations … these factors and more have seen disruption and change become the new normal – disruptive technological storms continue to challenge, and change, the world as we know it, or at least thought that we did.

because business context is changing

all of which has more than a small impact on (our clients’) business. it’s never, observed one of the speakers this morning, been a tougher or more competitive time to be in business. the example of Darrell Lea was cited: they didn’t go out of business because of a product or service deficiency, they went out of business because the industry premiumised at one end and commoditised on the other and they failed to change and got caught in the middle. and the middle, at least in business terms, is a terrible place to be.

business is changing.

because we need to change

which means that we need to change. of course.

but it struck me at the time, that the obvious response was and is one of ‘organisational’ change; “agencies need to change, the media and communications industries need to change. ‘we’ need to change. our bosses and our holding companies need to change.”

but that’s simply not the case. organisational change is slow, hard and frustrating. Jacko knew this:

“If You Wanna Make The World A Better Place Take A Look At Yourself, And Then Make A Change”

source

as Melbourne-based organisational psychologist (who knew?) Simon Brown-Greaves see’s it: “there are people who’ve been through a lot of change and learn to adapt, and become less anxious as a result … and commitment and hard work have taught them that change presents opportunities” and then people who are “optimistic and confident in their ability to handle challenges … who actually enjoy change … [they’ve] learned that moments of great change are when you get ahead; senior managers look favorably on people who revel in change.”

to embrace change, is to change.

media’s inheritance

… is one of taking a valued and valuable place at the biggest business conversations in Australia. as it was put yesterday: “don’t underestimate your capacity to advise your clients. and and aspire to be leaders in the business community … [media people] don’t aspire to enough prominence and visibility in the business community. every board has an accountant, and lawyer, and someone with Asian experience”; there’s no reason why they shouldn’t be joined by high calibre media practitioners with deep understanding of emerging digital routes to market and understanding of consumer motivations and behaviours.

but its not ours for nothing. and its not ours for free. the responsibility of our would-be inheritance is one of change – as individuals. the media industry can have a voice at any table it wants, but only if we choose it. and only if we choose to change.

if yesterday’s MFA event did nothing other than encourage a few individuals to take personal responsibility to embrace the opportunity presented to us and change … then it will have achieved it’s mission, and a great deal more besides.

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