The Value of Working as an HPT

By Nikki Golden
Vice President, ASBPE Chicago Chapter

As I read about CIO’s recent controversial move with LinkedIn, what struck me most was not that any ethical guidelines might have been crossed but that the editorial staff had no knowledge of this partnership until the links appeared online.

To reiterate, the partnership apparently was so confidential that although the links were being tested on a public site, the editorial staff was not aware of what they were. What was learned from this was, according to CIO Editor-in-Chief Abbie Lundberg, there should have been internal conversations about what the links were.

As I read this, I was reminded of a redesign I was involved with at a magazine that was in an industry going through financial difficulty, so pages were disappearing, as were jobs. The redesign was not just a redesign of the look and feel of the magazine but a re-engineering of content strategy as well. To say there was a lot of uncertainty during this time period would be an understatement. The launch, however, was done during a very busy time of the year, the editors didn’t see what the magazine was going to look like, the production people weren’t apprised of the content changes being made and basically, the pages were being sent to the printer and approved at 4 a.m. When the issue, which should have been a triumphant relaunching of 100-year-old property, came out, all that remained was bitterness among the staff and blame being passed around for any mistakes that made it into print.

What this all brought me back to was an overall planning session this year at the National Association of the Remodeling Industry this year. Participants were given an article to read about high-performance teams, a concept I think can serve the publishing industry well.

The basic concept is that all successful groups do well in these eight areas: participative leadership, responsiveness, alignment on a purpose, communication, task-focused orientation, problem solving, shared responsibility and innovation.

Is your magazine functioning as a high-performance team?

A high-performance team involves people from all groups involved in your publication’s future, because the salesperson who is out there talking to your advertisers every day might be saying something very different about the industry than your editors’ sources are.

Communicative should be a no-brainer, but is it? Do you have a standing meeting with your staff, in which future projects and current issues and ideas can be discussed? This often will lead to innovation, another high-performance team characteristic.

Since this industry has started the downsizing trend, many people within every organization have had to take on more responsibility, and time is at a premium. However, because this industry is at a crossroads, it’s even more important than ever to make the time now — and start working together in a more functional manner — to put together a plan for the future.

Nikki Golden is the vice president of ASBPE’s Chicago chapter and communications manager of the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, where she oversees the magazine The Remodelers’ Journal.

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