Don’t underestimate social networking, grasp the meaning of casual friday and be flexible in the current job environment. That’s some of the advice cable leaders will share during the annual WICT leadership conference, April 1-2, in Washington. CableFAX: The Magazine asked a quintet of conference speakers to preview their sessions.


What are your tips for managing office politics?

BROOKE JOHNSON: Focus on how you can advance the business, not on how you can advance yourself. But don’t be shy. Ask questions, make suggestions, talk openly and directly to as many people as you can.


CFTM: How do you create a positive and healthy workplace environment?

BJ: If people feel that they and their ideas are respected, and respected enough to be given honest feedback, then all the brambles of time-wasting politics are cut back and you have a clear path to an effective organization.

CFTM: Give us an amusing or cringing anecdote about office politics.

BJ: Years ago when I was starting my career I was up for a promotion. But the boss asked me to step aside because my rival for the job (a man) was older and had children to support. Seems amazing, I know, but it happened. PS: I didn’t step aside.

CFTM: Like Glamour Magazine, tell us what workplace outfits receive a black bar and which make the grade?

JANICE AROUH: On the black bar list are tank tops, spaghetti straps, anything low cut, dresses or skirts that are shorter than two inches above the knee, exposed midriffs. For men, no cargo pants, no Hawaiian shirts. Also, no flip flops, no Birkenstocks. I don’t care if it’s 100 degrees. I don’t want to see anyone’s toes.


CFTM: Define business casual.

JA: What might be appropriate for a CPA firm might not work for a dot com. Business casual is a polished look. I like to refer to business casual as smart casual, but that doesn’t mean weekend casual.

CFTM: Some people say how you dress shows respect for your job and colleagues. True?

JA: Yes. If you are a manager look at what directors are wearing and dress up a rank. It shows you have self respect, you want to be taken seriously and you’re promotable.

CFTM: Are you besieged with resumes for jobs?

LISA CHANG: We definitely are receiving more unsolicited resumes than in the past. Candidates also are being more flexible in terms of their pay requirements and more open to take on lower paying jobs if it means getting a full-time job. The one exception to this is in IT. Those candidates are not as willing to negotiate on pay or jobs, even in this market.


CFTM: What tips do you have for employers?

LC: Don’t neglect the employees you already have. The cost of replacing them is far greater than any small things you can do to keep them engaged and motivated.

CFTM: What are the most interesting trends emerging in the job marketplace?

LC: Social networking. LinkedIn and Plaxo, for example, allow business professionals to connect with others for a minimal cost. This has also been extremely beneficial for recruiting as it allows us to reach out to a much more targeted pool of passive candidates.

CFTM: How do you innovate in this economic environment so you are well positioned when things improve?

History has shown us that there’s not a better time for coloring outside the lines. This is the time for creativity and innovation. People are forced out of comfort zones and into doing their best thinking. Take chances, harness ideas and invest in them.


CFTM: Do you continue to innovate in a down economy?

MAE DOUGLAS: Yes. You do so by listening and engaging employees in your decision-making process. Employees are closer to the customer, so you want their experience to inform your direction.

CFTM: How do you maintain a positive attitude in the face of persistent bad economic news?

AC: Find ways to make a difference to the bottom-line. Don’t blindly accept that nothing can progress because of the economy. Act like a survivor who exudes confidence, has an eye on the future and the competition.


MD: An employee’s one-on-one relationship with their leader is important. The leader must engage the employee and take an interest not only in their contributions to the team, but also their professional development and their personal well-being. Leaders must inspire and think about growing employees.

CFTM: How bad is it for job seekers?

AC: The old model is gone forever. Companies will be flatter, smaller, with fewer people doing more. Companies will stick to core competencies and outsource the rest.

CFTM: What’s the biggest challenge TV/cable companies face in this environment?

MD: We must continue to focus on growing market share and outperforming our competitors.

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