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Changing media landscapes often require the successful creation of new roles

Creating New Roles in a Changing Media Landscape

October 31st, 2016   ||    by Karlyn Borysenko   ||    No Comments

In a quickly evolving media landscape, change is the norm. With that change comes the inevitable realignment and creation of new roles to address shifting needs. To this effect, in an effort to reinvent the TV ad model in the world of digital, Fox created a new role to specifically manage non-linear revenue, appointing former Chief Operating Officer and Co-Founder of TrueX David Levy to the role of Executive VP of Non-Linear Revenue, reported in AdAge. His role is responsible for aligning non-linear efforts with linear ad inventory.

When bringing any new role into an organization—particularly at a senior level—the manner in which you roll it out is key. Here are some things to keep in mind when integrating new roles into the current internal structure.

Hire Someone Who’s Already Championing the Role

In Fox’s appointment of Mr. Levy, the company was specifically looking for a digital native to lead the charge, and chose to look externally. But the people taking on new roles don’t necessarily need to exist outside your organization. Your first step should always be to look for internal champions of these ideas within the organization. They’re likely to already exist and would be incredibly excited to take on new responsibilities directed toward their pet projects. There are also other advantages to promoting from within, as Forbes explains: External hires usually command a higher salary, are less likely to take the time to understand the ropes of the organization (Internal hires already know them!), and, as a result, are 61 percent more likely to be fired from their new jobs. There’s no need to spend time or money on an expensive search, hiring, and onboarding process when the right candidate may already exist in your ranks.

Offer Clarity and Security

Large-scale change in organizations fails 70 percent of the time, as Harvard Business Review points out. Typically, that failure occurs when the people initiating the change fail to build alignment with the stakeholders it will impact. Always keep in mind that people aren’t afraid of change—they’re afraid of loss. When you bring in someone for a role that hasn’t existed before, the new hire has an incredible hurdle to overcome in winning over people who may have been in their roles for years and who feel as though they’re losing power because of this change. Mitigate such concerns by doing two things to ensure there’s no mistake about who’s responsible for what in the new order.

  1. Communicate about the new role transparently and with absolute clarity. What is the role responsible for? What decisions will it be responsible for making? How will the person work with others? What does it mean for the future direction of the organization?
  2. Offer your existing team members peace of mind by explaining one-on-one what this new role means for them. How will they work with this new person? Where’s the overlap? What will they retain responsibility over?

Plan for a Slow Ramp

The worst thing you can do for a person coming into a new role is expect they’ll hit the ground running. Regardless of whether they got promoted from within or were recruited externally, their first job is to build great working relationships with their coworkers. Oftentimes, that means doing a lot of listening. Plan for this slower ramp and communicate clearly to your new hire what you’re expecting them to do with that extra time. It will set them up for much greater success down the road.

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