Insights: Leading through the Digital Disruption

Insights: Leading through the Digital Disruption

By Robert J. Becht

Insights: Leading through the Digital Disruption

By Robert J. Becht
On Monday, September 24, I attended the Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series featuring Alexandra Villoch (AB '77, MBA '79), president and publisher of the Miami Herald. As usual, it was fantastic. Ms. Villoch provided an awesome personal and professional business case, and I walked away with some key insights. The following are a few snippets of wisdom I gleaned from her talk:

1.        Miami is key to our success – "Miami is a place where everything is possible and is open to the world."

2.       Regarding change – "Unless you are dead, we are always changing."

3.       Regarding money and profits – "No margin, no mission." 

4.       "Focus on what makes a difference."

5.       Leveraging data is mission-critical – it’s the new business model.

6.       Quality versus quantity as a business driver. "People pay for quality." 

7.       What is your brand promise? How do you fulfill and finance this?

8.       Know the buying funnel – use data to tell/know the real story. What drives customer decision making?

9.       What is the customer experience? People don’t just buy newspapers – they buy it for the experience they have with the medium/information. For us, it’s not just about delivering student education – it’s about the holistic student experience. How do we help make the student experience worthwhile, desired, and meaningful? This is what the students will remember long after graduation.

10.     How do you manage change and industry disruption? Focus on the essential, constantly reevaluate, always building/replacing with new talent/new expertise, consolidate to remove duplications, and create efficiencies and economies of scale. Most importantly, connect everyone and everything to the mission.

11.   On leadership: 
        a.     Be true to yourself; be authentic
        b.     Make time for others
        c.     Respect others – always

These events are truly a gift for campus and well worth the time.

The next Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series is scheduled for Wednesday, October 10, 6–7 p.m., featuring Jeffrey Dunn, president and CEO of Sesame Workshop.

To see the full Distinguished Leaders Lecture Series schedule or to watch the previous events, click here