Early on at Adelphia it was expected that we work within the corporation to maximize the assets of the firm. Expected, maybe I should clarify that: “self-expected”. I thought that working with others and aligning interests would help accomplish bigger than life goals. After all, the much smaller radio operations I came out of had mastered that.
Media side of cable and cable side of cable, circa 2000.
I had a peer at another MSO label it “love fest” and the term has stuck with me sense. Off we went, notepad in hand to share our gospel of collaboration and team work. It seemed simple. We had advertisers with tons of assets like brands, locations, and spending. The cable side shared those things. Both wanted customers and in many cases they were the same customers. What an opportunity to hook the two up with the MSO raking in the cash!? Sounds win, win.
The movement was at the bottom. No matter how hard me and my peers tried, agendas and politics hid behind a shroud of budgets and low-impact business objectives. When we pushed up opportunities they died. It was as if opportunities would die and go to some type of cable purgatory. Senior managers at the time would invent reasons why not to have two complimentary and family business units working together.
In 2003, crisis caused big change at Adelphia. If the firm were to survive we would have to learn to work together regardless of the business unit, personal career goals, or public opinion. The movement came from the top. Middle management got on board or they died. Some did.
Collaboration and Teamwork are Values. We read business books that buzz these words like bees in the spring. At their core however, are what is right. Just talking about them is wrong.
A senior executive at another MSO was quoted at a trade show in 2006 that the people left at Adelphia were left for a reason. Yet, from a person on the inside those comments demonstrated a lack of perspective. Those at Adelphia in 2006, those by the way that created over $10B in value in less than four years possessed such a high level of commitment to a cause larger than one’s self that nothing else could lure them away.
It started at the top.