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Staff at Murdoch new media arm attack lack of leadership

All is not rosy in the Wapping e-garden, leaked memo reveals

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News Network -- the new media arm of Rupert Murdoch's News International -- has spent an arm and a leg in an internal exercise to find out what its employees think of the e-outfit. The results aren't good. A leaked internal memo from News Network's MD, Alasdair MacLeod, suggests all is not rosy in the Wapping e-garden. Employees say there is:

  • A lack of clarity around News' vision value proposition.
  • A lack of collective ownership
  • ...and what's even worse...
  • A lack of leadership direction.
  • "We have not been successful in evangelizing (sic) the company's vision of the future, inspiring you, telling it like is or providing direction when it's crazy around here," wrote MacLeod. "Additionally, we are not seen as being part of the industry's network of influential leaders or 'walking the talk'," he said. Some are also pretty hacked off that MacLeod's "evangelizing" memo was written in American English, rather than English English, but that's another issue. This lack of leadership direction, above all, seems to have really hacked off Murdoch's people. It appears that despite relaunching itself (for the third time in 18 months?) it still hasn't got this e-thing worked out. On the bright side, just over half of News Network's employees in Britain could be bothered to take part in the survey, and of them, 84 per cent said that News Network's culture "values innovation". Tony Hall, marketing director at News International, confirmed that the memo was genuine but said that the internal assessment was a "positive situation" and showed that the company listened to its employees. He said: "We are a fast developing company with an open culture -- (what we have done is) positive and refreshing." ® Related story Murdoch gang rejigs Net offering MacLeod's memo (Don' t bother with the link - it no longer works.) From: Alasdair MacLeod Sent: 18 April 2000 18:13 To: All Staff - News Network Subject: News Network i-Culture Research Survey Thanks to everyone who participated in the News Network i-Culture Research Survey conducted during March. 51 News employees (approximately 62%) responded to the on-line questionnaire. Results were recently delivered to the News leadership team and, while we certainly recognize that we have much work ahead of us, we are confident that you will see and hear our ongoing efforts to align the organization's culture with our business strategy. All News staff will have access to the survey results via the following URL: http://192.168.1.26/iculture_reports/start.asp News Network's username is "newsnet" and password is 418259. (Make sure you note that username is case sensitive.) The positive areas:
  • 84% of employees report that News Network's culture values innovation.
  • A majority of News employees believe the organization supports taking risks.
  • When asked for a rating, most News Network employees said that the company's leadership was directly involved in recruiting top talent and that recruiting is a core business strategy. The survey indicates seeds of concern in three distinct areas:
  • Lack of clarity around News' vision value proposition. News Network exists to create a high quality customer experience. This is the foundation of our vision and our value propositions; this is not clear to the majority of our employees.
  • Lack of collective ownership. Only a small minority of News employees believes that there is an incentive system that rewards them for company successes. An even smaller number of employees felt that there is an evaluation of how their work contributes to the company's goals.
  • Lack of leadership direction. We have not been successful in evangelizing the company's vision of the future, inspiring you, telling it like is or providing direction when it's crazy around here. Additionally, we are not seen as being part of the industry's network of influential leaders or "walking the talk."
  • Over the next weeks and months, News Network will take aggressive steps to address your concerns. Specifically, our goals include:
  • Values: Embed values in concrete systems to reinforce productive behavior and solidify News' value proposition.
  • Leadership: Develop a strong, scalable leadership team.
  • unication: Focus employees on News' core priorities and build a dialogue with our customers.
  • People: Develop accountability and reward programs consistent with our values and vision and continue to be aggressive in proactive talent acquisition.
  • While there's work to be done, we have the start of a great organization. Please feel free to forward any questions, ideas or suggestions to Susan, Chris or me. Again, thanks for participating in the survey and for your honest feedback. ®

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