Why Book Publishers Must Change Culture to Evolve Their Businesses
Survey them, including the Net Promoter Score question: "Would you recommend our company to another author?" Or "Would you recommend our company to a friend?" Review the results against who you say you are as a company, and what you want to do. Define the gaps. Identify internal leaders to help define and execute simple changes. Focus on delivering simple things and gaining momentum rather than trying to do everything all at once. And MOST importantly, create measures that you can use at least monthly to show whether progress is being made. Measurement has a way of turbo-charging human focus and understanding, if done well, and of streamlining communication. There is no learning organization without measurement.
4. Where do you tend to see book publishing companies fall short in terms of culture and motivating their staff?
There is an enormous disconnect between the day-to-day activities of the average employee and the measures of success a publisher typically uses. Financial measures are not connected to operational activities for most people. Because operational measures are often not valued in tangible ways -- output, efficiency, collaboration metrics, etc. -- any improvements that employees create on their own, or as requested, may be easily overlooked by managers or executives. A really efficient mid-career editor or publicist who gets everything done on time, for example, and is easy to work with, and works reliably to develop authors and content, may be almost invisible in an organization that is heavily dependent on big books. But that editor or publicist might actually be an MVP if you looked at their combined contributions. You can't create a real meritocracy without some sort of comparative measures that value all types of contributions.