Exploring Leadership in the News with Steven Pearlstein and Raju Narisetti
Newspaper Showdown in Boston
The Boston Globe has informed its unions it will close in 60 days unless its union agree to major cost cuts -- a not uncommon occurrence in the newspaper business these days. What advice would you offer to leaders of the paper and its unions about brinksmanship and winning at make-or-break negotiations?
Posted by Ben Bradlee and Steve Pearlstein on May 4, 2009 11:35 AM
Leadership in the union or management would be about having the courage to skillfully disappoint their own people on behalf of the more noble purpose of ensuring the long term survival of that crucial civic institution known as the Boston Globe.
As with the Cuban Missile Crisis, so it is with The Boston Globe drama: If the parties indulge in ego-driven brinksmanship, where one side wants victory without concessions, chances are good they'll both fail.
Although brinksmanship and ultimatums is sometimes successful -- as the record of former Secretary of State John Foster Dulles shows -- patience, persistence and finding new options are better ways to proceed.
My advice would be to forget about brinkmanship and other forms of game playing. Why not try acting like adults, telling the truth, making needed compromises and doing whatever can be done to keep the ship afloat?
Posted by Marshall Goldsmith, on May 4, 2009 2:26 PM