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CEO Daily Brief – Dec. 3, 2010

Diller, Malone Split at Last Who says that breaking up is hard to do? In something that appears to be …

Diller, Malone Split at Last

Who says that breaking up is hard to do? In something that appears to be more of a divorce than a parting of ways at IAC/InteractiveCorp., an online media concern, Barry Diller is stepping aside as CEO. Fellow media mogul John Malone agreed to an asset swap. The swap leaves Diller as IAC’s biggest shareholder. Malone’s Liberty Media sold its controlling stake in IAC in a roughly $360 million deal. Diller handed day-to-day running of the company to the head of its dating website Match.com.

Liberty’s exit from IAC is an outcome both sides had been plotting for years. Liberty, which owns stakes in a number of media companies, has wanted to trade its investments for businesses it controls and has griped about IAC’s performance. Diller had has his eye on his independence and seeking control over who will succeed him at the New York company.

During a 2008 trial and the lawsuits that led up to it. Malone accused Diller of turning efforts to maximize use of the company jet into “a fine art.” Diller, referring to Liberty, said in a statement around the time that, “I am beginning to think these people are insane.”

For more about the break up, as reported by The Wall Street Journal, please click here.

Employee Reciprocity

Leaders realize they should help employees. But sometimes they forget that workers owe something as well. It is a leader’s responsibility to put people into positions where they can use their skills and the resources the organization provides to achieve results, explains consultant John Baldoni. Employees, especially those who have a stated desire to move up the ladder, must do their part and embrace greater levels of responsibility even when it means getting more education, more training, or even relocating. It’s a matter of reciprocity: The employer provides, the employee delivers. Many well-intentioned executives go to bat for their employees only to have employees shrug off real opportunities. Some suggestions for developing employee reciprocity include:

  • Insist on ownership
  • Take stock of competencies
  • Formulate work development plans
  • Provide leadership development
  • Increase levels of responsibility
  • Look over the horizon

For more about employee reciprocity, as reported by Businessweek, please click here.

Finding the Difference between a True Brand Stance and a List of Attributes

Most business leaders understand that “brand” is important to the company. But using further analysis, there is a difference between a true brand stance and a list of attributes.

Dan Burrier, chief Innovation officer at Ogilvy & Mather North America, urges business leaders to understand their stance in the world, their true values, what they’re actually up to and their reason to get up in the morning — get that right, pursue that mission with full force and fury — and all the attributes they desire will surely follow. What this means for brands and companies is that:

They will never be remembered (or rewarded in the marketplace) for attributes; rather they will be remembered for what they do with them.

Nail a market and world stance, and all else will follow. It’s not so much what you make, what you sell; it’s why you do it that matters, and how. The graveyard is littered with great gadgets and ideas that had no reason to be.

Always stay on mission. Always execute against your stance, not against attributes. Measure the market’s understanding of your reason to be — who you are and why you do what you do.

When lured by the ease of chasing and measuring attributes, test them by their opposites. For example, you want to be known as honest? Great. Know any company that wants to be known as dishonest? Therein lies the problem. Honesty is the price of entry for all. If you have to chase honesty as an attribute, take note, you’ve got much bigger problems than any list of brand attributes and research tools will solve.

For more on developing a brand stance, as reported by the Harvard Business Review, please click here.

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