Costly, Risky, Threatening -- and Vital

"As I write this, the drama concerns who will bag Dow Jones. Or how gruesome staff cuts under some possible scenarios will be... Or whether the controlling Bancroft family might yet swallow hard, face certain investor outrage, and continue to go it alone. No matter the outcome, one question remains: How do you fix a problem like Dow Jones?

"The company owns one of the world's best newspapers. Which, judging by the gentlest interpretation of the data, is barely profitable. (The consumer media unit, for which a Deutsche Bank analyst estimates the Wall Street Journal supplies around 80% of revenue, posted profit margins of 3% in '06. It lost money in '05.) The company's coulda-woulda-shouldas of the past 15 years fill volumes. In just one episode, Reuters made entreaties regarding a combination back in 1997, precisely a decade before the Thomson-Reuters deal. Stiffening competition from those quarters and from the ever-powerful Bloomberg only make Dow Jones loom smaller. A wise new owner will bring a long fix-it list and large toolkit, and they will include the following: Giving the web away… Double down on data... Blow out the video."

(“How To Resuscitate Dow Jones; The same issues will face whoever bags the Journal.” Jon Fine. Business Week. New York: July 02, 2007. , Iss. 4041; pg. 28)

QUESTIONS: If change is costly, risky, threatening, and vital... and if strategic management is all about investing in long-term, long-range, holistic commitments of resources, how will you sense the balancing of these competing priorities? Are your priorities well-grounded? Are your principles centered on that which builds up? Is your vision clear?

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