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18 July 2009 • 8:27 am

Walter Cronkite and the Erosion of Trust

walter_cronkiteReading the obituaries and fond remembrances of Walter Cronkite, who died yesterday at the age of 92, I am struck by the simplicity and power of the label “the most trusted man in America” that was his – exclusively. Cronkite was, of course, the anchor of the CBS Evening News on American television from 1962 until 1981, an era when there was no internet, no cable TV, and far fewer sources of news. In contrast to the newspapers that delivered yesterday’s news in depth,  television journalism was about immediacy – it was today’s news – and about brevity. Cronkite’s 30 minute newscast format (which had been expanded from 15 minutes shortly after Cronkite became anchor) required less detail and more thoughtful editing than any newspaper story. 

Cronkite’s passing gives us pause for reflection; on his remarkable career, on the evolution of news and information sharing during our lifetimes, and the increasing irrelevance of network television news. Like many of my generation, I especially remember Cronkite for his role in two of the moments that defined 1960s America – his genuine emotion in November 1963 when he told us that President Kennedy was dead, and his boyish excitement at the triumph of the success of the Apollo moon landing, exactly 40 years ago this week.

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22 June 2009 • 7:11 am

Cascading Conundrums – Part III

In Parts I and II of this topic, I asserted that cascading a balanced scorecard (BSC) across an organization is a process that requires careful planning, and thoughtful answers to the ‘When’, ‘Why’, and ‘Where’ questions. I cautioned that hastily planned cascading can derail the entire change program. Here, we conclude with the final three questions a leadership team should consider before cascading strategy across the organization.
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19 June 2009 • 12:29 pm

Cascading Conundrums – Part II

In Part I of this topic, I asserted that cascading a balanced scorecard (BSC) across an organization is a process that requires careful planning, and thoughtful answers to the ‘When’ and ‘Why’ questions. I cautioned that hastily planned cascading can derail the entire change program. Here, we continue with the next question every leadership team should consider before cascading strategy across the organization.

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18 June 2009 • 12:24 pm

Cascading Conundrums – Part I

Cascading is a term that has been used in the balanced scorecard (BSC) community to describe the process of propagating the BSC across an organization. Although the term implies a downward movement (through the organization’s hierarchy), propagation in any direction has come to be referred to as ‘cascading.’ Some people mistakenly apply the term to the strategy communication process; after all, they reason, communication of strategy also cascades through the organization, and is certainly related to BSC propagation. But I believe that cascading and communication are two separate processes, especially since communication is absolutely essential to the change process, while cascading is not always necessary or beneficial. And poorly-planned cascading can derail the change program.

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