Dev Pragad is the CEO of the iconic American media brand Newsweek. He has been responsible for its transformation from the verge of bankruptcy to a 100-million-strong global readership.
Newsweek has risen out of the flames, building upon the legacy of being a standard bearer for modern responsible journalism, workplace equality, and inclusivity. The following is an insightful leadership strategy from Dev during a presentation to the students of Kings College London.
Move First and Be Bold
You cannot underplay the importance of moving fast and being bold. Let me give you an example:
When Apple News was first launching, like many publishers, we weren’t sure how it would pay off. At that time, companies such as the New York Times decided to stay away in the name of protecting their subscription businesses.
The truth is, they were in a different place than we were, which ironically gave Newsweek an opening. We jumped into Apple News, got to work, and started learning immediately.
We became a premium news brand for the company, and we started figuring out what content resonates with that audience and how it can be used to drive people to our properties. We had a similar experience with MSN, which has proven to be a viable distribution partner as well.
At Newsweek, we will never sit back and rest on our laurels – we are always looking where we can move next – e.g., man a machine working together in unison. We also have a fully dedicated team to manage what we call our off-platform strategy:
This team brings in millions each quarter and has developed expertise we’d never have if we had waited for things to be perfect or guaranteed.
Keep Building Resilience
Resilience isn’t just a matter of “toughing it out – although there were certainly times in my early days at Newsweek when I had to ‘tough it out’.
Obstacles such as resistance to change, the burden of legacy, lack of agility, lack of vision, external influence, inefficient process, etc. are never insurmountable and each success builds a reservoir of resilience that you can draw on.
There is a saying that goes something like this – Don’t measure a person’s success by how high they climb, but by how high they bounce when they hit bottom.
Resilience is about learning from mistakes as well as successes – Three little words extraordinary leaders are not afraid to use: “I was wrong.” Get comfortable with being uncomfortable because, from discomfort, amazing things happen.
Resilience is about having an adaptive mindset and dealing with unexpected outcomes. Resilience is about your ability to adapt as well as your ability to lead others through times of transformation, stress, and uncertainty.
I’m going to spend a moment more on this and offer you a new perspective on resilience by making a comparison in literature.