So you’re a Chief Culture Officer, what would you do? (Minerva Contest)

Every Harvard Business School case study seems to open with a manager sitting at his or her desk, contemplating a problem. The case study put us in the manager’s shoes.  Here’s the problem, the case says, what would you do?

Let’s say, you’re Patricia Lindbergh. You are the newly appointed CCO at the XYZ corporation.

And your CEO has a question.

Last night, in a rare moment of respite, he was sitting with his wife and kids watching their favorite TV shows.  And the family got to talking.  Is TV changing? They thought maybe it was.  But no one could figure out how or why.

The CEO says, "Hey, not to worry.  We just hired a Chief Culture Officer.  I’ll ask Pat tomorrow.  She’ll know."

So this morning, when you got to work, there was a little note on your desk from the CEO.  It reads, "Hey, my wife and I were wondering: is TV changing?  Clue us in!  Thanks.  Charlie."

Geez.  Big question.  As a CCO, you follow TV.  And there’s lots of stuff in play.  One of the ways to approach this question is to look at Charlie and his family were watching last night.  If you knew what they was looking at…that might help.

As a CCO, you subscribe to lots of data sources, and one of your favorites comes from Marc Berman. Marc writes The Programming Insider, and here’s the snippet that gets your attention.

It’s clear that CBS and ABC are in pretty good shape.  And it’s clear that NBC continues to struggle.  It’s not that the NBC programming is bad programming.  You like some of NBC shows that are tanking. They’re smart, interesting, funny television.

As you sit at your desk, and gaze down into the tidal flows on the Avenue of the Americans, you think, "hmmm."

There’s something here. But what?

Something tells us that this comes down to the cultural difference between what Berman calls "yesterday’s winners" and "yesterday’s losers."  What is the difference between these two groups of shows.  What do they tell us about TV and our culture?

Please answer this question ("What’s the cultural difference between Berman’s Winners and Losers?") as briefly and as pungently as you can.  Please keep your answer to fewer than 500 words.

Best three answers get a copy of Chief Culture Officer and my undying admiration.


Berman, Marc.  2010.  The Programming Insider.  Media Week.  January 15.  here.

Winners of the last contest

The winner’s of the last competition are:


Simon Steinhardt


Congratulations on great work.  Please send me your best mailing address, so I can send you your copies of Chief Culture Officer.

Note: this post was lost in the Network Solutions debacle of 2009.  It was reposted here December 25, 2010.