September 21, 2016

40 Better Hours day 3: Leading through change

“No matter how complicated our workload gets, we don’t get anything done without people being willing to follow.” — Rob King, Senior Vice President of SportsCenter and News at ESPN

Good morning!
We’re halfway through 40 Better Hours week, and it’s time to take on a big topic: how to lead through change.

Change is a constant in journalism and other information industries. That can be a daunting reality, especially when you’re responsible for helping teams make sense of shifting priorities and directives. Today’s guest, Rob King of ESPN, has plenty of experience doing just that.

In today’s video, Rob shares his perspectives and tips around how to successfully lead in times of uncertainty, including an anecdote about his breakthrough shift in mindset about managing change. Watch the video and don’t forget to tune into today’s Facebook Q&A with Rob at 1 p.m. Eastern.

Reframing your frustrations
You guessed it — we have another challenge for you. Write down one thing that most frustrates you in your current job. Next, take that statement and reframe it in a way that gives you responsibility and control. (Rob explains this idea in the video.) Here’s a template to follow:

I’m frustrated by:
That means it’s my job to:

How does that new approach make you feel? Share your current frustrations/new responsibilities on Twitter using #40BetterHours, or email them to We’ll share some of the best responses in tomorrow’s newsletter. (And we can keep them anonymous if you'd like.)

RIP, pointless meetings
Yesterday, we asked for your best email and meeting tips and loved reading your advice. Here are some of our favorites.

“Only people who are critical to the outcome are invited to a meeting. 6-8 is the ideal maximum for a productive meeting.” Ross McCall for president!

Jessica Zemler knows how to make progress. “My meeting tip: Replace ‘talking about it’ meetings w/ ‘do it’ mtgs. Bring a computer & get it done right there!”

Mandy Zatynski offered up this great advice: “One of the best managers I’ve had made an agenda for every meeting. If a question/issue came up that wasn’t tied to the agenda (or didn’t apply to every person in the meeting room), it was tabled for the end of the meeting – at which point, that person (and anyone else who was interested in the question/issue raised) could speak with the manager directly without holding up everyone up. This prevented long, winded tangents in meetings (which are the worst). I understand there are pros and cons to this strategy, of course, and for some, this approach came across as harsh. But these meetings are still the most efficient that I’ve ever been in.”

Poynter’s Kristen Hare rounded up great crowdsourced tips for improving email. And in case you missed it, Katie offered some additional advice on better meetings and emails in a Facebook Live broadcast.

Keep up the good work
We know it’s not easy to block off time on a busy workday. Well done! Watching Rob’s video, completing the challenge and participating in the Q&A will take a decent chunk of your time today. But the payoff is worth every second. Like Rob says, taking time to invest in the bigger picture helps you to be more creative, forward-thinking and innovative.

Keep it up. We’re so glad to be on this journey with you.

Katie and Ren
Team #40BetterHours

p.s. If you’ve subscribed to this newsletter after day one, welcome! It's so fun to watch this community grow. You can access the full archives here.

40 Better Hours was made possible by the generous support of Ruth Ann Harnisch and dozens of other supporters

Keep spreading the word! The more people who benefit from 40 Better Hours week, the better our workplaces will be.