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Thursday, September 15, 2005

Hey kids - just say no

Seth Godin's got another interesting challenge on his blog.

Hearing that cock pit doors were turned by penny pinchers at the FAA before 9/11 he made this business proposition:
Appoint a CNO - chief no officer. No longer can someone say no to an idea and leave it at that. If you want to turn something down, you've got to pass it on to your boss. Then either he says yes or gives it to his boss. For a "no" to be official, it'’s got to be approved by the chief no officer and countersigned by every manager along the way.

So, what would have happened if the FAA or FEMA had a CNO? Who would have had the guts to turn down cockpit door locks if saying "no" meant the idea would go upstairs?

And what happens to any organization that creates a culture where maintaining the status quo requires your boss to give you the okay?

Of course, it's not this simple. But the very act of talking about it helps people focus on what's killing their organization. I don't care if you're in radio, packaged goods, organized religion or an online merchant. If you're not saying yes to change, you're slowly losing whatever race you happen to be in.

Now - this sounds great. But this situation is what exists in the film industry. Where no one wants to say NO. They don't want to be the guy (or gal - but it is mainly men) who turned down 'Ghost' or 'Donnie Darko' or any other sleeper hit. But they don't want to say YES either. They don't want to be the guy who spent millions on Pluto Nash. So they say nothing and the project goes into development hell. Tpurgatoryory for ideas. Only maybe a triphyphenpen can help you escape.

The result of CNO is the exact opposite of the aim. No change! Fear keeps us prisoner


Paul Draper said...

The Marvel franchise people have a direct route around the CNO, or anyone remaking a Janese horror, or a successful French film to get rid of those darned subtitles.

In the case of Donnie Darko it took the "Drew Barrymore production" factor to get it made - perhaps film makers need a directory of AHHSes (Altruistic Hollwood Hammer Swingers) to get on in life?

Not what you know but who, mind you hasn't that always been the way.

Tim Clague said...

That brings us back to what we were talking about a few posts ago.

That is why sequels and remakes are easier to get going. They are safer to say yes to and stay in development hell for a shorter period of time.

So where are the new ideas going to come from? Blogs and viral shorts throw out 10 new ideas a day. Compare that to film which takes 3 years to twat about making Dukes of Hazzard - a film based on a pretty ropey TV show.