Where would you expect to go to find the savviest management theories in Australia? The Financial Review or BRW? If you believe that, read this email that Michael Gill, CEO of Fairfax Business Media (publisher of the Fin and BRW), sent to his staff earlier this week:

Hello

As you know, we are working on a variety of plans that are designed to sustain the business we are in and to create new opportunities. A critical part of that work is based on an understanding of our capacities and capabilities. The starting point in our planning is knowledge of staff skills and interests and to acquire that knowledge we need to ask you some questions.

The point of this survey is to obtain knowledge that will help us to plan and, from time to time, to draw on knowledge in FBM rather than hire in contractors or new staff.

To help you, I thought I should attempt some description of what we are aiming for so that you have a context for your response. Generally, our approach will remain very tightly aligned with journalism and information. The biggest single change in emphasis there is that we aim to be even more distinctive for quality, integrity and reliability than we have been. The reason for that is the ubiquity of information exposed by the internet and the resultant commoditisation of undistinguished news.

In addition to journalism in print, we want to develop business opportunities in digital environments, possibly including versions of video. We want also to engage in events that are consistent with our journalism and specialisations. And we will develop businesses that relate to investor and management education.

We are developing new activities that are based on data, including our archives.

We are very keen to develop new businesses in Asia and are exploring opportunities that will extend our base from the existing Singapore operations.

There is a great range of skills that we will need. Obviously, skilled journalists. Digital skills. Video skills. Sales skills. Marketing and logistics. Education. Strategy, general management and mergers skills. Language skills. Knowledge of particular markets and specialisations and cultures. It’s a long list.

So, please feel free to tell us things you think are important, including especially skills you think we should develop or acquire.

Finally, I would encourage you to engage carefully with this project as it is the start of some work that is critical to our planning and to the development of a truly exciting agenda for growth.

Michael Gill

Chief Executive Officer, Fairfax Business Media

Click here to access the survey

Peter Fray

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