As a member of The Freelance Exchange of Kansas City, I was privileged last week to attend a very interesting meeting at which our special guest was Derek Donovan. Donovan is the Public Editor for The Kansas City Star newspaper. As our special speaker, he shared numerous insights about the fascinating ride taken by The Kansas City Star as it has navigated various transitions in adapting to the Internet age.

One of the key points Donovan made was that a daily hardcopy newspaper is no longer playing to its strengths when it tries to cover breaking international news. Our 24/7 news cycle plus the Internet have simply made that attempt a folly. However, Donovan explained that the newspaper realized that it could do a much better job covering local news along with some in-depth analysis pieces on various subjects. Therefore, those priorities were reflected in this most recent revision of the print edition. The final product looks pretty good!

As I reflect upon what The Kansas City Star has done in its adaptation to the Internet age, it occurs to me that we see some lessons here that apply to all of us personally and professionally:

Where Can You Be Strong? The answer to that question should set your priorities and your strategies. This is true as a person and it is true as an organization. Too many times I have seen people and companies attempt to be all things to all people. That usually results in failure. The best approach you can take is to play to your strengths. That is where you will be the most appreciated and the most successful.

How Has Your World Changed? The answers to that question should set your agenda for ongoing growth and development. You do not want to be the proverbial Swiss watchmaker or wet-chemistry photographer. Both of those persons never saw digital coming and consequently they both suffered. Be certain that you are regularly examining the trends both inside and outside your industry. Look for the ones that will potentially affect your livelihood and ask yourself what changes you might need to make today to be fully prepared for tomorrow.

About James Meadows

Currently I serve as a training team manager for Johnson Controls at a customer-care center in Kansas City. Additionally, I am a business consultant, a freelance corporate writer, an Assembly of God ordained minister, a Civil Air Patrol chaplain, and a blogger. I believe we are living in the most fascinating times of human history. To maximize the opportunities these times present, I have a passionate interest in leadership development and organizational success, both of which I view as inextricably linked.

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