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Getting Licht'd at CNN!

How not to succeed in a leadership transition.


CNN Chris Licht and David Zaslav
From Left to Right: Chris Licht and David Zaslav

By all accounts, Chris Licht had impressive programming skills. By all accounts, he did not have similarly situated skills with people. His high profile production failures at CNN, might have been eclipsed by numerous people failures. Here are some things he did, that you don't want to do:


  • Invoking the all powerful (his boss; David Zaslav, CEO) He was more concerned about managing up rather than meeting and mingling with the diverse teams and staff essential for his success.


  • Kicking the bones of a dead soldier He repeatedly disparaged the person he replaced, Jeff Zucker who was and is still beloved.


  • Power. Employing “Lieutenants” as direct reports over “Collaborators”.


  • Arrested and Focusless Admonishing existing staff for past performance rather than focusing on clear and collective next steps.


  • Self-Awareness and Judgement Office proximity. His was away from the heart of operations.

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