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To the L.A. Times: What Were You Thinking?!

When you have an individual like Lynne Segall, you thank your good fortune she is on your team

Last week a friend and colleague, Lynne Segall, was “reorganized” out of her job at the Los Angeles Times. To lose a job is always a tragedy, but when an unequaled revenue generator loses her job it has to beg the question, “What were they thinking?”

All media has only a few mandates: Attract and satisfy an audience, sell subscriptions and sell ads. To be successful all three have to be working.
No one is unaware of the challenges facing media in the ad sales department these days, and when you have an individual like Lynne Segall, you thank your good fortune she is on your team. You don’t push her out. It is simply bad business.
I worked with Lynne for 18 years while we were both at the Hollywood Reporter. There is no doubt in my mind of how difficult Lynne can be. She is passionate in what she does, has a take-no-prisoners attitude, is highly opinionated and does not know how to take no for an answer. On the flip side, she is loyal, caring, protective of her brand and relentless in pursuing every ad out there with every tool available.
I found her style often grating, but I had to admit more often than not she was right. My choice was to do what was right or protect my ego. I found for our brand it was better to go along with her.
Lynne was and is talent. Axiomatically, the more talented someone is in their specialty, it seems the more difficult they are to manage.
Tough! If one wants the best in any endeavor, they have to weather the challenges those highly skilled and effective people present. Everyone managing a business and having profit responsibility knows the value of “talent” in his or her world.
It is simple to say let’s reorganize or let’s investigate that disaster or redesign a product rather than fix its problem. Today in all institutions it seems the bureaucrats have taken over. The talent is being ignored or pushed aside to make room for more bureaucrats. What a shame we have come to this stage when we so desperately need all the talented people we can find.
I highly recommend Lynne to anyone interested in increasing their sales, but with the caveat that it will take a strong manager to lead and motivate her.
In the end the question is what do you want more, sales or meetings?

Robert Dowling is a former publisher of the Hollywood Reporter.