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National Geographic Society

This case shows how leaders manage change in an unpredictable and highly uncertain environment, especially at an iconic organization that is strongly mission-driven.

Hanaa EL-Ghaysh

on 12 December 2012

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Transcript of National Geographic Society

Obstacle 1 Obstacle 2 Obstacle 3 Conclusion Start Fahey thinks like a generalist, so he focuses on integration and how to make it a reality.

He assembled a management team of diverse backgrounds to transform the Society's culture and organization, fostering more risk-taking, a greater focus on commercial activities, and more cross-departmental collaboration.

The NGS Staff need to hear him in action, how he responds to their questions. What levers is he pulling? Where is he pushing? How is he assembling the pieces into a whole? Where is he drawing lines?" The decision The position should not report to Global Media, because there will be pressure on the new e-commerce senior VP would have been immense from the various units—magazines, catalogs, and expeditions—to push their products.

The position should not report to Fahey himself ,because he already has 14 direct reports and it is not good to centralized position to report to the CEO.

We think the position should report to the Enterprise Group, because the position is considered strategic rather than functional. The National Geographic Society is one of the world's largest nonprofit scientific and educational organizations.

It was founded in 1888 to "increase and diffuse geographic knowledge. Its new Society mission is to inspire people to care about the planet.

National Geographic reflects the world through its magazines, books, television programs, website and other digital products, films, music and radio, DVDs, maps, exhibitions, live events, expeditions and merchandise.

National Geographic has funded more than 10,000 scientific research, conservation and exploration projects and supports an education program promoting geographic literacy. Nationalgeographic.com, the award-winning website of the National Geographic Society, attracts 19 million unique visitors a month. John Fahey , who is a highly skilled general manager, In 1996

John Fahey , who is a highly skilled general manager, arrived to head the National Geographic Ventures,then in 1998, he was named,president, CEO(1), and chairman of the board of trustees' executive committee of the Washington, D.C.-based National Geographic Society (NGS). The task was clear, to build an organization to thrive for the next 100 years. By 2000
A great debate raised among readers, observers, and staff members .They were asking whether NCG should continue to chronicle the demise of the planet or deploy its resources and assets more proactively .This prompted a broad discussion about refreshing the mission of the society.

However, the new articulation of the mission brought challenges, such as the partnerships activities were not viewed compatible with the mission ,and the new mission might risk the society’s reputation. In 1996
Fahey found the institution was in decline, decision-making was slow and fusty and a digital strategy was just emerging. Various units operated as independent fiefdoms .

By 2007, He made the reorganization but with unresolved problems. His change was deliberate, that creative people take longer to accept change because people's first loyalty is still to their silos. Fahey was heading what appeared to be a steady but slow-motion revolution. His effort to rebuild the organization for the digital era was now more than a decade old, with some notable successes.

He has turned National Geographic into International Geographic. The upside is NGS has entered new global markets; the downside is NGS has abandoned what made it great.

Fahey, has to consider the nature of mission-driven organizations, "inspiring people to care about the planet".

The challenges of altering long-established, complacent cultures, the need for accompany shifts in organizational structure and roles, and the best approach to strategy making in an environment that is rapidly changing. In 2008

Fahey manage to made a cross – platform team of senior representatives from the editorial group of magazine ,television production, channel, books and other units met monthly to asses story or program opportunities that NGS could develop, produce and slot into coordinated events

Challenges soon emerged:
First: topic did not always generate consensus.
second: once a topic was selected, no specific formula existed for allocating the cost for developing content related to the story.
Third:because each major piece of GMG was still a distinct business whose financial results drove some part of individual compensation .
Fourth: There was a sense that many leaders judged themselves by success of their own division and strove to maximize its success rather than that of the society as a whole.

As a result ,even as they deal with various contingencies and exclusiveness, but with no cost – benefit analysis conducted at level of the society as a whole. In 2009

The financial crisis raged , Fahey and his team took stock of the external and internal environment .

It turns out that many things that made National Geographic one of the world's top brands during its 123 years are obstacles to overcome.

Like many other print publications, National Geographic subscription revenue has declined significantly, from $284 million in 1999 to $211 million in 2009.

The value of becoming a member of the Society, once a matter of prestige, has eroded.

The institution has made large bets on various forms of media—Internet, movies, TV, cable programming, but it is still trying to figure out the best strategy for integrating them.

Despite repeated structural changes, employees still operate in silos. NGS continued focus on coast cutting , so it had shed 185 jobs through retirements, layoffs and restructuring In 2010

Fahey must decide how best to organize the 121-year old mission-driven organization for a world of accelerating digital convergence and decreasing magazine sales.

The CEO has long espoused an evolutionary approach to change, but is now facing a world where digital technology and multimedia products threaten to cannibalize and replace the organization's primary revenue source, its magazine. Fahey has to find a solution for the decline of print and the rise of digital and social media, coupled with staff frustration at an enduring lack of coordination across NGS units and a resulting inability to capitalize fully on the brand .

He created a position of senior vice president, e-commerce. It's a pivotal and, for NGS, radical step.

The position will be responsible for coordinating web-based offerings and outreach across the Society's numerous departments, integrating several direct-mail efforts into a cohesive e-commerce strategy, and leveraging the NGS relationship with subscribers. The actual debate of NGS case study is about to whom should new senior vice president give report ?.

To the Global Media Group?
To the Enterprise Group?.
To Fahey himself?

This debate embeds the larger issue of who is going to control the integrated aspects of e-commerce, and what authorities and what decision rights that person will have relative to the existing divisions ?. To Global Media (GMG)?
The formation of the new group is part of National Geographic strategy to improve coordination between editorial teams and enhance its digital content offerings. The Global Media group has functional mission, so it responsible for the company's magazine, book publishing, television, film, music, radio, digital media and maps arms or digital ventures . The GMG brought much needed consolidation and rationalization. Its role was to enhance coordination among NG editorial units. The position should report to Global Media (GMG) if the position is considered functional rather than strategic.

To the Enterprise Group?
National Geographic Enterprises has strategic mission . It encompasses National Geographic’s licensing, catalog, e-commerce and travel divisions. Enterprises also oversees the Society’s three retail stores in Washington, London and Singapore. Working closely with the Society’s team of researchers, writers, photographers, filmmakers and explorers, National Geographic Enterprises develops retail programs and products geared to supporting the Society’s mission of inspiring people to care about the planet. National Geographic’s net proceeds go to support the Society’s exploration, conservation, research and education programs. The position should report to the Enterprise Group, if the position is considered strategic rather than functional.

To Fahey himself?
John Fahey, is the president, CEO, and chairman of the board of trustees' executive committee of the Washington, D.C.-based National Geographic Society (NGS). He is signaling the importance of the role and he already has 14 direct reports. Fahey wanted someone to think holistically about NGS's offerings and how best to approach customers and sell them what they want to buy. The position should report to the CEO if it is good to centralized position to report to the CEO. NGS changes implementation was not an easy or simple process, as these kinds of changes take time, require lots of experiments, not all of which will succeed and require a change in culture and values of people.

Fahey is not sure who are going to figure out what the right digital combination is, but he surely that people progress will be in a position to take advantage and exploit that opportunity when someone does figure it out. That senior management position should be
responsible for E-commerce:

To coordinate web-based offerings and outreach
across the Society's various departments

To transition NGS from its many disparate and
independent direct mail efforts to a more integrated
and strategic e-commerce strategy.

To leverage the NGS relationship with its
members-currently defined as magazine subscribers,
since a subscription comes with Society membership. National Geographic Products National Geographic Magazine The Solution Successful
NGS Policy Cycle Alternatives Thank You
Hanaa & Amna
QFIS. 12/12/2012 National Geographic Society
Case Study (1) Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
The senior officer of a corporation. The CEO is usually appointed by the board of directors, and charged with responsibility for overseeing the operation of the company. But Goal The Case Study Debate
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