“We like to get together, that’s what we’re all about,” Vistage CEO Rafael Pastor told a private breakfast gathering of Vistage employees, friends and family at the 2012 Milken Global Conference.
“And we’re always curious to learn,” he said.
Pastor introduced Harvard Business Review editorial director Justin Fox to the group, for an early morning discussion about the issues facing entrepreneurs and the CEOs of small- and medium-sized companies.
Fox said that he’d spent time reading through the last year or so of HBR, joking that the magazine is around $17 a month for the print edition – but on the iPad right now, it’s free!
The whole gamut from strategy to talent management has been covered at one time or another by HBR, Fox said, but one topic that came up frequently was balancing the need for innovation and preserving the core vision of a CEO’s company.
“The key is … making sure you define that core of your business as something that can change over time,” Fox said. “As a magazine company it’s not that we produce a magazine, it’s that we bring cutting-edge knowledge about management to people who need it — and it doesn’t matter what the platform is.”
“What is your core?” he asked. For companies that want to survive, it’s about “making sure that core isn’t something that’s dependent on a certain technology that’s going to go away in the next couple years.”
Fox also said that he looked at HBR as something of a Cosmo or Money Magazine for business leaders – and also joked about the “imploding” field of journalism.
Discussing HBR’s digital component, he said that it was clear that most digital readers seemed to be further down in the corporate ranks than the print readership, and said the list of the top seven online stories showed some interesting revelations:
1) The magic of doing one thing at a time
2) Choosing between making money and doing what you love
3) The real leadership lessons of Steve Jobs
4) Nine things successful people do differently
5) Be proud of your accomplishments, not your affiliations
6) How to negotiate your next salary
7) It’s not what you sell, it’s what you make
Fox said it’s very clear that one area that resonated with HBR’s digital readers was, quite simply, “advice on how to get through their work day.”
“There are just so many people out there who are suddenly thrown into this work world [and] are feeling overwhelmed ,” he continued, “because they have a job that’s suddenly much less simple than it once was 10 or 15 years ago or they’re doing eight different things instead of three.”
Taking the mic back from Fox to wrap up, Pastor quipped that from now on he’d make sure to think of HBR as “the cosmopolitan magazine for business leaders.”
“I’m going to get fired for that,” Fox laughed.