Last night Condé Nast editors and execs stepped out of the gilded tower that is 4 Times Square to toast executive publishing director Bill Wackermann and his new book Flip the Script: How to Turn the Tables and Win in Business and Life.
A quick look at Wackermann’s resume and it is clear that if anyone is qualified to be doling out such advice it is he, having risen to Condé’s upper echelons at age 31 to become the youngest publisher in the company’s history when he was handed the reigns at Details. Today the business guru oversees the advertising side of Glamour, which has recently undergone a redesign that, if newsstand numbers are any indication, has gone quite a long way towards reinvigorating the brand.
There to fête her colleague’s success was Glamour editor in chief Cindi Leive, whose hot-off-the-presses June issue features cover girl Carrie Underwood and a beauty spread with blowout-happy mom Nicole Richie. We talked to the the all-star editor about finger-pointing, editorial integrity, and what the magazine has in store for readers come July:
You and Bill have been working together for years now. What would you say is the best piece of advice he has ever given you?
Well a lot of it is in the book – Bill is very shrewd about business situations and one thing that I think he does really well is, if something is going wrong, he avoids the trap of trying to figure out whose fault it is and moves immediately to ‘What can we do to fix it?’ In the book he talks about that and calls it ‘blamestorming’. You don’t want to engage in blamestorming, which I think is so smart and I find it very useful. You can spend an entire week in the blamestorming process and if you can eliminate that, you get stuff done a lot faster.
Glamour just underwent a big redesign – was that a principle you applied while you were working on the changes to the magazine?
It’s more of every day management situations, you know? Where you have to manage creative people and you hope everything goes fabulously but once in a while it doesn’t and it’s really useful to be able to see that your job as a leader is to work towards a solution and not engage in a lot of finger pointing.
So what exciting things can we expect to see from the magazine in the coming months?
Well September is dedicated to fashion. We just are closing the July issue this week. There’s a camel in it and some body paint. Not together in the same story, though.
You have been editor in chief of Glamour for ten years now. How do you think the relationship between editor and publisher has evolved since you started?
I think it’s much closer and tighter than it used to be. When I was a junior staffer at magazines I think my editor in chief and publisher would go a week, two weeks even without talking. Now we’re both mutually in charge of moving this brand forward. I think that we have complete editorial integrity, and we should, but you still want to make sure that you and your publisher are working together. It has to be a partnership.
[photo via Billy Farrell/Billy Farrell Agency]