This was never going to end well.
"I don't care what you tell me, what you show me, I don't believe this is going to work." And with that one statement, Houston, we had a problem.
The subject matter was a major editorial transformation project. It was bold, innovative and high risk. It was also absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, this senior executive wasn't having a bar of it. Deep down it rattled her values.
In the end, she stepped out of the way of the juggernaut of change that was bearing down on her and her newsroom. She was an editor with deep experience, wide respect - an honourable person. But without her leadership, without her belief in the project, it was destined to fail.
This tale is sadly a typical one of why editorial change programs fail - captured here in what I refer to as the Seven Deadly Sins of Transformation.
Aside from the usual issues that need to be addressed on any meaningful change initiative, newsrooms throw up unique circumstances.
Newsrooms can be crazy places to work; utterly entertaining, adrenalin inducing and exhilarating, but also stressful and cynical eco-systems. That spells an additional degree of difficulty for project teams who must be adept at earning journalists' trust and getting them to understand intellectually about the transformation in question and then to commit to it unequivocally.
Being aware of the seven deadly sins does not guarantee an easy road; no stairway to heaven. But it might just help you avoid a slippery slope into dark and uncomfortable places where no-one wants to go.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Stuart Howie is the Director of Flame Tree Media. He prides himself as someone who has learned from the sins of his past across 30 years in media and publishing. For his penance, he is helping media groups find a new path to righteousness - and ongoing profitability.
Stuart Howie is a communications consultant and strategist. He runs Flame Tree Media, which specialises in setting up newsrooms for organisations wanting a better return on communications. Stuart has worked in media and publishing for more than 30 years as an editorial executive, editor, and journalist.