OPINION: Success of BBC culture change will be seen in quality of shows

It is difficult to conceive of an easier sitting target than Greg Dyke's attempt to change the culture of the BBC.

First, more than 10,000 staff were involved in drawing up a statement of values for the BBC, including trust, collaboration and putting the audience at the centre of everything the Corporation does. Cue newspaper leaders, derision and catcalls led by the BBC's 2000-strong army of cynics - its journalists.

Then Dyke decides he wants to replace management skills with leadership expertise and that thousands of those who are neither managers nor leaders will be shipped off to a leadership academy in Buckinghamshire. Hundreds of potential Birt MBAs are going to be sacrificed so that 5000 leaders can be created at the BBC. Cue really serious derision and growing speculation that the BBC director-general has finally flipped - as they all do in the end in their different ways.

But hold on. This is Greg Dyke, the man who runs around trying to "cut the crap", apparently producing tonnes of the stuff. How did the hard-nosed journalist become a candidate for a job at McKinseys? The Harvard Business School must do a powerful line in mind-altering propaganda to have created the new Dyke.

Except, just for the sake of argument, set aside the mockery for a moment and listen to a few of Dyke's observations about the nature of working in media organisations.

First, the newspapers that are laying on the ridicule with a trowel are invariably badly managed organisations. With journalists running them, how could it be otherwise? Second, there is little, if any, training and even less of a career structure in most media outfits. Not many people become editors and most of those who do rapidly become former editors.

So, according to Dyke, most hacks make a virtue of necessity, treasure the lack of career structure and end up bitter and frustrated in the end.

The film shown to BBC staff last week was in many ways a courageous effort to deal with serious problems in a large organisation with a strong traditional culture.

In particular, Dyke did not duck allegations from staff that alongside seriously inadequate BBC managers, there are also bullying and intimidating managers.

As one producer described it, there are the Bafta Bastards - people whose appalling treatment of staff is tolerated because they win programme awards.

In a similar vein there is also a culture of overwork and thousands of young people held dangling on short-term contracts.

If Dyke can do anything to change such problems, then his initiatives might indeed be worthwhile. But as Dyke admits, if all he does is make the BBC a happier place to work, that will amount to failure. To succeed, the changes will have to find their way into better programmes. That will be the ultimate test for the Leadership Academy.

The trick will be to deal with the Bafta Bastards, but still allow honoured space for a proper proportion of grumpy eccentrics.