Sign & Digital Graphics

Recognized Supplier Guide ’19

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30 • March 2019 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S RUNNING THE BUSINESS and ear of every one of your employ- ees. Guess what? If you want them to approach their jobs with enthusiasm, you'd better be enthusiastic in carrying out your own duties. If you want them to be humble and admit their shortcomings, guess who needs to show genuine humil- ity when a mistake is made? "Walk the walk if you talk the talk" is the modern- day version of leadership by example. One of the toughest things a leader may need to do is to let people make mistakes. The lessons they will learn are more valuable than any training course you could ever send them to. The trick is, soon after a gaff, discuss the mishap, determine why it occurred and agree on what should be done the next time. Reward employees for putting forth an honest effort to improve. Finally, be a visionary for your company. If you can't describe how your business will look three to five years from now, how will your people know they are making a positive difference today? Share your vision with them. Be as specific as pos- sible. When they can visualize the big picture, change is easier to accept, sup- port for growth will come from within, and your job as leader will become easier. Remember, if you aim at nothing, you will hit it every time. Set goals and work toward achieving them daily. Pop Quiz: Do These Sound Familiar? Here are several scenarios to examine. Imagine yourself as the owner of these four businesses. First, select the one that most closely describes your company today. Then, select the one that could best describe your company 12 months from now. Selecting the same company twice is permitted, though not advised— unless it is Business D. Business A: The annual turnover in personnel is greater than 50 percent. Ex-employees go to work for competi- tors or other business interests within your industry. Most of your new hires have limited experience and skills. You spend long hours telling and showing your people how to perform their jobs and immediately correcting them when a mistake is made or about to be made. It appears no one else in the company cares as much about its success as you. Absenteeism and tardiness are more fre- quent than you would like them to be. Still, you see that the job gets done by being very directive. Business B: Your employees engage in friendly conversation with you, both on and off the job. Whenever there is uncertainty in what is to be done, they immediately turn to you for guidance. You spend more time on the shop floor, at the desks of administrative person- nel, and at staff meetings than in the solitude of your office getting your own work done. Most times you bring work home, come into the office early, or stay late to complete it, when there are fewer interruptions. At the end of most days, you are exhausted but have the feeling of satisfaction that comes with a good day's work. In essence, you are working more so "in the business," rather than "on the business." Business C: Your employees have so many creative and productive sug- gestions that you begin to feel you are losing control of your business. At times you assign a job to a capable worker, only to find that the employee is con- stantly checking with you to be sure he understands what to do. You find your- self being more of a cheerleader than a coach. When you occasionally abandon the workforce to "fend for themselves," things—although appearing flawless in the customer's eyes—could have been smoother if you'd been around, if only to reassure the troops that they were doing a good job. Business D: You can take a well- deserved vacation or attend an industry trade show without your company skip- ping a beat. On occasion, you get that eerie feeling that your business is on auto-pilot, yet there are few customer complaints or shop problems. Your employees engage in constructive and spirited "debates" about better ways to serve the customer. If you do lose an employee, it is because she has gotten a better outside offer, or decided to go into business for herself (hopefully not in competition with you). And, while you will miss her, you part company amica- bly and wish her well. There are others on your staff ready to be promoted and assume new responsibilities. The Irony of Good Leadership Interestingly, in each scenario above, the manager demonstrates the appro- priate leadership style given the circum- stances. Successful and effective leader- ship is dependent on the situation. If you chose example A, B or C as your first response, you hopefully selected B, C or D (respectively) for your second. Your goal is to develop a work environ- ment where workers seek autonomy, demonstrate pride in workmanship, and are committed to customer satisfaction. Don't try to take giant steps toward your goal of growing into Business D. Instead, become a student of leadership. At the same time, develop an action plan to fulfill your corporate vision. To learn more about leadership, I invite you to investigate the following books: • Leadership and the One-Minute Manager by Ken Blanchard and Spencer Johnson; • Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Turning Followers into Leaders by L. David Marquet; • Leadership Secrets of Attila the Hun by Wess Roberts; and • Theodore Roosevelt on Leadership by James M. Strock Their messages are simple: Don't reinvent the wheel, learn from the effec- tive leaders of the past and discover the leader within yourself. Good luck! SDG If you can't describe how your business will look three to five years from now, how will your people know they are making a positive difference today?

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