November '19

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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I magine you are in a rowboat or a canoe with a few other people. What happens if everyone paddles at any time in any direction they want? The boat might travel, but it won't go far or easily in the direction that everyone might like. Now imagine that same boat but everyone is paddling in the same direction, at the same time, and at the same speed. Progress happens faster, and the boat travels swiftly toward the destination almost effortlessly. What's the difference between the two? Alignment. Now think about your shop. Your employees. Customers. Goals and aspirations. Do you have that alignment yet? Are you all paddling in the same direction with a coordinated effort? Or is it a mishmash of unfocused ideas, miscommunication, and everyone doing what they think is "best"? In this article, I'll break down a few alignment types for you and give you some nuggets to ponder about your business to help you build the alignment that will help keep your canoes paddling in the same direction. CULTURAL ALIGNMENT The first place to start when thinking about alignment is with your company culture. Culture is crucial for alignment as it sets the tone. When you delve into what's important and nail down expectations, a roadmap to success appears. For me, culture can be expressed as the personality of your company. What is im- portant to you? What core values does your company express on a daily basis? More importantly, who do you let on your team? Do they fit with the culture? Many companies tout their core values as a badge of honor and may even have them on their website or written on the walls in the business. Words like Integrity, Honesty, Creativeness, Respect, Customer First, or Honor might be listed. But, do you hire and fire people based on them? Let's say one of your core values is honesty, and you catch an employee being untruthful. What hap- pens? Something? Nothing? Cultural alignment should be about not only how you deal with these challenges, but who you 3 0 P R I N T W E A R N O V E M B E R 2 0 1 9 PERFECT PERFECT ALIGNMENT M A R S H A L L A T K I N S O N

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