September '22

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G R A P H I C S - P R O. C O M S E P T E M B E R 2 0 2 2 • G R A P H I C S P R O 7 9 RULE NO. 5 - PRACTICE AN ATTITUDE OF GRATITUDE Focus on the good. We didn't choose the easiest vocation on Earth. We are in a custom environment of stress, tight dead- lines, low margins, tough working conditions, outdoor weather extremes, large equipment investment, and demanding custom- ers. But we get to create some works of art and make all the parts flow like a ballet somehow. And now we get to add in volatile raw material prices and supply chain issues for good measure! ose of us that are "age challenged" can remember the Gulf War, 9/11, and other recessions and how they impacted the industry. But focus on the great things we can do when our team is in the zone or when prosperity is breaking all sales records. Remember, this too shall pass. Be grateful. Compliment others often. People thrive in a posi- tive environment where they feel appreciated and part of the team. We are learning that a flexible work environment is tan- tamount to employee well-being. It wasn't always that way, but change happens. Embrace the change. Take seminars on how other generations work best. It's worth your time and invest- ment to help your Gen Z, Millennials, Gen X, and Boomers maximize their contribution to life, liberty, and the pursuit of your bottom line. Be positive, even when you don't feel like it. Smile, even if you think it might break your face. You'll be surprised how you can change the entire workspace emotionally by these simple actions. Happy, energetic, and enthusiastic employees help sell more signs, banners, decorated corporate apparel, imprinted promotional products, and digital graphics. You can set the course. Be the example; that's what leaders do. RULE NO. 6 - DEVELOP YOUR EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE (EQ) One of the watershed events of my life was when my wife Nita and I attended a multi- week seminar on Emotional Intelligence or EQ. What is emotional quotient? It is the ability to understand, manage and regulate your emotions in a positive manner to miti- gate stress, communicate effectively, empa- thize with others, and diffuse conflict. EQ can help you strengthen relationships (it did wonders for our already great mar- riage), and it helped us figure out ways to reduce team stress. at is extremely valuable to a business owner. It also helps in job satisfaction. It is not easy to work on your empathy for others, but when you learn how, it changes your perception on your own motivations, your employees, customers, and vendors. It's a dynamic that can create synergy in your day-to-day operations and cause fast scal- ing up of your company's volume. Improving your social skills takes some work but like anything, the rewards are commensu- rate with the effort. Operating with integrity is a big part of EQ. If you think about great leaders in any industry, most have very high EQ. I encourage you to invest in a seminar/workshop as part of your self-improvement. RULE NO. 7 - BECOME A MENTOR Become a subject matter expert. Within our industry, there are products or services that you gravitate to automatically either by choice or ability. Become the very best at learning everything you can about that one thing. Study, invest, ask questions, and research all you can so that people will think of you when that topic is foremost on their mind. is helps you become indis- pensable and in demand. Motivate and inspire others. Great mentors lead as role models. Be generous with your time and encourage others. Help someone write a business plan. Introduce a friend to your banker. Invite a competitor to join your local industry chapter. Donate a sign to a non-profit group that cannot afford one. Help charter a new organization or group that has a valuable service goal. Advise oth- ers on how to be successful in the sign industry like you. Share your experiences and offer to teach seminars at trade shows. Your voice is needed (even if you don't like speaking in public)! Sales is not always about chasing leads and making cold calls. It's about the foundation you have as a salesperson or business owner that is supporting the leader you are becoming every day. What else helps you become a leader? Learn to laugh. Ask for advice. Be self-aware. Continuously work on your empathy. Focus on coaching and developing people. Duplicate yourself in others. Be willing to talk about uncertainty. Be willing to risk and learn from your failures. Just don't forget to get back up, dust off your jeans and get back to work. As my coach always said at the end of practice, "Now take the ball and run with it." GP Paul Ingle started selling signs in 1985, having worked with local, national, and global accounts with custom, architectural, and production manufacturing firms. Since 1973, he's held roles in sales, sales management, and marketing. From 2006-17, he and his wife Nita owned Design Center Signs in Tyler, Texas (now A Comet Signs Company). Paul is a past president of the Texas Sign Association and its regional chapter the Greater DFW Sign Association. Contact him at "The mind is not a vessel that needs filling, but wood that needs igniting." – Plutarch "The eyes have one language everywhere." – George Herbert "Only in being productively active can man make sense of his life." – Erich Fromm

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