At a recent conference hosted by the Axelson Center at North Park University, the evening keynote speaker touched on how our daily lives have been elevated to a whole new level over the past decade. In the past, we did not get bombarded with nearly half as much as we do now – E-mails, smart phones, social media, etc. Although the main topic of his talk was not centered on this, it definitely has stuck with me – the need for all of us to “filter” out and concentrate only on what is really critical to our businesses.
Just this last week I was reminded of this again through a State of the Industry Reportfor the printing industry, as prepared by NAPL (National Association for Printing Leadership). NAPL is a trade association that I have belonged to for over 25 years now, and have found them to be a progressive and valuable resource for managing C L Graphics. And while this report is exclusive to members, there were several key take-aways that I would like to share – ones that are not specific to the print industry at all, but rather important to anyone that is charged with the leadership of an organization.
I believe that these points are important at any time, however considering the current economic conditions and the fundamental shifts in how business is conducted now, they are even more critical!
- Absolutely no one is guaranteed a share of their industry’s growth! Individual company initiatives will play an even bigger role in determining who succeeds and who gets left behind.
- Learning from adversity and upheaval is one thing, acting on what we’ve learned is something else. Taking an aggressive, make-it-happen approach to business is necessary.
- Execution – doing what needs to be done when it needs to be done – remains the name of the game. The biggest obstacles to effective execution include poor follow-through/loss of focus, resistance to/fear of change, and procrastination/waiting too long to act.
Additionally, the report suggested some key lessons that participants had noted:
- Be prepared for change and adjust quickly
- You need to understand your clients problems and help solve them
- We can’t stand still on pastaccomplishments
- Always be looking for fresh ideas and new talent
- Strategic planning is a must
I have written in the past about how much change has impacted us and that the recent economy has even seemed to accelerate these changes in many areas – business, government, education, etc. Much of what this report suggested was centered not just on the negative aspects of this change, but rather the opportunitythat exists for those that embrace the change and proactively look to manage their business – to look at reducing waste and spoilage, measuring and boosting productivity, and improving on their marketing and sales process.
Take the time to share these key points with your leadership team, and keep paying attention to your business!
Special thanks to Andy Paparozzi and Joe Vincenzino at NAPL for their work on the State of the Industry Report!