Focus on the Windshield
What type of business do you have? I don’t mean whether you’re a commercial printer, mailer, fulfillment or direct mail shop, I’m referring to the type of business you’re running. What’s the culture like? In extreme cases the staff is expected to do what they’re told and that they should be happy that they’ve got jobs. On the other end of the spectrum are those firms that allow complacency to the point that the really good folks end up leaving because working hard and smart and doing your best just doesn’t matter. Somewhere in the middle are companies that foster a learning environment where people are engaged, and encouraged to grow and contribute new ideas to the benefit of the company. If you are trying to change the course or trajectory of your business, understanding where you are today will greatly affect how you go about an effective transition of the business.
This is important because as you transition the business you are going to need your team to bring good ideas and be open to change, are comfortable sharing their thoughts with you, and want to participate in the continued growth of the organization. To encourage engagement, you may want to implement a safety net within the company that allows for new ideas and new ways of doing things to be thought through to determine their merit. This avoids the “that’ll never work here” syndrome.
You may have opportunities to better utilize and implement the vast assortment of equipment and technology that you currently own or are looking to invest in. This could be accomplished by refreshing the workflow or taking a hard look at productivity within the departments. Other opportunities you may have include your ability to better understand your customers, how they want to do business and how you can transform your clients into loyal fans. The markets are as competitive as ever. Pricing is as tight as ever. Clients will go across the street for pennies. How can you transition your company into the place everyone wants to do business with? You’ll need all hands on deck!
Sense of Urgency
Start by building a team of people who believe in the company and see the changes that need to be accomplished. With their support, you can create a sense of urgency (urgency is not the same as panic) and a shared vision that will help you communicate and engage your team. You’ll have to prioritize the areas that need the most attention and determine the sequence of events and a cadence that won’t overwhelm the business.
Have a clear picture of where you want to go, a map of how to get there and create a good support team. You now have the beginnings of a transition effort that will focus on the windshield, and not the rear view mirror.