This blog originally published in Printing Impressions.
Technology is all around us, and it can be both thrilling and threatening at the same time. It might be the latest MIS update, tweaking your workflow automation process, or making sure that your IT infrastructure is actually set up to help your employees be more productive. It doesn’t end there. Your personal technology seems to encroach further into the workplace on a daily basis. You try to keep up with the latest must-have new toy, only to utilize a fraction of its capabilities. And wait, there’s more. Get into a late model car and the fun continues. No longer does it suffice to put the shift lever (or button, or knob) into drive and take off. What do you want the dashboard to look like, how do you work the radio or the navigation system, and I hope it doesn’t rain because we haven’t figured out the wipers yet. Where’s Siri when you need her? And yes, I’m going to leave all the smart home appliances out of this post for now, but these things fit a pattern.
Commit to Learning
Alvin Toffler once wrote, “the illiterate of the 21stcentury will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.” What does that mean and how does it influence whether or not you should learn how to use your phone as an alarm clock or work on upgrading the MIS? There’s plenty to do every day as you strive to meet the needs of your clients and get the work out on time. Machines break down, employees take scheduled and unscheduled time off, and there’s always the constant pressure to remain relevant. With all of this, how can you schedule that “learn, unlearn, relearn” thing? I’ve written about the value of experience in past posts. Well, here’s where you have to take a hard look in the mirror and ask yourself whether your 15 or 20 years of experience has been the first few years of experience repeated several times, or has it been cumulative throughout the years? Perhaps those are two extremes, but the message I’m trying to convey is the need for continual, lifelong learning.
Get Better Every Day
What are the three things that you’re committed to learning or getting better at in the next 90-120 days? How about your staff, what are they working on? And the sales team, no shortage of learning opportunities there. If these things become important to you, you’ll find a way to make the time to do it. I recall speaking to a group of business owners a few years ago about the value and importance of making time to work on the business and not just in the business. One by one they all claimed that there just wasn’t any time to get that done. Their days were slammed. I asked them to show me their calendar – that’s right, what do you actually have scheduled today or this week. I challenged them that I could find an hour or two every week that was, let’s just say, not as productive as it could be.Once we did that, they could plug in time to work on the business or learn something new that would help them. You can do this too.
Learn it to Teach it
So, whether it’s learning that new technology at work, at home, or in your car, it’s important, or else you wouldn’t have written the check to buy it. Apply these thoughts to your daily routine and more importantly, learn it so that you can teach it. Your staff and sales team are going through the same issues in coping with the ever fluid wave of technology and the need to learn. Be the leader and show them the way. And who knows, if you’re not already crushing your goals now, perhaps this will be the pivot you need to move you and your team in the right direction.
Give this a try and let me know how it works out for you. Good luck and remember, doing nothing is not an option!
Mike Philie can help validate what’s working and what may need to change in your business. Changing the trajectory of a business is difficult to do while simultaneously operating the core competencies. Mike provides strategy and insight to owners and CEOs in the Graphic Communications Industry by providing direct and realistic assessments, not being afraid to voice the unpopular opinion and helping leaders navigate change through a common sense and practical approach. Learn more at www.philiegroup.com, LinkedIn or email at firstname.lastname@example.org.