Philie Group Blog

Play to Your Potential: A Checklist for CEOs
By Mike Philie

Year over year improvements can be a great performance yardstick for most companies. Especially as a business emerges from a pandemic, moving the needle to the plus side is certainly an accomplishment. The question that may come up though, is did the business really play to its potential? Another way to view it is — based on the people, processes, customers and the discipline that you have in running your business, was the outcome up to par? Sometimes just beating last years numbers is great, other times it’s not.

A second view of your business is to move from year over year evaluations and begin comparing your performance to your peers, or the industry segment you are in. Where do you stand in that evaluation? Were you in the average, above average, or below average sector of the group? Sometimes these group performance metrics can be misleading though, as many print companies have either focused on the few things that they do really well, or they have greatly diversified to provide the services that their customers want to buy. Depending on which direction you chose, it can become more difficult to compare your company to the “industry” results.

Based on the above scenarios, reviewing your business to your true potential might be the way to go. Here are a few things that you should review to determine whether you’re playing to your potential or not.

Four of the critical areas that can have an impact on your overall performance include:

  • Your people. It’s an understatement to say your people are your most important asset. Businesses that focus on having the right folks in the right jobs, and provide for ongoing training and coaching should perform better than those that don’t.
  • Process and procedures. Your continued efforts in building systems automation platforms for the repeatable functions within your business should pay dividends. Doing this allows your staff to work on helping to solve customer problems, and generating new ideas that could be profitable to you.
  • Do you focus on certain types of customers or do you provide print for anyone whose check will clear? Both can be profitable, but it’s difficult to do both at the same time. If you’ve carved out your target or ideal client, and focus on them, then you should expect a better outcome than those that are still trying to figure this part out.
  • The level of discipline you have in leading the business can pay off handsomely. A simple observation could be, is your team often criticized for starting projects or initiatives and never finishing them? Or is your business the one that sets quarterly goals and milestones, and is relentless in completing them on time? Stay away from the flavor of the month club.

The more that you have invested in each area, the more of a return that you should expect. The more that you and your leadership team focus on continuous improvement in these areas, the better the outcome you should expect. Following the averages won’t be, and shouldn’t be good enough for you if you do this right. These things aren’t easy to do, but again, nothing truly rewarding usually is. Don’t settle to be average, play to your potential.

Please add any comments or questions below. Good luck!

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.comLinkedIn or email at

Originally published in Printing Impressions


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