Myth Busting at the C-Level

It’s myth debunking time, gang. Here are 9 of the most alive-and-well myths in the printing industry and a few rejoinders from your humble servant.

Myth #1

The most important thing in a production business is to do the jobs well and get them out on time.

The most important thing is to make good long-term decisions, beginning with personnel. Rather than hiring a “body” during a busy period in prepress, one is far wiser to suffer short-term and carefully hire a quality person who will likely be with the company five years from now.


Myth #2

In the end, most workers are driven by the buck.

They are if they are either A) in extreme financial duress, B) grossly underpaid by industry standards, or C) shabbily treated by management. Most workers want recognition—a sense of appreciation, a feeling that they truly belong and are a part of the company family, and a feeling of fairness. If money were the only motivator they would quit over a nickel an hour. If you meet the psychological needs mentioned above, you are less likely to get held up for more money.


Myth #3

The least important people in a company are…

Once you stratify your operation by levels of importance you are on the way to breaking down any sense of unity and team-centeredness. You may have some real stars in some seemingly low-level positions and you will miss them if they leave. Find, keep, and reward good people.


Myth #4

Workers just don’t care the way they used to.

Workers tend to conform to the expectations and performance standards set by their managers. Managers who model, expect, communicate, and teach excellence tend to get it. If your people under-perform, look at the manager’s expectations of them. If his expectations are low, why are you keeping the manager?


Myth #5

Expertise is more important than getting along.

Unless the person works in an isolated area, good company relations should be insisted upon. It determines the atmosphere, the collective personality, the very energy and quality of life in the workplace. Good morale contributes to unity and efficiency. Bad morale generates carelessness and turnover. Human hemorrhoids need to go.


Myth #6

Meetings are a waste of time.

Meetings that A) start on time, B) end on time, C) are brief, and D) deal with important matters reduce errors, improve efficiency, communication, and teamwork. Break any of these “rules” and the claim is no longer a myth.


Myth #7

Training and seminars are a waste of time and money.

They are if they are poorly done. If done well, they are of inestimable value because they raise morale and improve skill levels. Good companies invest in people just as they do equipment. Make sure you get a written report from anyone who goes to a conference outside the facility. You will know she listened and she may bring back good ideas.


Myth #8

A manager who gets the work out well and on time is a good manager.

Only if he makes his people better in the process.


Myth #9

Good workers make good managers.

Come on, now. Do good players make good coaches? Do good students make good teachers? To manage is to organize, direct, communicate, and control. That’s a whole different—and larger—set of skills than that of executing a specialized craft. Never lose sight of this or you may well promote someone such that you lose a good worker and gain a poor manager.

Take a look at these nine myths. You will hear them all over the industry—from your people, other owners, and even conferences. Don’t be deceived. It is expensive.


Dr. David Claerbaut has spent more than 25 years consulting in the graphic arts industry. You can reach him directly at 702-354-7000 or email him at Learn more at