Editorial: See How They Run!

Microsoft Excel occasionally makes unexpected maneuvers that can really mess you up if you aren’t paying attention. When I first started crunching the numbers for the Top 100, I wrote the headline “Modest Recovery Continues”. As I delved further into my calculations, those modest numbers just didn’t jibe with the core information. I’ve been involved with this study for a long time and I know when the numbers are hinky.

Apparently, when I updated my spreadsheet for the new study, Excel shifted the columns used to calculate growth and averages. Aha! Once the formula was corrected, a completely different story emerged.

This year’s 10.15 percent growth is the best news the small commercial printing segment has had in a long time. And it’s not just overall growth—there is growth in every category we measure except the number of locations, which was only down by two. My favorite highlight is that this is the first time in many years we’ve see the number of employees increase. Even more encouraging is that this growth in the workforce occurred in conjunction with a healthy increase in average sales per employee. From that we can infer that employees are still working very efficiently, but there is enough work to keep more of them busy. And that’s good news for everyone.

Of course, this doesn’t mean that it’s all smooth sailing and no one is struggling any more. There will always be companies that struggle, and every company will face hardships at some point. Some of our Top 100 companies are still digging out from the recession. I hope their fortunes rise, but there are never any guarantees.

On that note, I would like to direct you to the Executive Suite column on page 32. Even if your company is recovering, most of us have been through some rough times recently. Burnout threatens everyone, from the CEO to the guy who sweeps the floors. It has become something of an epidemic in light of the constant downsizing that resulted from the recession. People have seen their duties increase exponentially as companies strive to constantly do more with less. This leads directly to burnout.

David Claerbaut addresses the subject of burnout as it applies to executives who are accountable for the success or failure of their companies. However, I urge you to share this article with everyone in your company. Share it with your contacts outside the industry. David’s advice is solid and might bring a measure of relief that is badly needed.

Of course, if you’re just looking for something to smile about, go look at those Top 100 numbers again. That should put a spring in your step.