We are midway through the last quarter of the calendar year. Your printing company is falling behind the plan you set at the beginning of the year and even though you revised the numbers at midyear, your company is still falling short.
Not achieving results in any organization is a great source of frustration to owners and leaders. It may be a chronic problem, happening year after year. Here are some specifics as to why results may be lacking.
Define Achievable Goals
The most common reason is that the goals were never achievable in the first place. Print owners and leaders, in general, have a tendency to set high goals, assuming that everyone will rise to the occasion and deliver. Unfortunately, this is almost never the case. I’d like to believe that the people you employ do the best they can under whatever circumstances they are in. But I also know that many individuals often give up when they see they aren’t going to achieve a goal.
Assuming that reasonable, jointly agreed to goals were established, are your people really being held accountable? Your sales numbers are easy to measure, but numbers in the rest of the company, maybe not so much. Is it possible to measure the impact of the receptionist, CSR, production worker, or accounting clerk on revenue, client acquisition, or profit?
The next time you walk into any place of business, look at the individuals working and ask yourself “what results are these people supposed to achieve?” I stopped spending my money at a local Starbucks because I thought for sure the goal of the people working there was to socialize with each other—not to take care of the customers.
People are not supposed to be hired to do “stuff” yet far too many of them do just that. This happens all day long, week after week, month after month. How that stuff brings value to clients and revenues and profits to your printing company is a challenge that you and your management must address to achieve results.
This does not indicate employees are disengaged; I mean they are disconnected from achieving business results. Unfortunately, this strategic thinking to bring greater internal alignment and focus never takes place.
Get on the Same Page
Another thing that typically happens is that the results sought are internally in conflict. Your bookkeeper has the responsibility to manage your financial position, including cash. This position also manages risk exposure. Those in sales are charged with finding new business to sell to. This sometimes means bringing opportunities to the company from prospects with less than stellar credit.
In this scenario, those in sales have sales goals that run directly counter the instructions provided to the bookkeeper. I have witnessed this happen in more than a few companies and it is a constant source of friction and discouragement. Since credit and sales are at cross purposes anyway, conversations aren’t likely to happen about receiving conflicting orders.
I have noticed that there is often no hierarchy of results. No one takes time to explain how the sought after individual results tie into the results of each department, and then to the company.
It should be that, broken down person by person, it becomes clear what people have to do, by when, and in what order. This process also identifies when people don’t do what they are suppose to do so that corrective action can take place.
I have also witnessed another odd behavior: results never being discussed once they have been set. The “report card” is never produced and explained to those who need it.
Many print owners don’t know the value of producing timely reports and sharing the results with their staff. Surprisingly, many feel they don’t want everyone to know how well or how poorly the company is doing.
Finally, people may be told what results to achieve, but they may not be able to accomplish the assignment. Reasons for this failure may include not having the necessary tools, not being motivated, or lacking the understanding of the process.