Occupants of the Executive Suite are often put upon at the outset of the New Year to hit the ground with new ideas, resolutions, and directions. And often it seems more of a ritual than valued activity.
One of the problems with New Year launches and ideas is that they usually have to emanate exclusively from the Executive Suite. As a result, you are out there proclaiming the message and hoping your people 1) are listening, and 2) may take action. Enough of that. Unless yours is a very small company, get them involved.
Construct a Task Force
I suggest you put together a small task force—three to seven key people. Make them key non-complainer types in whom you have confidence. People in managerial positions are often good for this, but topflight employees at other levels can do well, too. Again, it is better to have too few than too many. You want everyone to lift at the heavy end, so three may be better than seven.
The point is that you want good people on this little commission.
Set the Agenda
Get them together and charge them with addressing some or all of the following questions.
• What changes did we see in the industry in 2013? In production? Sales? Service?
• What changes did we see in our company in 2013? In production? Sales? Service?
• What changes do we see coming in 2014 that affect our business? In production? Sales? Service?
• What opportunities do we see in 2014 that can help our business? In production? Sales? Service?
• What recommended actions should we consider taking in 2014? In production? Sales? Service?
You get the idea. If you put people from different departments together for this, you will get both a wide angle and a departmental focus.
Invite the people you want and make it special. Don’t be above paying them a couple of bucks or giving them some goodies for their effort. It won’t be about the size of the reward, but rather an indicator of how important you feel their assignment is.
Do not attend any meetings. If they wish to confer with you, allow them to do so, but make it their work. You can clean up behind them later. If you are present people will be less open and creative.
It is important that the task force has solid information. Give them sources. For example, you can send them to national graphic association periodicals and websites, local affiliates, other progressive companies in or out of your area (these can be reached by phone), and yes, Google.
Define the Rules
You do not want to hear about problems. You want information and direction. Make that clear to them.
Give them a deadline and hold them to it. You may even want them to give you the schedule of their meetings so they don’t try to cram this together at the last minute. This is a serious and important activity.
Have them put their report in writing and have them present it to you as a group. Go to a restaurant, make it a special occasion. At that meeting you can ask questions and focus the discussion. You may need more than one meeting. Who cares? This can really chart your direction.
The Big Payoff
I will be surprised if this does not payoff for you and your company. Here are the benefits. At the low end, you will have key people buying into your company and its direction. You will be sensitizing them to the power of change in our volatile industry. You will also save time by having the scavenging and research done by others.
The report, though perhaps not the equivalent of a presidential blue ribbon commission, should generate ideas that will feed on one another, energizing you, your people, and your company. Most important, you will have ideas for the future and a consensus of key people in support of them.
Happy New Year!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org. Learn more at MyPRINTResource.com/10746916.