At the GraphExpo in Chicago, listen to four key in-plant leaders talk about big mistakes.
This letter went to a young entrepreneurial friend of mine sometime back. He was struggling with a decision to try or not. There are some key points for anyone working on a change or transition. ……….
The life of a small business operator (change agent) is tough. You will make less per hour than if you worked at McDonald’s flipping burgers for the first few years. You will work for nothing but the love of work and the passion of your idea. If you cannot do that, quit and go to work for someone else. Over time, you can make millions of dollars. In the beginning you will live on beans and peanut butter and tuna fish and learn to like it. You will live in the junkiest apartments and drive old cars. You will put your money into your business and into giving to others. Later, you will have some money. Don’t count on it for the first five years. Everything should go back into the business in some form.
A small business operator (change agent) can make no excuses. There is no one to blame for any failure or lack of money but you. The economy is not to blame. The customer is not to blame. Ignorance is not to blame. Only you are to blame. Get over blaming others and circumstances. Get ready to face the mirror every morning and hold yourself accountable to your vision and your dream and your actions or lack of actions.
Opportunities multiply as they are seized. Sun Tzu. That is pure truth. Every time an opportunity is in front of you, you must answer yes or no quickly. Every one you let pass is gone. Quit whining about the fish you did not catch and go fishing for the next one. There is not time to whine about what did not work. Get over it and get moving forward.
Small business operators fail for lack of planning and lack of execution. That is about the whole of it. The longer you think about what you are going to do, the less you will succeed. Study, think, plan, and then do. Be decisive in your ways. Take knowledgeable action. It is better to fail while you are acting than to fail while you are sitting and thinking.
You will fail over and over and over. That is just the way life works. Failure is your teacher. Failure because you did not plan and did not work the plan is simply stupidity. There is no excuse for stupidity. God did not make you stupid. Sitting around and whining and blaming people and circumstances makes you stupid.
Every day you must study your profession and what affects success. Every day. You are a student forever from this point forward. Read magazines, trade journals, newsletters, and books. Read, read, and read. Blow up the television and the games and social media sites and read.
Go to school. Get as many meaningful certifications and degrees as possible in the next five years.
Sleep is a waste of time. Sleep the exact amount needed to stay healthy and alert.
So, if this is what drives you and makes your clock tick, DO IT! Quit thinking and whining. DO IT!
Discussions with shops around the nation result in a few inevitables.
1. How do you get people to move forward?
2. How do you get other people to move forward?
That is a purposeful pun.
It really gets to be all about people in our efforts to change products and processes. Those changes always mean changes in people, projects and props (the tools and technologies). But the people are in the center of it all.
Product change means marketing and selling customers and investors. For an In Plant, they are the same. Customers are investors. They are the source of income and many times the only source. Sure, the CFO, COO, and CEO have strong opinions and input especially for transactional product lines. Yet, more and more effective print and distribution management for In Plants must engage the Marketing and Sales customers. That is high powered growth. Transactional has a high likelihood for being sourced and reduced significantly. You must move forward.
Process change is the same. Your highest sell is to your internal production teams. Next comes the customer. Many processes can be changed without engaging the customer. Yet, you need to ask yourself why you are doing changes if the customer does not benefit? They have an interest, even if it is just to know you are working on cost improvement or cost containment for them.
Prop changes are for the products and processes or they should not be done. Nuff said. You should not be retooling just to get the next fancy wangamahoochie. Technology must meet real business demand to go through the pain of change. Your production team must understand how the customer will benefit along with the product and the process. Your production team should improve skill and contribution and have more fun when you change technologies and tools.
Projects are what implement changes. Have them or die. A defined way to analyze, define, plan, implement, and optimize goes with every change. There are budget approvals and customer approvals and departmental approvals and worker approvals and self approvals and vendor approvals and IT approvals and on and on and on that must be planned and coordinated along the path to productive and prosperous change.
So people are involved in every step and every area of change. Those murky, hard to understand, mental, emotion, physical, and spiritual beings can make change heaven or hell.
Just for fun think of four types you will encounter.
Mundane Mary: The person will ask question after question. She will want to understand the universal and specific reasons for the change. Put her on the analysis team with a specific deadline. She might drive you insane, but she might find a hole in some plan that saves your hide.
Slap Happy Sam: The person will want to implement without a thought. Every day is an opportunity for a new party. He can get inclusion guaranteed as long as he is armed with a few facts to support his sales of you and the project. Make friends with him. Get him to understand how this change will improve happiness for someone.
Hard Ball Bart: Whew.. he will want profitability or cost reduction. This guy is important. He will make you justify in the right manners. Convince him. Do your homework.
Amiable Amy: She just want to get along. So make sure she is on the implementation and training track. She will work until it works for everyone else.
This is a blog not a book. So I am ending here. Just some thoughts to stir you up on the path to progress.
A live poll on linked in is opening some eyes.
Executives are pressed for ways to have positive effect in the workplace.
Bottom line? Distractions cause mistakes and take away productivity.