Exerting your vision through your people and customers requires training. You need to train team. You need to train prospects and customers. You need to train yourself. You need to train your board. You must perform with consistency, congruency, and tenacity. They may resist. Do it anyway.
Train Your Team
Customer Service: A relaxed customer service is failure in the making. Many inside service team unravel at this point. Every team member must understand the vision of the service group. They must breathe it and live it. It should affect every point of decision.
The press tech, the manager, the finishing tech, the shipping clerk, and the prepress tech must breathe customer service. This means constant training on phone skills, face-face consistency, issue handling, and prioritization to customer need. How often do decisions get made based on equipment and supplies versus customer demand? Change it. Attend to it always.
Customer Knowledge: Team need to know who they serve. Communicate personal information about the key customers. Did someone recently have a baby? Take a once in a life time trip? Accomplish a certification? Why do you restrict this knowledge to the sales and customer service teams? When your team members know the customers they serve in simple ways, they take what they do more personal and increase excellence.
Team Technical: All falls apart if the machines are not running. Machines run with good files, good process, and good people. Good people are trained. They are retrained. They are over trained.
Train Your Customer
“Personally, I’m always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught.” Sir Winston Churchill, British Prime Minister
Mission Criticals: Customers must be trained. Men and women around the world follow leadership into life ending battles. They grasp a purpose, attach to leadership, and thrust themselves into the oncoming firestorm. Your customers have a mission purpose. When you show them how their mission purpose connects with your service, you gain customers for life. They want to have loyal and mission attached service and will fight through budgets, purchasing departments, discretionary funds, and idiosyncrasies of their organization to work with you. Connect them. Educate them.
Linked Process: Customer process must be engaged. Discover their process and adapt yours to work with theirs. Educate them on your journey and your excellence. Take time to make them more knowledgeable on your ordering and delivering process than you are. They don’t care how you print it. They care how you interact with them at beginning and end of process. The better they understand, the easier their life becomes and the more they turn to you for service with a smile.
Be the expert in your industry. Know substrates and capabilities and twenty uses for every machine.
Be the expert in your people. Learn something new every day about a team member. Surprise yourself.
Be the expert in your customers. Study their needs and demands. Know what they need before they know what they need.
Be the expert in your customers industry. Read industry articles and journals your customers read. Get outside your pocket of knowledge.
Be the expert in the mundane. Maybe the numbers don’t excite you. Maybe organization process is boring. Master the mundane. Take a college course. Go interview an executive or manager in another area of the organization and learn what they know.
Train The Board
There are executive stakeholders surrounding every decision you make. Official or unofficial, you have a stakeholder board. They may meet in a room or in the hallway. Get them trained. Keep them updated with quick, pithy mission points of accomplishment and plans. Let them be involved in your decision thinking. You may not have an official board of advisors, but you better have a list for your own reference.
Summary: This is quick and high level. Every organization must train these four and train them well. Skip one and risk failure. Tend to all and move forward. Overcome your inertia. Move on it.
COMMON GROUNDS: These tidbits come out of daily consternations, comments, and concerns of real managers doing what needs done. Executives gain insight.
This article focuses on the Be Responsible side of the triad and Communications level of the operational pyramid.