Happy New Years! Of course, the beginning of a new year is the natural time to lay out plans for the coming year while reflecting on what did and didn’t work last year. In my years in business, one thing I’ve learned is that the big changes that our companies need to make never happen as fast as we would like them to and if we can identify the changes that we need to make, and then start taking the baby steps to get there…pretty soon we are changing the direction of the company. 

Training is Key in a Technology Economy

I’m finding a lot of forward thinking companies (ourselves included) are seeing training as a real key to not only growth, but to give their customers better access and understanding to complicated, under-used technology that’s available. And that means training for our employees as well as our customers. I think this sounds great, but in reality it can pose a lot of challenges. It starts with how and where to train. In many cases (ours included), there’s great customer service, but you know how the old proverb goes, you don’t know what you don’t know, especially in technology. We’ve got to continue to give our employees and customers access to all the cool things this technology brings us.  That means first we need to implement a continuous training program for us (webinars and other training from our vendors). Then we need to turn around and pass that information on to our customers. There are so many capabilities in the whole digital print workflow (from design to delivery) that go unused, everybody in this industry needs to continue to train themselves as well as their customers.

So the fun starts here….First, I need my conference room back, set up to bring training in from our vendors as well as push it out to our customers. And as we started our thoughts on redoing the conference room, it ended up expanding into the front office and prepress room. We started then to think ergonomics and how information, work and people all flow in an office, and we found that with some new furniture and people placement, we should be able to  really increase productivity. We’ll know the real truth when we are done, so stop in and check out our front office in a couple of months. There’s a lot more in the business goals for 2012, but for this posting, I’ll stay focused on the training and education goals and office remodeling.

So what about personal goals and resolutions? I’ve got some, and instead of trying to live by some statement, I like Chris Brogan’s idea of breaking your goals down to 3 words for next year…read his post. So without putting in to much deep thought, here’s my 3 words.

Self. I’m going to take better care of myself. In my case, I’m just getting over major surgery, and that has a way of making you more aware of both your body and your mind. I’ve never had more than a hang nail, so this was a life changing experience. Since starting rehab, I’m really enjoying getting back in shape both mentally and physically, and I’m going to keep it going.

Focus. I’m going to work harder to stay focused on the things that are within my control to change. And I’m going to not try and focus on a million things, I’m going to take them 1 or 2 at a time, figure them out and move on to the next ones.

Creativity. I want to nurture creative thinking not only in myself, but in the people around me. We need to consistently work on looking at things differently. I need to push myself, when I just can’t come up with that idea, word or thought, then do something to change my surrounding…take a walk, do something that you normally wouldn’t, just change the routine (and your thinking to). I’ve also been playing with the idea of finding ways to capture those ideas when you get them…it seems like we get ideas that are great, but if we don’t find a way to capture them when we have them, they can just escape us.

I’m not a New Year’s resolution kind of guy, but I believe if I put my goals or ideas in writing, I’m more apt to hold myself accountable. So, here’s to a successful 2012 for everybody….I’m thinking it’s going to be a good year!