Community, Resilience, and Looking toward the Future

Over the past six months, things have been tumultuous to say the least. We’ve been lucky to be able to forge a path forward, and we hope your business has been equally fortunate as we all move into the last part of this unexpectedly eventful year.

Howard recently had a birthday, and in this video he reflects on the importance of resilience when navigating through tough times. He also talks about some new exciting additions at Stafford Printing, and there’s a quick check-in to make sure that you’re all doing okay, as well!

Community is so important, and we’re proud that our customers are almost like family to us. They’re our number one priority, through the good times and the bad. This look at the history of Stafford Printing underlines just how far we’ve come over the past 33 years, and how we embrace the values of customer service and accountability to make sure that every printing job is completed to the highest possible standard.

We want to help our customers succeed in whatever they set out to do – let us know exactly how we can assist you in reaching your professional and creative goals!

Eight Practices for Effectiveness to Reach Your Business Goals in 2020

Now that January is almost history, it’s time for a quick reflection. The first month of the year can be a little overwhelming. You’re recovering from holiday break, looking back on the prior year, and thinking of the million goals you have for the current year . . .  all while you’re in quicksand!

As we prepare to celebrate 33 years of Stafford Printing, I know how time can become a blur. I don’t know exactly where I picked up these “eight practices for effectiveness,” but I want to share them here because I think they can be helpful when you’re trying to get organized and move forward on your plans for the year.

  1. Ask yourself, what needs to be done now? Choose just one big task, or two maximum. Most people don’t have the capacity to focus on multiple major projects simultaneously, so it’s better to work on one thing at a time and give it your full attention.
  2. Another question: what is right for your business? Be brutally honest with yourself about this one. Chasing silver objects is great in fiction, but not so much in real life.
  3. Develop an action plan for each project, or what some call a “statement of intent.”  This should be a written plan detailing exactly what steps you intend to take to accomplish your goal, and in what time frame.
  4. Take personal responsibility for decisions. Don’t just raise the flag – make sure there is buy-in, direction, accountability, and follow-up.
  5. You also need to take responsibility for communicating. Though technology has taken us to outer space and back, it hasn’t come up with a way to transmit the information in our brains and hearts to interested parties.
  6. Focus on opportunities rather than problems. This goes back to accountability – problem-solving does not produce results. Exploiting opportunities does.
  7. Run productive meetings. Kill the PowerPoint. The end.
  8. That old saying “there is no I in team” may be trite and overused, but it’s also true. You have to think in terms of “we,” and make decisions through that lens.

The first two practices give you knowledge; the next four convert knowledge into effective action; the last two ensure that the organization feels responsible and accountable. This is a great recipe not only for getting projects done, but also for staying true to your company values and taking care of your team in the process.

Finally, I’ll leave you with a bonus tip that comes from personal experience: listen first, speak last.

What’s the Best Path to Accountability?

I once had a friend whose business motto was “the beatings will continue until morale improves.”  It’s not surprising that he eventually closed his doors – that management style went out of fashion about a century ago, and it was never effective to begin with!

In business we’re always focused on accountability. Naturally, we want everyone to be doing their job correctly and to the highest possible standard, but how we get to that point matters. Sure, you can demand accountability from your employees, but a forced approach is almost certainly going to backfire. You want your employees to feel encouraged and engaged, not criticized, distracted, and likely looking for another job behind your back.

The first book I’m reading in 2020 is Inspiring Accountability in the Workplace by Elaina Noell. Noell is the founder of a management strategy consulting firm that utilizes neuroscience to empower leaders to design company cultures that increase employee engagement, productivity, and accountability. Essentially, her firm’s goal is to help businesses override old patterns to carve new pathways toward success.

The title of the book sparked my interest because traditional accountability models leave a lot to be desired. Leaders often feel frustrated and out of options when employees don’t live up to established standards, while the employees feel scolded, discouraged, and uninterested in trying any harder. In Elaina Noell’s system, on the other hand, a foundation of neuroscience and human dynamics helps inspire productivity and results. It’s a much more appropriate approach for the 21st century, and avoids a lot of unnecessary friction and damaging conflict between managers and employees.

So if you’re looking for the best way to implement a strong, healthy culture of accountability in your own business in 2020, I encourage you to read Noell’s book, or listen to it on Audible. The book’s toolkit is robust, and the strategies will pay dividends as we navigate a workforce that has many options in today’s economy.