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Perception IS Reality

By Ryan Sauers

About Ryan

Ryan T. Sauers is president of Sauers Consulting Strategies and spent nearly 20 years leading printing and promotional product companies prior to founding the firm. The organization consults with printing and promotional product related companies across the country, helping them grow the front end of their organization. Sauers is working on his Doctoral degree in Organizational Leadership and is the author of the top-selling book “Everyone Is in Sales”, with another book in the works.  He is a Certified Myers Briggs Type Indicator and DiSC Practitioner and Certified Marketing Executive. Ryan writes national feature articles and speaks at national conferences on such topics as sales, marketing, communications, leadership, organizational strategy and social media. He is also an adjunct university professor. More info at

Blank Sheet of Paper

Well, 2014 is here and I wish you a happy new year. Let’s get rolling...

What if you could relook at all parts of your organization as a blank sheet of paper? Good analogy for this industry, huh? This means you can engage in “as if” thinking. This means thinking in a manner as if you could make the changes you need in your company right away.

We all know that with a new year comes ideas and dreams. However, the difference in the company with an idea and the company with a plan is the latter one has a strategy. I see far too many print related companies, most family run, that live in what I call “someday aisle.” They say someday I’ll do this or that. They say that they are “running ragged” and just don’t have time. They say they are not satisfied with where they are but maybe once they are not slammed in late 2014 or beyond they will do, review or get around to (you fill in the blanks)

Sorry folks this is no good. Top companies in this industry have two to three specific and well-defined goals they seek to accomplish. They know there is never a perfect time to work on bigger picture things. So, they allocate time to accomplish what needs to be looked at with the same matter of importance as a press going down. They are both important, albeit the press must be fixed first, just different in terms of focus. 

The late Stephen Covey spoke of four quadrants of time we must review. Click here to read more about these quadrants. The premise is we need to spend our time on things that are important but not urgent. Planning, talent assessment, sales training, customer surveys, marketing research, social media connections, team building, coaching and more are all examples of very important things to your printing company but they are not urgent. And, thus many companies let them sit year after year.

The problem is most family run printing companies know they need to be doing these things, are not satisfied with where they are or where they are heading; and yet continue to put off important matters that should be addressed. It is like poison. It may not get you right away but if you simply disregard it being in your system—it becomes deadly.

So how does your blank sheet of paper look? How do you want it to look? How many people do you have working for you at your current company that are A-plus quality and irreplaceable? How many things should your sheet include that you have not thought about in regard to our rapidly changing world in 2014? Do you wish these things would go away so you can read more blogs like this and then do nothing—you know, the same ‘ol, same ‘ol? OK, then ball up your paper and throw it away. However, don’t call me as I am not interested in such a mindset. 

In contrast, I greatly want to talk to those businesses that are scribbling and making notes on this blank sheet of paper—the people that feel some emotion to do something from reading this blog post. You see such companies are willing to try but simply are not sure where to start. They think a firm like mine would not want to work with them due to their “dysfunction.” Not true. 

So, in closing, please remember this: Character in life is not simply getting better, but it is the courage to make the time, investment and take the first step. Character is in the trying. OK, the challenge is out there. Don’t be left with a blank sheet of paper and a “someday aisle” mindset. Let’s talk about your blank and now scribbled on piece of treat.

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