First, a staff of 75 run the plant that prints Montreal’s La Presse. All of them know how to do every job required to get the paper out every morning. What’s more, there are no managers in the conventional sense; the workforce is self-managed. Empowering our people with such responsibility and flexibility gives us more options on how to run the operation.
Second, we have internal, company-wide training programs. The Three Pillars course, which every one of our 14,500 employees go through, teaches them to think like an entrepreneur, contribute their ideas and take responsibility for the processes they’re a part of. And, our “Mission: Leadership” program teaches our 1,500 top managers coaching and listening skills to get the best results from their direct reports, their peers and themselves.
PI: What advice can you give other printing companies on how to survive, and thrive, in the future?
DESJARDINS: Obviously being flexible is not going to diminish in importance. But beyond that, a company is like a person. Every person has to figure out what he or she does best, put a personal twist on it that differentiates them from the rest, and then pursue it as far as possible. It’s how you differentiate yourself that lets you rise above the competition.
The companies that are merely average in our industry are subject to extreme pricing pressure. To rise above that and thrive in the future, a printing company will have to pick one or more specific niches and try to become the expert in them, the go-to company. That’s what we work on every day—and it’s definitely a work in progress. PI