“The Power of Reflecting” by Scott Burrows
As a Motivational Keynote Speaker, I have been invited to speak to different industries, associations and Fortune 500 companies around the world sharing my success strategies that revolve around Vision-Mindset-Grit. Three simple yet powerful words that, when put into action, can absolutely help you conquer your goals and push the limits of what is possible regardless of the challenges standing before you today.
Vision helps you set manageable but far-reaching goals. Mindset allows you to stay focused on those goals by making adjustments as circumstances, personnel and other elements change. Grit is the everyday determination and willingness to persevere and be resilient in your pursuit especially when all else beckons you to throw in the towel, or worse, stay in your paralyzed state, your comfort zone while maintaining the status quo.
During a keynote, I typically use my own life-changing story as the backdrop to bring the concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit to life. Lately, I’ve been encouraging my attendees to Reflect back on their own lives and experience self-awareness, to Reflect back on how far they have come, on the choices and decisions they have made, the challenges they have overcome, as well as the contributions they have made to their organization, other employees and members of their team. In doing so, I have found that Reflecting is a Mindset technique that can help you tap into your inner strength and be more productive while keeping your Vision clear and always in the forefront of your thinking.
Due to my physical handicap, I cannot ride a traditional bike; however, with new biking technologies and modifications I’m able to ride a hand-cycle, which is a 3-wheeled bike. It’s aerodynamic, sits a few inches off the ground and can now be seen by Paralympians using it to compete in distance runs at the Paralympics.
When I bike, I enjoy letting my mind wander. On one ride, I found myself Reflecting back on some of the choices and decisions I’ve made in my life. In doing so, the words leaders leading leaders kept speaking to me. My mind drifted back to 1983, when I was 18 years old and playing college football as a walk-on wide receiver at Florida State University under head coach Bobby Bowden. During that season, I noticed that Coach Bowden was a delegator who led from the bottom up as opposed to the traditional top down. He would encourage assistant coaches and frontline players like me to take charge and lead on and off the field and challenge each other, day after day, to perform to the best of our abilities. It proved effective and became a powerful life lesson that I teach and have incorporated into my everyday existence.
That reflection triggered another memory that I consider to be one of the most defining moments of my life. On November 3rd, 1984, while a sophomore in college, a bunch of us planned a weekend on those gorgeous white sand beaches along the Gulf of Mexico, at a place known as St. George’s Island. We arrived around 8:00 PM, set up our camp, built a fire, started drinking (as the drinking age in Florida was 18 back then) and telling story after story with our best teenage hormonal sense of humor.
As the hours passed, my friend Ed challenged me to a foot race. Being competitive, like you, I stood up to the challenge and bent down into my running stance waiting to hear “GO!” Imagine right now hearing that word echoing in the air and the first thing you can feel is the cool night air blowing through your hair, and with each step you can feel sand Gritting between your toes, and as you lean across that imaginary finish line you can even taste salt in the ocean breeze. That run turned out to be the best, but I could have never imagined that it would be my last.
After that run, we walked back to camp. Waiting for us was another friend who said, “Do the two of you mind taking a ride down the beach to find some more firewood to keep our bonfire burning throughout the night.” We said, “Sure, why not!” And it wasn’t long thereafter that it happened. On our way back, in a car loaded with wood debris on a dark, otherwise empty road, Ed lost control of the wheel, ran off the road and crashed into a mound of sand. The impact sent the car hurtling into the air before tumbling back to earth end over end. In that one moment, everything about my life was forever changed.
Ed survived with minor bumps and bruises. I, unfortunately, broke cervical 6 & 7 vertebrates in my neck and suffered a serious spinal cord injury that left me paralyzed from my chest down and diagnosed a quadriplegic. As I was fighting the fight of my life in hopes to turning an impossible dream of walking again into a reality, the oxygen levels in my red blood cell count unexpectedly plummeted and were dangerously low.
My doctor said the only way to get those levels back up to normal was to get a large quantity of pure oxygen into my weakened system over the next 24 hours. “There are two ways to do it: Hook you up to a machine to breathe for you, but it would require surgery—we would need to drill a hole into your throat; or, we could put a mask over your face, pump oxygen through it, and you could do it on your own. But there’s a catch.” (Have you ever noticed there is always a catch when it comes to someone else’s ideas?) He said, “You would need to stay awake for the next 24 hours and monitor every single breath to ensure you are taking in as much pure oxygen as possible. I’ll be back in 10 minutes. Let me know what you decide.”
Sometimes in life we have to make quick decisions, don’t we? But why can’t we make more decisions quickly? Why do we have to think and worry so much? This goes back to Mindset. What is Mindset? If you think about it, it’s really your own philosophy of life. It’s how you see things through your own experiences. Most importantly, it’s how you respond to a new unexpected challenge, your next setback or perhaps the changing landscape of your industry or organization—or your competitors and the products and services they offer.
For me, I came to realize that this doctor was giving me the opportunity to stand up to the challenge, metaphorically speaking. If I was not willing to muster up every last ounce of Grit I had in this paralyzed body, I would be risking even more. So, I’ll have you know that those 24 hours fighting for every breath turned out to the longest hours of my life. When I crossed that imaginary finish line I came to believe you cannot always choose the precise outcomes of the choices you make, but you can take ownership over whatever results occur. Then and there, I made the decision to take ownership over what had happened to me as opposed to blaming Ed, especially considering that we were both drinking.
It’s really no different than anyone—perhaps you—accepting accountability and responsibility versus playing the victim and blaming someone else, like someone on your team, your competition or the markets or the economy, when things don’t go as you planned. This was not only a turning point in my life, it became my defining moment. It gave me the resiliency to stand up and fight to walk again.
I had another experience on that bike ride, this one about Sue Lopez, an HR Director who hosted a conference for her company in Fargo, North Dakota that I presented to. Afterwards, she mentioned that she wished I would have talked a little more about my girlfriend, Kim. She said she couldn’t help but notice how I consider Kim one of the best speaking coaches I’ve ever had even though that is not actually her profession. “She’s very astute,” I said, “and I consider myself coachable.”
Kim has heard me speak a dozen times. When I’m through, we often have a conversation about the organization I spoke to and, when prompted, she offers me her feedback. One day, she asked me to email her a copy of my latest keynote so she could go through it while the presentation was still fresh in her mind.
A few days later, we reconvened. Armed with notes and questions, she asked about my family, my upbringing, my involvement in sports and more details about the auto accident I was involved in that changed my life 32 years ago. She also wanted to know more about Ed, my friend who was driving the car at the time. This conversation continued for hours—and days. It was not the most pleasant experience, truth be told, and I found myself emotional and vulnerable at times. The more open and vulnerable I became, the more heart-wrenching the questions grew.
“After I read your book, Vision-Mindset-Grit,” Kim said, “I thought you could go even deeper with your feelings. I love writers who share their deepest thoughts, the places where the ego is shed and exposure is the greatest, and then bring the reader back to the surface. That’s how I learn that I, too, can overcome any challenge confronting me by digging deep and seeking the truth. It’s scary, but effective.”
Kim also suggested that I change some sentence structure in order to appeal to more women. “As you know, both men and women communicate differently,” Kim said. “Right now, you’re sharing your story from a male point of view. That’s fine, but with a few subtle changes, you might reach even more people in the room.”
After some Reflection, I made the necessary adjustments—just like back when I was working with speaking coach Lou Heckler, an expert in presentation and organization skills. It took time to digest everything, and it took courage and Grit to deliver it confidently on stage. As I did, however, I was happy to see that I was connecting with the audience on a deeper level than before. People were more engaged, laughed harder and became emotional in new places.
My presentation style is direct. I engage in a very intimate and candid conversation with an audience for one hour, articulated with emotional storytelling that captivates everyone’s attention. I’m proud to say that, when I’m speaking, no one reaches for their mobile devices. As Kim says, “That’s powerful storytelling!”
The Power of Reflecting has been a very useful tool to help me understand where I’ve been, what I’ve learned and what I can improve upon. It has allowed me to tap into my inner strength during times of adversity and push the limits of what is possible in both my personal and professional life while putting my concepts of Vision, Mindset and Grit into action.
So, remember to take the time to Reflect!
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Choose Courage Over Comfort Writing this month’s blog was a surreal, yet validating experience. Here I was, writing a blog about courage, on the 17th anniversary of 9/11… Although 9/11 stands out to many Americans as the first major act of terrorism in the US, it will also be remembered as a time when Americans showed great courage. Many people worked together to help others, despite horrific conditions. Mayor Rudy Giuliani’s courageous leadership along with many brave acts of heroism occurred as fireman, policeman and passengers on planes saved lives and performed miracles. Difficult times are the catalyst for courage. Small acts of courage will change your life and the world. Since the beginning of time, many historical figures dared greatly and took risks to do what was right, even if it meant they were on their own or many were against them. Abraham Lincoln, Rosa Parks, Gandhi, Amelia Earhart, Martin Luther King, Jr., Mother Theresa and the list goes on… These courageous leaders lived and practiced their values, showing great integrity. They chose courage during the toughest times, and they saved and changed many lives for the better. Courage is what it takes to stand up and speak; Courage is also what it takes to sit down and listen – Winston Churchill Start by practicing courage in small ways. If you’re making a decision with little information, having an uncomfortable conversation or communicating when you don’t have the answers, these moments of truth and our actions teach others and create future courageous leaders. Have courage to trust your intuition. One of my mentors, Stephanie Zamora shares, “Fear means, “buckle up, it’s time to grow and expand!” Stephanie says, “Whatever you want to create or accomplish, fear will show up at exactly the time you need to be nudged forward. Don’t let it deter you from moving forward.” I’ve learned that in order to grow and expand, we have to get used to being uncomfortable and embrace the journey. There are times in my life (I call them shoulder taps) when I put myself “out there” to help or share a positive comment, sometimes with complete strangers. You know those times when our conscience seems to nudge or to speak to us? Following that intuition is life changing…for us and others. It takes courage to grow up and become who you really are – EE Cummings Being courageous with people and relationships means saying what needs to be said. …Even if it means it will make others uncomfortable. If comments come from a place of good intention, integrity and practicing our values, we are practicing soul care. It takes courage to speak up. It also takes courage to call out bullshit. Brene’ Brown refers to this in her newest book, Braving the Wilderness. When you’ve given your best, but behaviors and actions destroy your integrity or ignore personal boundaries, there’s also courage in walking away. And there is definitely courage in forgiveness. Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage – Anais Nin It takes courage to be vulnerable, but it’s powerful and life changing. Many people see emotions and vulnerability as a sign of weakness. This couldn’t be further from the truth. We are strongest in our weakness. Guilt and...read more
Starting today, IPMA members will be able to enjoy significant savings on premier suppliers, like Office Depot. Best part – it’s FREE! No fees, no obligations – just great business and personal saving benefits! Check out the list below. I was so excited to see this! Great deals for your in-plant and yourself- every day and for when you travel. Office Depot: up to 80% off office essentials YRC: 83% off tradeshow & LTL shipping AccountingDepartment.com: discounted online accounting services Sterling Talent Solutions: 54% off fast, reliable & complete background checks Avis/Budget: up to 35% off personal & business rentals nationwide Ticket Deals: up to 60% on tickets to theme parks, movies & more Reward Shopping: up to 30% cash back rebates at over 1,200 online stores 4imprint: 10% off promotional products RX Discount Card: up to 75% off prescriptions not covered by insurance FedEx: up to 54% off express and ground shipping ADP: up to 20% off payroll services Hotel Engine: up to 60% off 100,000+ hotels for business & personal travel USPAY: credit card processing rates less than 1% For more information, go to http://ipma.org/ipmas-new-member-saving-center/ now and get saving! Jan Portwood, Marketing & Social Media Manager IPMA Jan joined IPMA’s staff in 2018. She is a seasoned professional with technology, marketing, customer service and sales expertise. She is very familiar with the in-plant printing and mailing industries having worked for 10 years at Louisiana State University (LSU) Graphic Services as an Information Technology Professional where she was instrumental in modernizing the technology—both hardware and software. In addition, Jan is a professional, award-winning photographer who has had her work featured in exhibitions across the mid-Atlantic and Northeast, including New York City. ...read more
Retaining Top Talent for Organizational Success At the IPMA conference in Costa Mesa this June, I led a ‘Bring Your Own Problem’ round table with the government sector. We started the session with everyone introducing themselves and sharing one problem they have been experiencing recently. I was a little bit surprised that almost everyone there mentioned staffing as their number one concern. Many of us seem to have staff that is getting close to retirement and not a big talent pool to draw on for their replacement. So what’s the answer? One tactic we can use is to make sure we don’t lose people for the wrong reasons. How do we make sure we retain them as long as possible? Here are my top 5 strategies for retaining great employees: The number one reason people leave their jobs is because of their supervisor. Or to put it another way, people quit their bosses, not their jobs. So make sure your supervisors know the importance of getting to know their employees and building relationships, being fair and consistent across the board, and getting them proper training. Did you know that many employees decide whether or not they will stay with a job based on their experience in the first few months? It’s really important to have a solid on-boarding program for employees. You should develop a training program that ensures the employee has all the tools they need to be successful – the technical training as well as the cultural. Assigning a work buddy to help them integrate with other employees can help ensure success. Make sure you’re providing opportunities for growth for your top performers. The obvious way to provide opportunity is through promotions, but it can also be done through things like leadership development programs, attending conferences, and selecting them for task forces where they can use their creativity to implement new ideas. When it comes to your employees, who are the ones that consume most of your time? In many cases, it’s the employees who are not performing well. Just think about all the time that’s spent on disciplinary actions and coaching of problem employees. What would happen if we changed this around and spent more time on the employees that we want to stay? We do exit interviews when employees leave, right? So why not do ‘stay interviews’ to get them to stay? If we invest our time in them, it makes them feel more valued and they are prone to stay longer. When we do ‘stay interviews’ with employees, we ask them questions about their goals, what experiences they enjoy most at work and what they would like to see in the future. Having these discussions lets them know that we want them to stay around and hopefully delays their exit interview. Finally, one of the most important things we can do for our star employees is get rid of the dead weight in our organization. As hard as it might be, it’s not fair to the employees who come to work every day doing their best to have to work side by side with negativity and/or incompetence. You have to make sure they’ve been given every opportunity to be successful. But once you’ve done that and they have...read more
“Throw Down: Outsourcing vs In-Plant Debate” Keynote session at the IPMA 2018 Educational Conference held in Costa Mesa, CA June 10-14, 2018 debating the benefits of outsourcing vs in-plant facilities management between Howie Fenton & Barb Pellow moderated by Bob Neubauer, Editor of In-Plant Graphics magazine. Howie Fenton, Howie Fenton Consulting – During his 25+ year career, Howie Fenton has been an trusted advisor to in-plant community and a friend to the IPMA members. His focus is helping in-plants increase their value and competitiveness. He is a subject matter expert on the best practices used by leading in-plants to streamline operations. His knowledge of hardware, software, process improvement tools allows him to identify and repair inefficient workflow processes, and improve performance. His knowledge of the print industry is deeply rooted in theoretical, research as well as practical experience. He has taught at the Rochester Institute of Technology School of Printing as well as managed a quick printing company and the department of a commercial printing firm. Barb Pellow, Pellow & Partners – A digital printing and publishing pioneer and marketing expert, Barbara Pellow helps companies develop multi-media strategies that ride the information wave whether it is developing a strategy to launch a new product, building a strategic marketing plan or educating your sales force on how to deliver an effective value proposition. In her role at InfoTrends, she brings the knowledge and skills to help companies expand and grow business opportunity. Until starting her own consulting practice, Barb was the Group Director for InfoTrends Business Development Practice. Before joining InfoTrends, Pellow was the Chief Marketing Officer of Kodak’s Graphic Communications Group, where she was responsible for all marketing activities for the division, including business strategy, marketing communications, public relations, marketing intelligence and advertising strategy. Prior to joining Kodak, Pellow was the Gannett chair in integrated publishing sciences in Rochester Institute of Technology’s (RIT) School of Printing Management and Sciences (SPMS). As chair, Barb focused on the relationship between traditional paper-based media and emerging electronic new media. Previously, she served as Corporate Vice President of Marketing for IKON Office Solutions; Corporate Vice President of Marketing for Indigo; Vice President and General Manager for the Xerox Document Production Systems Group; and Director of the On Demand Printing and Publishing Service at CAP Ventures, an internationally known firm specializing in the digital document and print on demand industry She is a frequent speaker at industry events and a recognized author. She has been on the Board of Directors of publicly held companies including Presstek, TR Systems and the SFN Group. Barb can be reached via email at email@example.com and by telephone at 585 734 2228. Bob Neubauer, In-Plant Graphics – Editor and content director of In-plant Graphics, a Philadelphia-based magazine dedicated exclusively to the in-plant industry. He has served as editor since October 1994, following a three-year stint as managing editor of Printing Impressions. Before that he was a reporter with the Philadelphia Inquirer, and also a freelance travel writer for the Inquirer, the L.A. Times, the San Francisco Examiner and other papers. His book, “Two Wheels and a Map,” chronicles his solo bicycle ride down the East Coast, from Maine to Florida. Bob is very active in the U.S. in-plant industry. He attends all the major in-plant conferences, and has visited...read more
IPMA takes to the road starting September with our Road Shows— bringing mini-conferences to regions across the US. Education, networking, In-Plant tours, a mini-vendor fair, and more— the Road Show brings you the latest. If you missed IPMA’s annual conference in June or want to keep the momentum going after conference, want to explore IPMA’s benefits with more of your staff, or simply want to find out more about IPMA, the Road Show is for you. And, with the exclusion of our first-ever Government Symposium, they’re all one-day events designed to easily fit into your busy schedule! And this year is extra special as we launch our new Government Symposium! What will be a continuing annual event, this two and a half-day mini-conference kicks off the Road Show in Pennsylvania’s state capital, Harrisburg. Sessions are focused on government In-Plant issues, but these can translate to all types of In-Plants and everyone in the area is encouraged to attend. And what a venue— the State Museum of Pennsylvania!!! Did you ever think you’d attend a conference in the company of dinosaurs, mastodons, civil war artifacts, art, and archeological finds? How cool is this!!! You may ask, why attend? The Road Show provides a unique opportunity, not only for learning, but also to meet, discuss issues, gain insights, and learn about new technology experiences with your in-plant colleagues. It’s a time to build your network through relationships with vendors and peers. Plus, it provides a means for exposing your employees who typically cannot attend a conference the experience on a small scale and at a fraction of the price. And, even if you went to our annual conference, Road Shows provide new information and exposure to technologies that are ever-evolving. And probably the best benefit, it’s close to you! The mini-vendor fair brings new technology to you. You’ll have facetime with vendor representatives to answer your questions and learn what’s on the horizon. You’ll get to sample new products in an external environment from your shop. In addition, Road Shows provide a chance for you to introduce your colleagues who may be thinking about becoming IPMA members to experience IPMA benefits first hand. These may include other members of your In-Plant team that you’ve been considering for IPMA membership and/or have expressed interest to you, as well as your associates in other In-Plants in your area. It’s also a time to bring your supervisor to educate them about In-Plants in general, as well as IPMA. With the continual pressure of outsourcing, exposing supervisors to other In-Plants, new technology, and possible new services, you can help keep your In-Plant out of the outsourcing crosshairs and maybe even pave the way for expansion. So, check out our lineup and hop on the Road Show. For more information and to register, visit http://ipma.org/ipma-road-show/. Hope to see you there!!! Jan Portwood, Marketing & Social Media Manager IPMA Jan joined IPMA’s staff in 2018. She is a seasoned professional with technology, marketing, customer service and sales expertise. She is very familiar with the in-plant printing and mailing industries having worked for 10 years at Louisiana State University (LSU) Graphic Services as an Information Technology Professional where she was instrumental in modernizing the technology—both hardware and software. She is well versed in technology, social media marketing,...read more
Make a Positive Difference One day a man was walking along the beach, when he noticed a boy hurriedly picking up and gently throwing things into the ocean. Approaching the boy, he asked, “Young man, what are you doing?” The boy replied, “Throwing starfish back into the ocean. The surf is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them back, they’ll die.” The man laughed to himself and said, “Don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and hundreds of starfish? You can’t make any difference!” After listening politely, the boy bent down, picked up another starfish, and threw it into the surf. Then, smiling at the man, he said, “I made a difference to that one.” -Story by Loren Eiseley Do something to make a difference in someone’s life. Sometimes we think we are too insignificant to make a difference. This couldn’t be further from the truth. The Dalai Lama said, “If you think you are too small to make a difference, try sleeping with a mosquito”. It doesn’t have to be something huge and time-consuming. It can be eye contact, a smile, a compliment, or a handwritten note. These little things make people feel like they matter. You can change a small part of someone’s world. Most times, we just need to care and be there, when it matters most. Be positive; it creates a ripple effect in the world. Believe it or not, your positive attitude can change others around you. Sometimes in big ways, that you might never fully realize. Drew Dudley, speaker for Ted Talk’s, Everyday Leadership, refers to small random acts of kindness as “lollipop moments”. Hear Drew share his humorous example of the ripple effect is this short video. https://youtu.be/JRunpYSYLC0 Big problem? Think small. Martin Luther King Jr. said, “If I cannot do great things, I can do small things in a great way”. Maybe we think certain problems in the world are too overwhelming, like tackling world hunger. In this case, break this down into a smaller pieces, so we can easily get involved to make a difference. Make a donation to a world hunger organization, donate food or volunteer to serve meals at a local homeless shelter. These small actions are helping to tackle world hunger. Plus we receive the added bonus of knowing we’re contributing to something good in the world. We rise by lifting others. Positive service with good intentions will return positive karma in your own life. What are you passionate about? What small things can you start doing to make a difference in someone’s life today? Shana Farrell Shana Farrell has been with Fox Valley Technical College, Wisconsin for more than 21 years in numerous leadership positions including Business and Industry Services, Printing Services, Distance Learning, Adjunct Instructor for FVTC and Silver Lake College, and is currently a Project Manager within the Center for Instructional Excellence. For many years, Shana was actively involved as an IPMA member in her role as Manager of Printing Services; FVTC continues its membership today. Her professional experience includes management development, training coordination, marketing, advertising, fundraising, event coordination and sales. Shana holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Professional Communication from Alverno College, Milwaukee and a Master of Science Degree in Management and Organizational Behavior from...read more
IPMA 2019 “Be a Front Runner” Educational Conference June 2-6, 2019 The Galt House Hotel Louisville, KY The Largest In-Plant Event for all Sectors of the In-Plant Industry! IPMA invites you to the 2019 Annual Conference for in-plant print and mail professionals June 2-6, 2019 in Louisville, KY Industry Keynotes Sessions from top In-Plant Professional Educational tracks for specific industry segments Vendor Fair Awards IPMA’s certification Program Networking In-Plant Shop Tour Fun Run/Walk and MORE! Hotel: Who attends? Those attending are typically the primary managers of their in-house printing and mailing operations. They are responsible for making decisions regarding the selection of print/mail equipment, print supplies and software for their parent organizations. Past attendees have indicated that IPMA’s annual conference is often the only annual conference that they attend. They rely heavily on the information gathered at our event to make their year-long purchasing decisions. As the only professional association exclusively for all segments of in-plant printers and mailers, IPMA has over 600 members nationwide. IPMA members manage in-house operations ranging in size from over 100 employees to smaller shops with two to three people. While some of our members manage just one centralized print/copy/mail center, many manage facilities in several locations. Nearly 30% of our membership attends IPMA’s national...read more
BOYS TOWN BEACON (IPMA received permission to post) Print Shop Manager Celebrates 20 Years as Certified Graphic Communications Manager 4/17/2018 Doug Larsen has always had a passion for paper. With a keen attention for detail, he studies the smallest details of envelope textures, can decipher between multiple fonts and typefaces, and can tell you the weight of a postcard just by holding it in his hands. “I believe in the power of printed communication,” said Larsen, who has managed Boys Town’s Print Shop for 23 years and counting. “Since the early cave drawings, people have been able to communicate ideas, thoughts and concepts through graphics.” Larsen began his Boys Town career in 1995 and three years later, in 1998, he was encouraged by his boss at the time to earn his certification as a Graphic Communications Manager from the In-Plant Printing and Mailing Association (IPMA). After hours of studying and a four-hour test, Larsen officially became a Certified Graphic Communications Manager (CGCM). Since 1998, Larsen has continually kept up his certification by recertifying every five years. Recertification as a CGCM can include a mixture of educational programs and courses, membership in a professional association devoted to the fields of management or graphic communication, attendance at the IPMA annual conference, published articles, exam proctoring, voluntary leadership, and/or professional speeches and instruction. Now in his 20th year as a CGCM, Larsen is only one of 400 men and women in the corporate publishing profession to hold this certification. “By taking the CGCM test, I have met plenty of very experienced graphic communication managers and learned lots of tips and tricks of the trade from them,” said Larsen. “But, it was the concentrated study of books and articles in areas of printing and management that I wouldn’t have ordinarily delved into without going through the certification process.” In a fast-paced and rapidly changing industry, no day is ever the same at the Boys Town Print Shop, and as a CGCM, Larsen is able to solve problems quickly and provide the best customer service to his clientele. “My title has been Print Shop Manager for 23 years, but the job has evolved from solving printing press problems to solving digital publishing problems,” said Larsen. “We have great customers who are both reasonable and intelligent.” While Larsen enjoys working with his customers, being able to see the work Boys Town does firsthand is something he enjoys witnessing in his line of work. “I know of no other place that perpetually provides healing and hope for children and families. I have seen it firsthand through the students that have worked here in the Print Shop. Their growth in their social skills is visible during their stay at Boys Town. I think it is fun to be part of the ‘miracle-making’ here at Boys Town.” Having been in this industry for more than 20 years, Larsen also knows that without teamwork and collaboration, no work in the Print Shop would be able to get done right or efficiently. “I would like to send praise to the Boys Town Print Shop staff who I work with daily, to our customers and to other who support the Print Shop with outstanding equipment, software and a pioneering spirit when we attempt something new.” (Posted 6/22/18 with permission of the...read more
Of the three work sessions I attended last Tuesday at the National Postal Forum in San Antonio, TX, How to Outsource Print and Mail Operations drew the most attendees. Tina Dickens, Agency Mail Manager and Scott Mastie from Ricoh drew approximately 45 folks. When asked how many were outsourcing part or all of their print and or mail operations, nearly all the attendees raised their hands. Of those who didn’t raise their hand and hadn’t outsourced, most indicated they were considering the option. This response was unexpected. I was expecting the majority to indicate they were considering the option and wondered if they were already outsourcing, why attend a “how to” session? While not emphasized, I found it refreshing to hear Scott caution the audience they should think hard about outsourcing if they are just “getting rid of a problem or trying to save money”. Scott made it clear that any email address ending in .com is a money-making organization. A video highlighting the Jackson 5 singing “ABC” suggested outsourcing is an easy option (as 1, 2, 3) for decision makers. Contract management, in many cases, is as easy as putting a contract in place. However, neither presenter emphasized the need for the vendor relationship to be managed. They did say it is important to have someone in the organization with mail expertise. They referred to this person as the mailing SME, Subject Matter Expert. Presumably, it is your mail expert who can hold vendors accountable using Key Performance Indicators included in your contact. The suggestion that outsourcing can preserve or even enhance the relationship between your organization and the USPS was lost on me. As a mailer, you are a customer of the USPS. You can join the local PCC chapter to network and strengthen relationships but you don’t need to outsource your services to get better service from the USPS. Outsourcing can be, but isn’t always, a good option. To use the presenter’s words, “If you don’t know what you don’t know,” you won’t know any more if you don’t have a SME. This is an excellent contract to hold the vendor accountable. I might have hoped that the presenters suggested independent consultants advise clients on a course of action rather than suggesting that a vendor has all the answers. A consultant, without bias, would uncover if you could save money. Outsourcing or improvements can be made, no matter the size of your service group. For those moving forward with outsourcing, Ms. Dickens suggested the U.S. Government Publishing Office, GPO, can help write and select a vendor for mailing services. One final note, despite the billing in the program guide, neither presenter discussed outsourcing print. Richard Beto, Director – The University of Texas at Austin Richard Beto is Director of Document Solutions for The University of Texas at Austin. He has held his position since May, 2004. He currently manages more than $9 million operating budget and works with 50 employees while providing offset and digital printing, as well as mail services to UT and Texas state agencies. Prior to arriving in Austin, he had served his alma mater, West Virginia University, for 24 years. His last role there was Director of Printing Services. He holds a BS degree in Journalism and Masters Degree in Public Administration....read more
There is an old Cherokee legend about a grandfather teaching his grandson an important life lesson. The grandfather explains to the young boy that we all have a battle going on inside of us. He said, “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ that live inside us all. The black wolf is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. The white wolf is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.” The grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his grandfather: “Which wolf wins?” The old Cherokee replied simply, “The one you feed.” According to author, speaker and entrepreneur Mike Dooley, Thoughts become things. Your mind can be your friend or your worst enemy. Believe it or not, thoughts from our past have formed who we’ve become and our current life circumstances. We are always consciously or subconsciously thinking about something to the tune of 60,000 thoughts a day. The problem is that we usually think more about the things we don’t want than the things we do want. According to the law of attraction, we get what we think about most. Because you’re creating the future now, only the present is important. By choosing a happy and positive state of mind right now, you’re creating a happy and positive future. You can attract whatever you want in your life: happiness, wealth, health, love and great relationships. This doesn’t mean that it’s not without effort on our part, but it does mean that positive thoughts and focus along with action steps play a big part in the achievement of our goals and dreams. The Power of Positive Thinking, is a timeless book by Norman Vincent Peale that explores key traits for maximum positivity. First and foremost, believe in yourself and in everything you do. Realize how powerful you are. If you know your purpose, and why you’re here, you’ll find the determination to fulfill that purpose. Establish personal goals, and strategies to achieve them, and revisit them on a regular basis. Ultimately, it’s our daily habits and choices that determine the success of our goals. Realize that worrying is a negative waste of time that robs us of our peace in the present moment. Look for ways to improve your personal and professional relationships. Take command of circumstances within your control. Practice self-compassion. Learn to let go of negativity. Be kind to yourself and forgive yourself for past and present choices and mistakes. Have an attitude of gratitude. Gratitude shifts your mindset in a positive direction and creates solutions by taking you out of problem and complaining mode into a better outcome mindset. Gratitude is contagious – we’re all drawn to positive energy. Gratitude starts with each of one of us. Create a daily habit of starting and ending your days in a grateful way by keeping a journal or using an app to remind yourself on a daily basis of the many small and positive things that are easily overlooked throughout our days. Collectively, we can be the change that makes a positive impact in our world. When a negative thought enters your mind, the first step is to be aware of...read more