How Much Is Your Organization’s Structure….Costing You….And Your Future….OR…..”..We Don’t Know What We Don’t Know…”

Published Articles
Published in

American Printer

on Thursday, Oct. 26, 2017

By Sid Chadwick, Chadwick Consulting, Inc.

“There is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, that to take the lead in the introduction of a new order to things.”……………...Niccolo Machiavelli


Growth 1Too many organizations in our industry --- at this moment --- are straining to grow --- without proper support, and willingness to change how they are structured.

Strains, cracks….and breaks --- are showing-up --- at worst possible moments.

At a Wide-Format Peer Group Organizational Meeting, our Agenda guided us to discuss a series of generally common conditions --- that tend to be expensive --- in the short term, in the long term --- or both:

  • Every attending organization --- almost no exceptions --- is making better margins in Wide Format --- than any other production or service area of their company. (All attendees had other print-related revenue streams). Wide Format revenue growth --- is up, year over year --- and is expected to continue growing --- over 10%.
  • There was no one --- in position as a “technical understudy” --- to the one onsite technical Wide Format Production Expert --- for each organization. (There were few written SOP’s --- some organizations had “no SOP’s” -- in Wide Format.)
  • Most “technical production experts” were obtained from another organization --- and not “home-grown”.
  • Each organization was basically “responding to inquiries --- and filling orders” --- mostly from Referrals. There generally was no one out “proactively developing targeted Wide-Format customers” --- full-time.
  • Traditional, successful offset Sales Reps --- might bump into a Wide-Format order, but they generally were not pursuing Wide Format customers, or Wide Format customer markets. They also were generally not introducing their Wide Format capabilities --- to their offset customers. Why? Lack of education and training, and lack of confidence. Understandably --- it follows that they were not willing to risk losing a good offset customer --- because of a potentially screwed-up Wide-Format project --- due to their lack of experience and training.
  • No one wanted to pursue --- vehicle wraps. Too few “exact repeats” --- and too much risk in time required - to install.
  • “Target customer markets” were briefly introduced --- and reviewed --- that numbered well over 40…!
  • Only one attending organization was using “public databases” --- to identify target customers --- similar to the “ideal customers” --- they were already serving.
  • No one, regardless of how strong their Wide Format customer base, was using Wide Format --- as the “lead” --- for developing additional offset customer business --- as a strategy.
  • Several attendees were willing to confess, “From these discussions, we’re obviously leaving ‘a lot of money on-the-table’.”

Why do these conditions exist? What is the probability of these unseen, risk-laden conditions --- improving…?

My observation is that owners, company presidents --- are often in a “Comfort Zone” of:

(a) letting business “roll forward on its own momentum” (“we’re making money, so we must be doing something right”…), and

(b) not having to change their current “method of managing”.


“Management styles” tend to have patterns that “fit” a certain set of conditions. Those “management styles” --- those ways of “seeing your organization and business conditions” --- tend to not change.

Modest-sized organizations tend to stay in that condition  --- for lack of planning, lack of real delegation, lack of accountability, and lack of development of subordinates --- which takes time, thoughtful planning, and patience.

That’s partly why I believe organizations send their best --- to our intense, forward-looking --- Peer Groups.

In our Peer Group Meetings, we’re condensing down experiences, new understandings, and support --- from a range of ambitious and successful professionals --- who support each other’s development.

“If you don’t make a total commitment to whatever you’re doing, then you start looking to bail out the first time the boat starts leaking. It’s tough enough getting that boat to shore with everybody rowing, let alone when a guy stands up and starts putting his jacket on.”………….Lou Holtz