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How Do You Stop Squids from Killing You and Your Business?

How Do You Stop Squids from Killing You and Your Business?

Practical Application Time; are there ways to actually prevent squids from happening?

Yes.

We are now at the point of why I wrote this book/post for you. If watching for squids and recording squids is all about the past, then what’s the point? If watching for squids and recording squids is just about the past, then there is no point in doing this. It’s just too painful and it’s just not helpful.

No.

We record and learn from squids because we care about the future. I suspect you knew this all along…or at least you were patient enough to hang in there with me all this time, because there would be a payoff.

And the payoff is this; when you develop a culture of looking for and learning from your mistakes, you begin to develop tricks and tactics to help you NOT make that next SQUID.

Just yesterday, at the print shop, we were discussing a squid. A new customer (RED FLAG) had submitted a business card file (RED FLAG) that had been designed by his wife (RED FLAG) for printing. We had printed it even though there were no cut/crop marks on the file (RED FLAG). So, the customer wasn’t happy (Surprise!) with the finished pieces and we are going to reprint them.

So, we had four red flags coming into the first printing of these cards…what would we do differently in fixing the problem? (To a Southerner, “fixing” is what we do to every problem.) The client’s wife did not have the expertise to fix the file, so we are going to make sure the file is right with the cut marks and crop marks before we print it this time. Why didn’t we do this “fixing” the first time.

Good question.

Our past experiences this many red flags before we actually produced the piece should have helped us head off this squid before it bit us. But we forged through, right through those four red flags that should have given us some pause…and should have caused us to slow down and make the necessary changes BEFORE we printed.

Humility will help you admit that you make mistakes. Click To Tweet

By the way, after working in the print/communications industry for over 35 years, I’ve found that the easiest way to actually proofread anything is AFTER it’s printed. It’s easier, but it’s more expensive. It’s easier, but it takes a lot longer to fix it.

Tenacity helps you keep documenting your mistakes. Click To Tweet

You’ve heard of “measure twice; cut once.” For print professionals, it’s “proof twice; print once.” Oh…and it’s always better if the person proofing is not the person who actually did the original composing or typing. A fresh set of eyes on the copy is always a good thing!

Humility will help you admit that you make mistakes.

Tenacity helps you keep documenting your mistakes.

Wisdom teaches you how to avoid making the same mistake over and over.

Wisdom teaches you how to avoid making the same mistake over and over. Click To Tweet

Let’s hear it for humility, tenacity and wisdom. This is how you stop squids from killing you.

My Daily Commitment/Routine

My Daily Commitment/Routine

There are at least six things that I do every day:

  1. I read one chapter in Proverbs every day. Today is January 22, so this morning, before I read anything else, I read Proverb 22. Why do I do this? Because I want Wisdom to be my sister and I want Insight to be my close relative. And because there are 31 chapters in Proverbs, I will read all the Proverbs every month.
  1. I read five chapters in Psalms every day. Since today is the 22nd of the month, I take 22 x 5 = 110. So I read Psalm 110-114 this morning. Why read the Psalms every day? Because I need it…desperately. As I observe more white and gray north of my face…I find that I need emotional advice from believers who travelled these same painful trails.
  1. Scripture Focus. I read the chapter and references that form the basis of my next upcoming sermon. There is absolutely NO better way to prepare for the next Sunday message than this. Over and over…saturating my heart and mind in the text that will serve as both the base and launching point of that next message from the Lord to His people. I am now 3,484 days into consecutive Bible reading now…at least 4 chapters a day; several years I read the Bible through each year; now I’m reading a very specific, targeted menu (see items 1 and 2 above).
  1. I’m pretty weak here, but I do pray every day. Not as long as I should, and not as specific as I should, but I do pray. I pray for those who have asked for prayer; I pray for those the Lord has laid on my heart. Some of you know that you’re on my prayer list!
  1. I have now journaled 1,133 days in a row. That’s over three consecutive years now. This discipline now comes relatively easy to me, but I was walking barefoot on wicked thorns for the first year or so. I do enjoy typing/writing on my MacBook Pro, but there is simply no greater satisfaction for me than picking up my beautiful blue fountain pen and feeling the ink flow out of my pen as my thoughts flow out of my head. More on this later.
  1. Ok, this is the new one. And I don’t think I will commit to writing 7 days a week. I will commit to writing five days a week. *And now you know what I put that asterisk up there in the main headline. Everything else on this list is an everyday commitment; writing is a five day a week commitment.

Here’s my menu of writing topics/categories:

  1. Personal
  2. Spiritual
  3. Communication/Conflict
  4. Design
  5. Marketing
  6. Business Practices
  7. Manufacturing
  8. Printing
  9. Church Planting
  10. Travel
  11. Something I learned reading
  12. Leadership
  13. Making Mistakes (Squids)
  14. Something I learned listening
  15. Signs and Sign-making
  16. Relationships

*I reserve the right to add to or subtract from this list; but if I can’t find something to write from on this list, then I’ve been sleeping through my day. I would enjoy hearing/reading your feedback on my list. Have I left something out?

Squid Humility

Squid Humility

There was a time when I would have NEVER told you what I’m about to tell you.

Even now, as I warm up to the subject just a bit, the butterflies have decided to visit my middle regions. Confession time; I don’t like admitting I make mistakes.

But after almost 60 years on this planet, I’m learning to admit that I make mistakes; lots of them. But it still makes me uneasy to say this publicly. I’m a proud man; way too proud.

It’s fairly easy to admit that I made mistakes in a theoretical sense; “hey, we all make mistakes right? Ha Ha.” Next subject, please! But to admit to a particular mistake…to do that, you have to leave the theoretical and enter the world of cold hard reality. And that’s personal, and painful.

Humility is the precursor to gaining wisdom. If you think you know it all, why take the time to learn anything else? If you never make mistakes, there’s no need to learn from them, right? But if you will humble yourself, admit you don’t have it all together, recognize you do need to learn, embrace the reality that you do mistakes, a whole new world of opportunity opens up to you.

Last year, in one of our very infrequent ice/snow storms, I fell. I’m not sure how I fell. I had both feet firmly on the slick ice pack by my car. I had even reached out to the car to establish another touch point. Three points of contact with the ground and my car should have been enough to keep me from falling, but it didn’t. I went down hard and hurt my shoulder. Just thinking about it today makes my shoulder shrug in remembrance. Painful.

I said I didn’t know how I fell, but I guess I really do know. My feet were on a very slick ice pack. The mistake I made? Don’t walk on dangerous ground. Find a way around that “fall just waiting to happen patch” or change the terrain. Find a way.

So when this year’s infrequent ice/snow storm hit us, I changed my routine ever so slightly. I made sure I didn’t step out on slick ice packs. Last year, I was thinking, “I got this…I even have three points of contact!” And then I fell. This year, I’m thinking, “see the danger and avoid it.” And I didn’t fall.

Are you learning from your mistakes? I’m trying to.

Kevin Wax
General Manager, Wax Family Printing, LLC
Founder, Wax Eloquent
Pastor, Blackman Baptist Church
Cell 615-429-7890

Communication Is Not the Problem

Communication Is Not the Problem

What did you say?

Whenever there seems to be a lack of communication around the office, it might just be a symptom of something else. When people start complaining about no communication, more often something has gone wrong, or people feel that they didn’t have enough information to be successful. “No one said anything.”

The failure to have everyone on the same wavelength is not a true communication issue, but a lack of proper systems or operating procedures. When employees are unclear in their job descriptions or on what they can and cannot do, things slip through the cracks and “communication” gets the blame.

Don’t just call a meeting!

“Let’s all get on the same page” is a common reaction to misunderstanding the problem. If this sounds like what’s happening in your business, don’t send more emails and calendar invites. Instead, take a look at your operating procedures and employee onboarding processes. You may find the missing link right there. Having clear procedures and good employee training about those procedures goes a long way to preventing people from feeling like they’re not getting the information they need to make decisions. It also helps ensure that when steps are missed, the rest of the team can recognize the error before it gets out of control.

If it’s time to improve your employee training manuals, our team of experts can help you design, write and then publish exactly what your team needs. Call us at (615) 893-4290 or email info@waxfamilyprinting.com.

Customer Care: Back to Basics

Customer Care: Back to Basics

A company will have difficulty selling even the greatest product in the world if their customer
service is lacking. How people feel they are being treated makes all the difference.

If you are actively seeking to engage with your customers, there are three items that must be included in your customer-service training:

Personalization |

People remember how you make them feel and are more likely to connect with companies who see them as individuals. Your efforts to personalize their experience will go a long way towards showing your clients that they are unique and appreciated.

Remember Their Name |

If you deal with customers on an individual basis, be sure to remember and use their names. When you see them outside your business, knowing their name is a great way to connect.

Smile | This may seem like a given, but it is so incredibly important to smile. The more your employees smile, the more your customers will smile. Contact Wax Family Printing to see how our personalized service can make a difference for you. Call us at (615) 893-4290 or email info@waxfamilyprinting.com.

Fresh Faces

Fresh Faces

Being the “new kid” is always hard, even when you’re a grown-up. When your company makes a new hire, there are a few things you can do to make your new

employee feel welcome and integrate faster into the company culture.

It’s the Little Things

You’ve heard the phrase “Don’t sweat the small stuff,” but in this case, it actually is the small things that need your attention. Where’s the coffeemaker and what’s the coffee protocol? How do you use the phone system? Where are the quick lunch locations closest to you? These kinds of things are more helpful than you think to make a new employee feel completely acclimated to their new space.

Show, Don’t Tell

There is already so much to learn when a new face joins the team. Running down a list of things to know is often too much information in the abstract. When you physically/visually show them what you’re talking about, they can make the kind of connection in their brains that works for the way they think and remember.

The Buddy System

Giving a new employee a work buddy or partner will allow them to feel comfortable asking the “stupid” questions to someone other than the boss. Nobody wants to look like an idiot for asking things like “where do I find a pen?”

Shower Them with Swag

Branded gear is the best welcome gift for new employees. Whatever you can fit in the budget to give to a new team member is a must. Even if it is just a pen, the branded gear is like being given ownership.

Call us at (615) 893-4290 or email info@waxfamilyprinting.com for more information.