Reflective Goal Setting For Printers in the New Year

If you were given a magic formula for reducing stress and accelerating future success, would you use it?

Many people set future business goals based on something they “wish” would happen instead of giving thought to what caused tension or breakthrough in previous years. As you map a fresh course in the new year, new research from the Harvard Business School shows that taking time to reflect is essential.

Productivity Hack For Printers: How Reflection Aids Performance

In Learning by Thinking: How Reflection Aids Performance, working paper authors Francesca Gino and Gary Pasino demonstrate how reviewing past performance helps people operate more effectively in the future.

Through a series of experiments, researchers tested the theory that work outputs would improve when participants added reflective processing to their workflow. One study, based at a tech support call center, divided workers into three groups: a control group, a reflection group, and a reflection plus sharing group.

As groups were trained on a specific customer account, each received the same technical training but with a few key differences. While control group employees worked a standard full day, in the reflection group, workers spent the last 15 minutes of each day writing and reflecting on the lessons they learned that day. Workers in the sharing group did the same but spent an additional five minutes explaining these notes to a co-worker.

Over the course of one month, workers in both the reflection and sharing cohorts performed significantly better than those in the control group. On average, the reflection group increased its performance on the final training test by 22.8 percent compared to the control group, and the sharing group performed 25 percent better than the control group. This was in spite of the fact that the control group had been working 15 minutes longer per day than the other two groups!

Francesca Gino hopes this research will provide food for thought to managers and employees alike:

“Now more than ever, we seem to be living lives where we’re busy and overworked, and our research shows that if we’d take some time out for reflection, we might be better off,” said Gino. “I don’t see a lot of organizations that actually encourage employees to reflect—or give them time to do it. [But] when we stop, reflect, and think about learning, we feel a greater sense of self-efficacy. We’re more motivated, and we perform better afterward.”

Print-Specific Areas for Reflection and Review

If this principle is true for tech support, then reflection and review are also a powerful tool for visionary leadership!

Are you ready to draft a blueprint for success? Before outlining new sales goals, take time to reflect on the past year.

Big-Picture Reflection Questions

As you begin, take time to ponder big-picture questions like these:

  • What are we grateful for?
  • What brought joy, relieved stress, or accelerated momentum in our printing business?
  • What went well or turned out better than expected?
  • What are our most popular products and services?
  • Are there products or services people have been inquiring about that we don’t offer? Is there something new we should consider adding? If so, what next steps or research would be involved before making a change?

Productivity Reflection Questions

Next, highlight questions relating to pain points and productivity. Ask yourself:

  • What are the biggest time wasters in our print shop?
  • What is the most prominent crack in our process?
  • Do our customers get the service and convenience they’re expecting?
  • How are our customers ordering? Is this how we want to accept orders? Can we increase ordering efficiency?
  • What isn’t working? If I identified three key pain points, what would they be?
  • Are there any solutions we could attach to these pain points? What kind of time, talent, or financial investment might this require?

Putting Boots on the Ground with New Goals and Strategies

Finally, turn reflection into action as you cast vision for a new season.

If this seems like a daunting task, it may be helpful to consider a goal-setting framework. Here at Marketing Ideas For Printers, we follow the Entrepreneurial Operating System (EOS). This system is based on helping businesses accomplish their goals by focusing on these three things:

  • Vision: getting everyone on the same page
  • Traction: implementing the policies, procedures, and accountability to execute that vision, and
  • Health: working towards the health of the leadership team to effectively lead others towards the goal.

One of the best things about the EOS strategy is it allows you to break up your vision into smaller, attainable goals. Goals are divided into 90-day, quarter chunks called rocks and enable everyone to work together towards the overall goals of the company.

3 Simple Ways to Jumpstart New Momentum

Interested in goal-setting collaboration for your print business? Here are three print-related tools you may find helpful:

  1. Check out this 25-minute webinar: 10 Resolutions to Help You Sell More Printing.
  2. For a fresh perspective on your website, consider our free SEO-Discovery Meeting.
  3. Schedule a complimentary “Proven Process” meeting with our team to refresh vision or set new goals.

Because we love to see printers succeed, our aim is to help you set efficient, effective goals that are specific, strategic, and attainable. That WILL take some creative energy, but all change requires sacrifice.

As the motivational speaker Ed Foreman says: “If we always do what we’ve always done, then we’re going to get what we’ve always got.”

Happy New Year, friends! We look forward to working with you soon.