TLMI Leadership Execution
The Tag and Label Manufacturers Institute (TLMI) held its 2012 Converter Meeting in Phoenix, with the theme: “Executing Leadership: Know the Way, Show the Way.” Art Yerecic, chairman of TLMI and president of Yerecic Label, set a positive tone early by welcoming several new converter members, which included Allen-Bailey Tag & Label, one of the original founding members of TLMI. He also reported that 102 converter members had participated in the annual Ratio Study, the most ever, and that a total of 30 TLMI member facilities have obtained L.I.F.E. (environmental) certification, with 10 more currently working through the process. In a recent survey of the companies that have received L.I.F.E. certification, one of the greatest benefits stemming from the certification was “reduced operating costs.”
Greg Jackson, meeting chair and president of Columbine Label Company, brought in an impressive lineup of speakers. The four presentations touched on some common themes, while providing attendees any number of tangible, practical ideas to take back to their businesses.
Alan Beaulieu, senior analyst, economist, and principal with the Institute for Trend Research (ITR), started off the program by providing some economic forecasts for the coming years. He believes 2012 will be better than 2011 and that the general economic conditions will be pretty favorable through 2018, with a mild recession in late 2013 through 2014. The reasons for the optimism in the shorter term come from many of the current trends: liquidity is up; leading indicators are up; exports are up; employment is rising (at a normal pace); banks are lending; and there’s a stimulative monetary policy. In this environment, Beaulieu recommended that companies may want to invest in customer market research (know what your customers value); expand credit; and improve efficiency with investment in technology and software.
Out in time, Beaulieu says the U.S. debt burden will start to accelerate in 2015 stemming from entitlement programs and the increasing number of baby boomers entering the pension years. In the face of this, taxes will have to be raised, and he predicts a “nasty” recession in the 2018/2019 time frame. If that’s not bad enough, he says we’re on a track for a depression around 2030.
Howard Putman, former CEO of Southwest Airlines, followed with a session titled, “Leadership: Successful Strategies through Turbulence.” He stressed the value of a “super-ordinate” goal, one that drives significant change and improvement. For Southwest, it was to turn planes around at the gates in 10 minutes. He also pointed out that the very successful companies sell a vision or an experience, not simply a product or service.
Bob Prosen, president and CEO of the Prosen Center for Business Advancement, spoke on the topic, “How to Execute with Certainty.” He pointed out three common roadblocks to watch out for: planning in lieu of action; lack of accountability; and rationalizing inferior performance (focus on results, not activities).
Kraig Kramers, president and CEO of Corporate Partners, provided “CEO Tools for Every Manager.” He highlighted the value of listening to employees (W4C, walk the four corners), along with the use of trailing 12-month charts (T12M), which, he says, “always tell the truth.” Kramers emphasized that of eight things people need in their jobs, the most important are communication and recognition.
These points from the presentations represent the tip of the iceberg. TLMI members who attended these presentations were rewarded with a long list of items they could implement to improve their businesses.