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In 2022, Resign from Your Least Important Roles

It’s one of 7 handy tips for sign pros as we look toward a new year.

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MANAGEMENT Serve up a Sandwich

1 You may have already heard of the concept of giving “sandwich” criticisms to employees. (Short version: Say something nice, make your criticism, end with something nice.) One other thing to watch out for, according to T.J. Schier, author of Send Flowers to the Living, is using the word “but” as part of the sandwich. That one small word can ruin the taste of the whole sandwich. Instead, use “and,” as in the following example: “Jane, normally you are my best employee, and it’s critical you are here on time so you can do that awesome job of client service. Now get out there and make it happen.”

MANAGEMENT Pick a Forward Indicator

2 Setting goals for 2022? Don’t just pluck a dollar figure out of the air and call it your target. Instead, pick a “forward indicator.” Examples of forward indicators could be the number of add-on sales your staff makes, the number of five-star recommendations you have on Google, the amount of money you spend on advertising — anything that past experience shows will lead to increased revenue.

MANAGEMENT Being Specific is Terrific

3 Automotive giant Chrysler has found the best creative results are not produced by people with unlimited range to innovate. Instead, the company’s most successful projects come when boundaries are strictly defined. So, be specific in the goals you set for the coming year: “I want to replace our three lowest-performing sign products or services by June 1” or “I want a new customer-service initiative that will increase our feedback ratings by 50% with an expense of less than 50 cents per customer.”

STAFF Play Luncheon Roulette

4 If you have a fairly large staff that doesn’t always seem to communicate as well as it could, try “lunch roulette” — a game developed by pharmaceuticals manufacturer Boehringer Ingelheim. Participants select a date — or dates — when they are free for lunch, then they click a “Match Me” button, and a lunch date and calendar reminder are emailed to their mailbox (numbers in a hat would work just as well). After that, all they need to do is show up with an open mind. “Both can learn something from the other,” wrote Sylvia Ann Hewlett, who reported on the idea in Harvard Business Review. “Lunch roulette not only produces unexpected pairings but often sparks unexpected conversations,” she wrote.

ADVERTISING Radio Is a Sign Salvation

5 “Radio has been huge for us,” wrote Brain Squad survey respondent Christopher Meinsen of Perspective1 in Tampa, FL. “We saw a 2,000% increase in traffic to tampasigninstall.com after only spending $1,000 on 20 spots on our local FM talk station.”

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PRODUCTIVITY Next Year, Aim Low

6 For 2022, put a twist on your usual New Year’s resolution. In the coming year, instead of trying to take on a new behavior, give up a few old ones. To start, list your 10 most important roles in life. Next, rank them. Finally, resign from at least the bottom two. So, quit your book group; stop struggling to make dates with that hard-to-pin-down friend; and accept, at long last, that you’ll never be a great cook. “Not because those things are bad,” said columnist for The Guardian Oliver Burkeman, but “because it’s the only way to do other things well.”

PRODUCTION Craft Small-Batch Decals

7 Print your cut decals in small batches so the cut registrations align better, suggested Chad Lawson from Sign Pro of Skagit Valley (Mount Vernon, WA), in our most recent Brain Squad survey. Printing in small batches is a slower process, Lawson admitted, but the benefit is that his shop loses very little product.

STINKING THINKING Test It, Scrutinize It

8 The human mind’s genius for imagining terrible outcomes allowed our ancestors to survive. But in modern life, those 1 million negative thoughts our minds generate every day just aren’t useful. As opposed to being plunged into an anxious funk every time your brain decides something is going to turn out badly, Anne Borges, writing on self.com, suggested this approach: Get in the habit of asking yourself if a negative thought is true, and even more important, is it helpful? The next time your mind starts fixating on all the things that could go wrong, acknowledge that yes, perhaps it could go horribly wrong, but it’s unlikely. Ask yourself: “Is that negative thought helpful?” Test it, scrutinize it. It’s likely you’ll find it’s bogus and you’ll be able to let it go.

Signs of the Times has been the world leader in sign information since 1906. Contact Signs of the Times' editors at [email protected].

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