November '14

For the Business of Apparel Decorating

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2 0 | Printwear N ov e m b e r 20 1 4 Vince DiCecco is a dynamic and sought-after seminar speaker and author with a unique perspective on business development and management sub- jects, primarily in the decorated and promotional apparel industries. With over 20 years of experience in sales, marketing, and training, he is pres- ently an independent consultant to various apparel decorating businesses looking to improve profitability and sharpen their competitive edge. Visit his new website at, and send email to | | | | Your Personal Business Trainer by viNce Dicecco Y ou breeze into your shop on a Monday morning and greet the production crew in your usual upbeat man- ner, greeting unreturned. Something just doesn't feel right. Are these people unhappy? Where's the usual banter between the operators and the production leader? Did you miss something? You call the production manager into your office to inves- tigate. "OK, what's going on out there?" "Don't know. They're giving me the cold shoulder, too. Might be 'cause one of the crew got a look at my paycheck stub when it fell out of my locker. Then, they all started comparing what each other are paid, and, well, I don't think they were too happy." That's just terrific. Now what are you going to do? You just got a huge job order, and it will require all of the company working together as a team to finish on time. And the manager appears interested in passing this off on you. Great way to start the work week, eh? Recognize potential conflict There's no way around it. Conflict is part of life. It will happen, and it can take many forms, from small tiffs to full-scale battles. No matter what form a conflict takes, learn how to rec- ognize and deal with it—or anticipate and prevent it. Certainly, conflict can arise from dif- ferences in backgrounds and values. Just as often, conflict is simply a byproduct of change. As businesses face such challenges as surviving a sluggish economy, improving the level of service and quality, and meeting strategic goals, owners and managers are not only required to initiate but to respond to change and the conflicts it can breed. Take a moment to complete the short self-assessment below. For the first state- How to Deal with Conflict in the Shop Arriving at a positive resolution is always the ultimate goal Understand YoUr response to ConfliCt c ommon approaches to conflict resolution are (1) simply ignore it, (2) smooth over any differences, (3) force the conflict to a head, (4) compromise to the point where nobody sees the resolution as a victory, or (5) problem solve your way through the conflict. With 1 –4, the risk is that your team may be- grudgingly agree simply to get past an uneasy situation. When work groups are repeatedly forced to live with decisions of managers who do not engage decision-making techniques, they can start to go along with every mandate, even when they have reservations about it. This phenomenon is called "groupthink." When groupthink occurs, critical information can be withheld from owners and supervisors: Workers believe their perspective has no value and is unlikely to be heard anyway. As a result, poor decisions get made and the business suffers in productivity, morale, and at the bottom line.

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