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  • April 22, 2020 8:29 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)
    A Video Message from PPAI President & CEO Paul Bellantone, CAE
    Dear PPAI Member:

    I hope this latest update finds you doing well. It’s week 4 for me and the PPAI staff to work remotely and learn to live with the COVID-19 new normal. While it doesn’t appear that we will be headed back to the office anytime soon, we are starting to see some good news across the country as social distancing seems to be having the desired effect. Hopefully, we are beginning to turn the corner.

    In the meantime, it’s certainly not business as usual for PPAI or our industry. I’ve alluded to it multiple times in previous updates, we are all having to make some very tough decisions. What’s different about making these tough decisions, as Seth Godin pointed out in a recent blog, is for the first time, challenges and tough decisions are not individually unique as they may have been in the past. With the coronavirus pandemic, we are all experiencing difficult times as a result of the same incident. And, as a result, it’s virtually impossible to get away from it. Everyone is talking about the same challenges and grueling decisions. That is making it even tougher to remain positive.

    But with trying times and difficult decisions comes the opportunity for creative solutions. For PPAI it’s finding ways to:
    • bring you the content you desire today
    • offer you social and business interaction platforms
    • generate learning opportunities
    • and facilitate business
    I hope my previous updates have shown you how we are doing just that. Because while it may not be business as usual, business still needs to get done. You still need to communicate with customers. You still need to maintain a brand presence, and you still need to focus on the future—regardless of how uncertain you may be about what the future holds. 


    Supplier Business Updates Editing Made Easier – The most viewed page on PPAI’s Coronavirus Update webpage is the Supplier Alert page. This is where industry suppliers are updating their status as it pertains to any business disruption caused by the Coronavirus outbreak. We’ve now made it easier for suppliers to keep that information up to date. Suppliers can simply login to their PPAI My Site account and add the latest information. 

    Pyramid Award Submission Fees Waived – Being able to show clients your award-winning campaigns is one of the best ways to help position you as a solution provider as your clients look for ways to rebuild their businesses. I know it may not be on the top of your list right now, but as mentioned earlier, we can’t lose sight of the future. So let’s celebrate creativity, innovation and collaboration. No fees for submissions or return costs for the PPAI Pyramid Award 2021 competition. The competition will be open April 27–May 29, 2020.
    Helpful Advice in PCT – Every day our team is offering up a dose of practical advice and thought-provoking ideas in Promotional Consultant Today. Recent issues tackled topics such as how to approach selling in a global crisis and shared tips for dealing with unexpected change. You can find all issues here and subscribe for free to get PCT delivered to your inbox every day. 

    Tech Summit Cancelled – Another tough decision has been made. We’ve decided to cancel the 2020 PPAI Tech Summit, which was scheduled for September 21-23 in Austin, Texas. However, keep your eyes open for details on a virtual Tech Summit. 

    Please know that I continue to hope and pray for all of you and a resolution to this crisis in the near future. I’ll end with a quote from the same Seth Godin blog. “The boat is really, really big and we’re all in it.” Seth Godin
    Let’s stick together, help each other out and know that the promotional products industry is and will be around to help our neighbors, communities and nation bounce back from this. And for that, we can feel proud!
    3125 Skyway Circle North, Irving, TX 75038 • www.ppai.org • 1-888-I-AM-PPAI • fax 972-258-3004 • www.facebook.com/ppai.hq
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  • April 17, 2020 12:23 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    COVID-19 - This too is a Defining Moment

    The experience we are all sharing right now of a worldwide pandemic is a Defining Moment for all of us.

    4/16/2020 | Paul Kiewiet, Pursuit of Purpose

    When we speak and write about generational themes, we often reference shared major moments in life that define a generation. For the generation prior to Baby Boomers it was Pearl Harbor and World War II. Many Baby Boomers can describe where they were and what they were doing when JFK was assassinated. For Gen Xers, the Shuttle Challenger disaster is a singular moment and Millennials were shaped by the events of September 11, 2001. For Gen Z, the Great Recession of 2008 disrupted family life in their formative years. Many have asked what will the new Generation be named — the one who follows X, Y (Millennials) and Z? Already, demographers are labeling the youngest among us as Gen C for Coronavirus.

    We should remind however, the events mentioned above in the context of understanding generations have profound impact on everyone. The experience we are all sharing right now of a worldwide pandemic shutting down our worlds and creating havoc with our businesses is a Defining Moment for all of us.

    I recently recorded a podcast with Bobby Lehew (skucast with Paul Kiewiet) about a time when multiple disappointments and set-backs totally upended my life and my plans. At a most shocking moment of betrayal, anger and hurt, I called a friend out of desparation and received life-changing advice. “Paul, he said, “you are experiencing a Defining Moment. What you decide to do with it may determine your future.”

    Because of this advice, I was able to make value-based decisions that did indeed allow me to choose love over hate, victory over victimhood and clarity to see opportunities that opened up in front of me.

    As this pandemic rages through our country and the world and our businesses dry up and loved ones get sick and we cannot see the end or a way out it is time to remember that “This Too Shall Pass.” There is another side and a way out. We may not know what the future holds but we do know that nothing succeeds like resilience. Getting knocked down doesn’t matter as long as you just keep on getting up. If you need a moment to wallow or to mourn the past, take it and then get back up and move on.

    This perfect defining moment is going to be very uncomfortable. We seem pretty hardwired to not like change. But growth requires change. Trust this moment and live here. No one can go back and change the past. So let go of the shoulda’s. The past does not exist.

    Don’t worry about the future. Plan for it yes. React in the present moment with today’s reality and don’t write fantasies about how bad it’s going to be. The future is fantasy. It is not real. This moment is the only reality and right now, you have what you need in the now.

    Acceptance of the my present experience did not come easily or comfortably but two teachers appeared with words I could own. Ekhart Tolle in “A New Earth” wrote, “Life will give you whatever experience is most helpful for the evolution of your consciousness. How do you know this is the experience you need? Because this is the experience you are having at this moment.” And Byron Katie reinforced that thought with the instruction to “Love What Is.” It is the only reality you have so you can love it or suffer. The only two choices.

    Paul will be presenting a webinar on this topic “When It Rains Lemons” on Wednesday, April 22 at 12:30 EDT. To register for this free webinar visit: https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8678262065348870668

    Paul Kiewiet MAS+ is an industry speaker, writer, consultant and coach. He serves as the executive director of MiPPA. Kiewiet was inducted into the PPAI Hall of Fame and the MiPPA Hall of Fame. He served as Chairman of PPAI in 2007. A former distributor, he founded Promotion Concepts, Inc in 1982 and worked with some of America’s most valuable brands including Coca-Cola, Kelloggs, and Whirlpool.

    Used with permission from PromoCorner.

  • April 17, 2020 12:17 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Michele Wieckowski
    Bic Graphic 

    What is your title/role within your company?
    Field Sales Account Manager

    What do you like best about your company?
    The best part about BIC graphic is the feeling of family. I honestly felt that I was part of a family from the moment I got hired. Everyone is so willing to help one another and the customer. That feeling of camaraderie stretches between every department, not just sales. We are an organization that is supportive of us championing our own ideas and always striving to be “one team.”

    How were you introduced to the promotional products industry?
    Honestly, I saw a job posting for BIC graphic and applied. I’ve always been a consumer of BIC products and admired the brand. What’s better than working for a company that you truly believe in the products? Industry wise, I didn’t know what I was getting myself into, but as I am sure everyone in the industry can relate; I was hooked from the very first interview!

    If you had to pick one, what is your favorite promotional product?
    Just one?! Oh this is a very tough question! But, I have to go with the CLG pen. I know that sounds silly but my grandfather always had one in his pocket and it reminds me of him helping me with homework. It’s funny that a pen can bring back so many memories. I also love how you can have a different color on top and bottom of this pen. My favorite combo is “Navy” and “Berry Crush.” But, Pop’s favorite was maroon and always placed in his front pocket.

    Tell us something about you that most people may not know.
    I’m originally from Scranton, PA. Yes, from that show “The Office.” Although, Dunder Mifflin isn’t real Scranton was a great place to grow up! It was also the home to my dance company where I taught ballet.

  • April 17, 2020 7:43 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Above photo: Dustin Burnett (in hat), a co-founder of Allmade and owner of print shop Nothing Too Fancy, visited Haiti, as have all the leaders of Allmade's co-founding companies, to see firsthand the work the organization supports and to meet the people who benefit from it.

    Vancouver, Washington-based supplier Allmade was founded by the leaders of nine screen-printing companies, who saw an opportunity to make a difference in the environment by using fewer resources and bettering the lives of people living and working in Haiti, one of the poorest countries in the Western Hemisphere. Together, Ryonet, Printed Threads, Mel Lay, Nothing Too Fancy, Superior Ink, Barrel Maker Printing, Maui Screen Printing, Rockford Art Deli and Synergy Media Ltd.—companies that purchase hundreds of thousands of t-shirts annually to sell to printers as blank canvases and to customers as customized, printed shirts—combined their industry knowledge to focus primarily on the human and environmental impacts of t-shirt manufacturing, while continuing to provide clients and end users with high-quality, fashion-forward tees. 

    “This founding group, with the support of the rest of the screen-printing industry, has a unique opportunity to influence the apparel market by suggesting and offering socially and environmentally responsible alternatives to our customers, who are often unaware of the exploitative nature of t-shirt manufacturing and its environmental impact,” says Ryan Moor, CEO of Ryonet and co-founder and chief visionary officer of Allmade.  

    It all started when leaders from these screen-printing companies traveled together to Haiti, though it was a vision long shared by the leaders individually. “Being in the apparel industry for 15 years as a decoration supplier, I always had an eye on getting into blank apparel. Better shirts equal better prints, equal more success and higher value in the industry, after all,” says Moor. He was approached by one of Ryonet’s customers, who runs the Global Orphan Project (GO Project), a nonprofit in Kansas City, to accompany them to Haiti and help GO Project with its efforts in orphan prevention and job creation. In 2016, Moor, along with his wife Amanda, and sons Cohen and Brody, took their first trip to the country—where nearly 60 percent of the population lives under the national poverty line, according to the Central Intelligence Agency—where they were first exposed to the realities of the apparel manufacturing industry there. “I was blown away with what I saw,” says Moor.

    In Haiti, Moor was confronted by a country infiltrated with “poverty, child abandonment and environmental destruction driven by low [pay] and the lack of jobs.” He also learned that nearly 80 percent of the orphans in Haiti’s orphanages have living parents and family who simply don’t have the means to care for them. And when looking closely at the apparel manufacturing business, he learned about “the massive amount of water, chemicals and oil used, and the impact of over-made, poor-quality apparel” on the environment. “This drove us to start Allmade, a movement to break the cycle of low-cost, low-value and low-impact apparel and turn it into a shirt and an industry that feels great, does great and makes an impact on people and [the] planet,” says Moor.

    So far, Allmade has produced about 1.3 million shirts, made with an eco-friendlier tri-blend cotton, and has saved 637 million gallons of water—Allmade’s shirts are made using 70-percent less water than a standard t-shirt—and recycled 7.8 million plastic bottles, with each shirt preventing six plastic bottles from entering landfills. Allmade has also officially partnered with GO Project to help with its work to prevent children from entering Haiti’s orphanages by creating ethical, living-wage jobs; an effort that has segued into the creation of the Transition Academy, which, Moor says, “teaches a young generation ethical, wage jobs and life skills to reverse the poverty cycle.”

    PPB spoke with Moor to learn more about Allmade’s efforts.

    PPB What initially drove Allmade’s mission to give back to the community and to manufacturing apparel in sustainable, earth-friendly ways?

    Moor Frankly, it’s everywhere you look. If you trace root problems of global environment, health and poverty, it is a vicious cycle, [and] doing something different breaks up and reverses [the cycle]. Cleaner oceans and garbage patches equal recycling water bottles and paying people in developing countries, where, according to the Plastic Bank, 80 percent of the world’s ocean trash comes from. There are so many more things, [like the amount of] water, chemicals and pesticides used. I recommend educating yourself, [watching] the True Cost documentary and [reading] Dana Thomas’s Fashionopolis: The Price of Fast Fashion and the Future of Clothes and Yvon Chouinard and Naomi Klein’s Let My People Go Surfing. These are great resources and how we started learning. You can just Google “environmental impact of apparel” and go into a huge rabbit hole.

    PPB Tell us about Allmade’s tri-blend fabric and how it helps with the company’s sustainability goals.

    Moor First is the global footprint. We make our fabric in the USA and in North America, using Texas organic cotton, requiring less transportation and a lower carbon footprint. We use Tencil Modal, made from trees, known to have almost six percent of the environmental impact of cotton: less water, fewer chemicals and a closed-loop carbon footprint. We use recycled water bottles, though still polyester, which is preventing bottles from turning into ocean waste and micro plastic.

    PPB Do Allmade’s leaders participate in community service initiatives, whether domestic or overseas?

    Moor All of the Allmade team has been to where we make things, both giving their time and money to help the missions that we give back to. I think actually going versus sending money is having such a big impact. You share what you did, what you learned and inspire others to do the same.

    PPB What’s in store for Allmade in 2020?

    Moor There is a huge industry announcement coming this month that will involve a major partnership and massive investment in the product, from how easy it is to get, to what is available to make an impact. We are fortunate and excited. People care and the industry is talking about sustainability—buying what is right and good is not what is cheap. You, if you are reading this, are making it happen. Feel your  impact!

    Watch the video as Moor recaps his first trip to Haiti here: www.youtube.com/watch?v=u3UntGCD-Fo 

    Used with permission from PPAI Publications

  • April 17, 2020 7:42 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    As a leader, you might be wondering how you can support your team members and build camaraderie when everyone isn't in the same place. Traditional team-building activities call for face-to-face interaction, which is currently ruled out. However, writer Sylvia Moses says that just because you're working remotely doesn't mean you can't connect with your team in meaningful ways.

    If you want to spark some fun and bring a smile, try some virtual team-building activities. We share a few of Moses' ideas in this issue of Promotional Consultant Today.

    Create a weekly "live" virtual office. It's one thing jumping onto a conference call and another to bump into someone casually at the water fountain. Moses says this idea involves creating a live feed of the entire team that keeps running perpetually through the workday. You can use Google Hangouts or Zoom or create virtual "rooms" where people can jump in to see who is doing what.

    Run a virtual campfire. While you can't duplicate the actual wilderness, you can recreate the stories and the s'mores. Moses suggests creating a virtual campfire outside office hours. Consider sending your team members a care package with s'mores and campfire-scented candles. You could ask musically talented team members to play music or share songs.

    Host daily standups over coffee. To add some variety to the standard meeting, Moses recommends hosting your daily standups over everyone's morning cup of coffee or tea. It creates a shared ritual that everyone can participate in.

    Host an interactive virtual hangout. What do you do in an online hangout? According to Moses, you can explore a variety of full-fledged interactive experiences, not just a bunch of video feeds. For example, Kosmi lets you create a virtual room where you can play poker and classic video games.

    Host team member quizzes. The larger and more distributed the team is, the tougher it is to know the people you're working with daily. Moses says you can fix this by hosting "member quizzes." Pair two team members together and give them prompts that help them get to know each other better.

    Conduct virtual office tours. Ask team members to host virtual tours of their offices, suggest Moses. Give them freedom to be as corny or funny as they want to be.

    Play virtual Pictionary. Moses says adapting this classic game to a virtual medium requires a few tweaks. One person (usually the team lead) must play the dealer who selects cards and shows them to each team member on their turn. The team member can then dry the card either digitally or on a piece of paper/whiteboard with the camera pointed towards it.

    Invite team members to name that song. For this team-building activity, Moses say the first step is to play the first few bars of an old song and then ask people to name the song. Track scores in a simple spreadsheet. The person who gets the most guesses right wins. Nostalgia is a powerful glue and can help people to relax around each other, notes Moses.

    Even though your sales team may not share a physical office space anymore, you can still help them feel connected. Try the ideas above to forge friendships and build camaraderie.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Sylvia Moses is a writer for Business 2 Community, a site that covers breaking news and top trends in digital marketing, social media, content marketing, social selling and social business.

    Used with permission from PPAI Publications.

  • April 17, 2020 5:51 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    If you’re struggling with how to sell in these current times, you’re not alone. Many sales professionals wonder about the appropriate way to reach out to customers or prospects. Some wonder if it’s wrong to sell in times of uncertainty or turbulence.

    Chris Donato, co-founder of the Same Side Sales Movement, admits he often rewrites his emails or texts to be sure he doesn’t come across as insensitive or opportunistic. These are unique times, and it helps to know how to appropriately and empathetically contact prospects and clients.

    If you find yourself second-guessing your sales approach, keep reading this issue of Promotional Consultant Today. We share Donato’s best practices for selling during a global crisis.

    Remember there’s no right or wrong. Donato reminds sales professionals that there’s no clear-cut answer on what to do. Since we’ve never experienced anything like the COVID-19 global pandemic in our lifetimes, we have no previous experience to fall back on.

    Be human. Since there’s no precedent, it’s difficult to make decisions. That’s why Donato says it’s so important to tap into your humanity. Before you take any sales action, whether it’s a sales call, a direct message on social media or a cold email, connect with what makes you human. Reach for love, compassion, empathy and fellowship. Donato says to let these emotions guide you in these current times.

    Treat people right. It’s never the wrong time to do the right thing, notes Donato. Many people freeze in a crisis. While there are plenty of examples in nature that prove the best survival tactic is staying motionless, Donato says sales professionals shouldn’t stick their heads in the sand. Others are depending on them to grow and retail customers in order to survive a downturn.

    Keep moving. Donato asserts that sales professionals must connect things that would otherwise be disconnected without their personal involvement. If salespeople don’t move with purpose, people lose their jobs and businesses go under. That’s why he believes that the best course of action is to keep going by serving others, solving problems and providing solutions.

    Tips For Initial Outreach Emails

    When reaching out to clients or prospects, Donato recommends keeping your communication to a maximum of three to six sentences. Aim to focus on:

    Facts, not fiction: Stay away from words such as “feel” and “think.” Instead, Donato suggests leveraging relevant statistics, facts or news from the client’s business or industry.

    Human-to-human interaction: Don’t say you “wish someone well” when reaching out to them for the first time. Donato says they’re not your friend—yet. Imagine they’re barely going to read your email. It starts at the subject line.

    A short and sweet pitch: Be sure to keep your hook short. Relay just enough information that they will be curious and will put forth the effort to respond.

    In these unprecedented times, there’s no guidebook on how to properly communicate with clients and prospects. The best guidance is to embrace your humanity, try to help others and keep moving forward.

    Compiled by Audrey Sellers

    Source: Chris Donato is a career enterprise seller who co-founded the Same Side Sales Movement focused on bringing enterprise buyers and sellers together to drive business innovation.

    Used with permission from PPAI Publications. 

  • April 17, 2020 5:50 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    10 Tips to Work from Home (Without Going Crazy!)

    Great ideas to keep you productive and positive!

    4/8/2020 | Rosalie Marcus, Promo Biz Coach

    If you’re like many people in the promotional products industry you’ve been asked to stay at home and perhaps work from home to help stop the spread of coronavirus.

    I’ve been working from home for many years, so working from home isn’t a struggle for me, although not being able to see clients, friends and my extended family is challenging.

    For those of you that may be new to working from home, you may be feeling frustrated and isolated. I’d like to share some tips that can make your day more productive and leave you feeling better.

    1. Set daily goals: It’s easy to get distracted when you’re working from home. Here’s a quick tip that will help keep you focused. At the beginning of every day write at least three things you want to accomplish that day. Doing this will keep you on track to what is most important. Anything you don’t accomplish goes on the next day’s list.

    2. Create a separate work space: Have a separate room or space dedicated to working. It will help keep you in a working state of mind and make you more productive.

    3. Establish boundaries. Let others know the hours you’ll be working and ask not to be disturbed.

    4. Make time for your children. When you have kids at home with you, it can be challenging. Block time for fun activities to do with them. Let them know that you have something special planned if they can let you work for a few hours. Make family time a fun time. Don’t expect to get as much work done as you would in the office.

    5. Get outside and get exercise: Take frequent breaks and get outside and get fresh air. It will make the day go faster, help you sleep better and it’s good for you! My best ideas come when I’m outside walking, the same can happen for you

    6. Listen to your favorite music. This is a stressful time. I don’t know about you, but music relaxes me, just be mindful of the type of music you listen to. For me, classical music is great for working, and rock music when I want to take a break and feel energized.

    7. Set up video calls with clients. When you can’t see a client in person, try a video call. Zoom (zoom.us) is free and easy to use. Additionally, take advantage of free supplier videos with product ideas that can help your clients during the crisis.

    8. Stay connected. Just because you can’t see people doesn’t mean you have to be isolated. Join the conversations with other industry peers on Facebook and LinkedIn Groups and PPAI Promo Connect.

    9. Finish a project. The plus side of being sequestered in your home is all the free time you have when there’s no place else to go. Have you always wanted to write a book? Now is good time to get started. Need to clean out your office? Start decluttering today. Whatever it is you’ve been putting off, now is a great time to start.

    10. Take great care of yourself. This is a challenging time for all of us in in the promotional products industry and the world around us. Follow the coronavirus guidelines, get plenty of rest, eat healthy foods, wash your hands frequently, practice social distancing. You know the drill.

    Here’s to working and living successfully from your home! Stay safe and healthy!

    Used with permission from PromoCorner

  • April 17, 2020 5:49 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Things that Matter

    Even in these trying times, it’s the little things that truly make life worth living.

    4/13/2020 | Bill Petrie, Petrie's Perspective

    Whether in our business or personal lives, we hear all the time that it’s the little things that matter most. Nearly everyone instinctively agrees with that sentiment without really thinking about what the little things truly mean. In these confusing times, where we are all sheltering in place, wearing masks in public, and only connecting with people outside of our homes using video technology, perhaps it’s the best opportunity to explain what the little things are.

    I’m a believer that every skill needed to succeed in a job can be taught, except for two: care and attention to detail. You either bring those with you or you don’t. In my career, I’ve reviewed hundreds – if not thousands – of resumes. Regardless of position, the majority of them profess that the author is “detail-oriented.” My experience, however, is that’s not always the case.

    Of course, there are apparent professional details like ensuring consistency across advertising, ensuring names and other words are correctly spelled, and not forgetting to do simple tasks. To me, however, professional details begin with listening with the intent to understand as opposed to listening with the intent to respond. Far too often, people have a retort chambered and at the ready without really hearing the person. When we listen with the intent to reply, it will likely lead to misunderstandings or a divisive culture – neither of which is right for an organization.

    However, this blog is about the personal little things that matter most – the ones that have revealed themselves over the past few weeks as life has altered from all the things we thought were normal to a world where we float between emotional solitude and Zoom happy hours. I’ve long said that crisis reveals character – it always has and always will. In other words, when things are going well, it’s effortless to be calm, relaxed, and collected. But when the chocolate soft serve ice cream emoji hits the fan, that’s when you see what people for who they are and what they stand for.

    Over the past few weeks, I’ve been witness to incredible acts of kindness and love as well as shocking displays of selfishness and panic. It would be easy to focus on the negatives of all that is happening: the unfair layoffs and furloughs, the hoarding of essential household goods, the canceled events, or the school closures. In this time, I’ve tried to fixate on the positive: I’ve observed people helping others learn how to use the self-checkout line at the grocery store because they were scared to have another human touch their purchases. I’ve seen the drive-by birthday celebrations that have moved me to tears. I’ve watched people at their most creative finds ways to connect with others while staying six feet apart.

    These are seemingly small things that create a lifetime of impact. So, in the spirit of always being as transparent as possible, I thought I would share some little things – in no particular order – that matter to me as I write this from my home office:

    A family that accepts me for who I am – flaws and all

    Friends who call me out of the blue to check on me

    One of my closest friends who is always a beacon of positivity no matter the circumstances

    The solace of my backyard

    A random text from someone telling me they love me

    A dear friend who endured her final chemo treatment last week as she bravely battles breast cancer

    The transformative power of music

    The pure delight of a good book

    A glass of wine outside sitting by the fire pit

    The joy people experience when I cook something just for them

    Laughter in all varieties

    An unexpected gift because someone was thinking of me

    Even in these trying times, it’s the little things that truly make life worth living. To me, noticing the little things is a choice because I see so many ignore them. However, by choosing to recognize the tiniest of loving gestures is what will get me – what will get us – through this and allow us to be much happier people on the other side.

    Used with permission from PromoCorner.

  • March 18, 2020 1:11 PM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    What is your title/role within your company?

    Full time in the promo space is new for me. Having left the printing industry to start this new company, this time it's only me with no staff. So outside sales, on line marketing, order entry, graphics, supplier follow up, receivables and sometimes delivery. I get to wear all the hats now, so I guess still the Jefe'.

    What do you like best about your company?

    After moving from "technically" the supplier side to the distributor side, it's less stress regarding production issues. Also since I don't have staff anymore, there are no longer any HR issues to deal with. I like the freedom to come and go as I please without the obligations and responsibilities that I'm used to. It's been a nice transition.

    How were you introduced to the promotional products industry?

    I had some of my previous printing clients request certain promotional items over the years that I procured for them, so up until recently my experience in the promotional products industry was very cursory, printing being my primary focus. That has now changed after my first visit to EXPO in 2019 which was an overwhelming experience and solidified my intent to start this new business. It's an impressive industry and also from what I've been able to observe so far from a people standpoint, a very connected one.

    If you had to pick one, what is your favorite promotional product?

    I like the food items, especially the chocolate. I have to learn how not to eat my samples.

    Tell us something about you that most people may not know.

    I'm from Cupertino and watched the whole Silicon Valley thing being born before moving to San Diego when I was in my early 20's. I always crack up when I'm talking with someone and they are confused why this place called Cupertino is on their iPhone. I get to tell then why.

  • March 18, 2020 11:41 AM | Dara Cormany (Administrator)

    Never do you forget that sinking feeling like an executive, treading water as the tide keeps rising. The painted picture of what it was supposed to be like, the natural career progression; however, the reality of the speed of change within that role is so real for new time executives. Harvard Business Review reported that 50 percent of executives would leave within the first 18 months of their appointment.

    Executives feel like they carry the weight of the world in a turbulent and complex environment. Ron Carucci in his Harvard Business Review article reported that “38 percent of executives said they didn’t expect the loneliness and isolation that accompanied their jobs and 54 percent said they felt they were being held accountable for problems outside their control”. The pressure to produce results is never-ending and at times, unforgiving. Sometimes, executives need a guiding light to walk alongside them to illuminate the path forward, establish credibility and sustain their results. 

    Like an elite professional who engages a sports coach to develop and strengthen capabilities, skills and mindset, successful executives access tailored-made advice to reveal their blind spots, leverage their strengths and support them to carve a way forward. When organizations invest in accelerating the learning curve, they build influencing skills and minimize the risk of mediocre team leadership.

    The executive learning curve, moving from operational to strategic thinking and leadership, alongside rapid change, can be one of the most significant challenges for a new leader. Many executives do not make a successful leap. Here are eight ways to set up new leaders for success.

    The same qualities do not lead to success

    When executives transition into their first-time experience, they must invest in consciously separating themselves from the day to day decisions to be more comfortable with ambiguity. Executives who embrace the uncertainty, leverage ambiguous environments, are in a prime position to launch new ideas and try on new approaches and behaviors. By transitioning from technical responsibilities to a strategic leader that invests in forward-facing thinking, allows the executive to paint a picture of what is possible and graciously pull people along. 

    Related: 10 Leadership Principles for 2020

    Engage the hearts and minds of people

    Moving to a new level of leadership demands an ability to influence others to accomplish what is needed. Executive leadership involves facilitating people through risk and change; therefore, trust is vital to building the bridge. No leader is an island and cultivating the power of networks will identify people who will lead and execute the vision. When executives do not invest in building and nurturing those relationships, there will be a lack of buy-in and commitment to bring the vision to reality. 

    The adaptative leader

    In today’s climate, executives must quickly adapt and make decisions when needed. The rate of change continues to speed up. Executives must lead with transparency, consistency, take action to create stability within the environment and continue to deliver quality services despite the level of disruptive change. The adaptive leader builds skills for unlocking the potential in people, mobilize collective wisdom and lead collaboratively innovative solutions to drive change. This new type of leader is the catalyst for real transformation this decade.

     The slippery slope of overconfidence

    The overconfident leader can negate the leadership qualities you want within your organization and can cross the line into the danger zone. Executive overconfidence has been blamed for company failure and financial distress within organizations. Overconfidence can hinder a leader’s authenticity, be the enemy of humility and stain the fabric of an organization by putting them at risk. 

    Related: 22 Qualities That Make a Great Leader

    Self-confidence plays a role in leadership. When executives understand their strengths and areas for development in a balanced way, they can break through obstacles as challenges, lead their inner critic and create the right environment for problems to be solved. 

    Shut up and listen

    The best advice l was every given when transitioning into a new executive role was to “shut and listen”. The evolution of a new role may be unlearning everything that you know to step into the position of listener and learner. Executives must create a different type of operating system to interact and communicate within and external to the organization. 

    Calm within the storm

    Executive presence is a vital leadership characteristic that costs nothing, but everyone gains. When an executive comes from a place of inner clarity and conviction, it evolves from what matters most to you. Executives that have presence look for the best in people acknowledge that everyone has faults and make mistakes, including themselves and they, focus on what matters. What l mean is that they don’t confuse urgent for necessary and remain committed to the priorities. They are the calm within the chaos because they know their best emotional state and remain fully present.

    Delve deeper

    Executives must know who they are. There strengths, passion and areas of development are foundational pillars. The “I can do anything” mantra doesn’t work in the world of executive leadership. Buying the delusion that you can do everything is a false economy. Instead, a 360-feedback process opens the door to explore how others experience you on your leadership abilities. Behavioral profiling tools, such as Extended DISC, will also provide insight into how you are naturally wired, foster opportunities to adapt your thinking and behavior to be more productive, appreciate your motivators, strengths and developmental areas. It also improves opens conversations within teams in terms of how effective communication is flowing up and down the organization and creates a platform to understand and reshape organizational culture. 

    Invest in executive coaching

    The first 90 days of an executive’s transition is critical. Engaging an executive coach can unlock a leader’s potential to maximize overall performance and the bottom line. By investing in executive coaching, you can build your skills, a strategic plan to ensure growth and a bright future path. Successful leaders continuously improve and develop their skills and are committed to having a safe place to grow, learn and be challenged. 

    Related: 10 Popular Myths About Leadership and How to Overcome Them

    In a case study, Harvard Business Review reported that one financial services company approached the execution of the new schedule in simple ways – “articulate a hypothesis. Go out and experiment. And if it doesn’t work, then why not? What did you learn? Add to it. Capture your learning. Share it with other people.” 

    The executive coaching relationship can be a powerful catalyst to create a sustainable growth plan and in partnership, support you to navigate the challenges and celebrate the successes — an alliance to propel you and the organization for success. 

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