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Leadership Execution —Polischuk

March 2012

TLMI held its 2012 Converter Meeting in Phoenix, with the theme: "Executing Leadership: Know the Way, Show the Way." In his opening remarks, Art Yerecic, chairman of TLMI and president of Yerecic Label, reported that 102 converter members had participated in the annual Ratio Study, the most ever, and that a total of 30 facilities have obtained L.I.F.E. (environmental) certification, with 10 more in process.

Greg Jackson, meeting chair and president of Columbine Label Company, brought in an impressive lineup of speakers. The four presentations provided attendees with any number of practical ideas to take back to their businesses.

Alan Beaulieu, senior analyst, economist, and principal with the Institute for Trend Research (ITR), provided some economic forecasts for the coming years. He believes 2012 will be better than 2011 and that 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); and banks are lending.

Out in time, Beaulieu says the U.S. debt burden will 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, 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, highlighted the value of listening to employees (W4C, walk 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.

Tom Polischuk, Editor-in-Chief

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