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Accentuate the positive: How to maximize team spirit in the workplace

The term positive attitude gets used a lot these days. It’s a great business concept, because a positive workplace attitude means a strong team – and that’s vital to your organization’s success. The problem is, the term has become so very widely used that it’s almost white noise! You hear about positive attitude, but you don’t take it in.

We think it’s worth stepping back to look at what creating a positive attitude really means. In an effective team, each member feels positive about the importance of both their own role and that of the organization. It takes effort to build such an attitude. But trust us, it’s well worth the extra work.

Here are some ideas for how to create a positive attitude among your team – as opposed to just mentioning the term, having them nod in agreement and then promptly forget about it and go back to their regular work.

Be clear about your expectations. Imagine running a race with only a vague idea of where the finish line is. You probably wouldn’t run very fast. You’d be confused and easily distracted. Similarly, in an organization, each participant will feel more positive and strive harder if they know exactly what’s expected of them. And, in setting out your expectations for them, you show that you are aware of the important role they play in your business.

Ensure each member understands how the team works together. Most of us aren’t hermits. We don’t like feeling disconnected from the rest of the world. Generally, feeling connected is a positive emotion!

We suggest making a chart of how each person in your organization supports everyone else. Display it for everyone to see. For example, the frontline employee who greets customers in person, on the phone or by email links them to the team member best-suited to serve them. Meanwhile, people in technical support reinforce the work of the sales department. Through quality repairs or upgrades, techies demonstrate the positive value of staying with your company. When the time comes to actually replace the product, the customer will remember the good service. They will be in touch with your salespeople.

It’s definitely a positive feeling for a person to see how their efforts and initiatives reinforce the team. We’re betting you get exclamations of, “Hey, I didn’t realize my work connects so closely with So-And-So. Cool!”

Let people know you support them. By this we don’t just mean that you tell them what a great job they’re doing. Not that your positive words aren’t good: people try harder when they know they’re recognized. However, you can also let your team know that there are other types of support for them. What if they want to learn or improve an existing skill? If there’s room in the budget for courses and extra training, urge your people to take advantage of these.

Another way of supporting people is to check in with them, both individually and in groups, on how a project or initiative is going. They may have questions or concerns. They may have ideas on how to make things go better! By tapping into their insights, you’re strengthening their confidence and sense of self-value – and, big-picture, making them feel positive about the team as a whole.

Set time aside for out-of-office, team-building activities. These days more and more companies are taking their teams off-site to motivate and inspire them. You might meet outdoors in the summer for silly relay races or water-balloon tosses. Or maybe you take everyone to one of those rooms they have to escape from – the fun is in collaborating on the escape. What will work and what won’t?

We’re quite serious about the positive value of silly and fun. By engaging your people in non-work activities, you’re empowering them further to trust and be open with each other. Afterward, back at work, they may feel comfortable enough to share ideas that they might otherwise have kept bottled up out of inhibition.

There’s a lot more to explore in the discussion about positive workplace attitudes, and we’ll return to this topic in future issues. For now, here’s some supplemental reading you may find interesting and useful:

Your current printer: To be or not to be replaced – that’s the question

 

The once-sharp printouts you got from your printer are getting a bit fuzzy. The once-distinct shades and colours are blurring together. You’re thinking you’ll have to buy a new printer. It’s a budget decision you weren’t expecting just yet.

Here’s the good news if you decide to replace your printer. The cost isn’t as ominous as you think! In many cases, it is actually cost-effective to buy a new or refurbished laser printer. With Digitech’s great in-house assortment of quality makes and models, we can provide you with attractive options for replacing your printer.

And, as part of helping you stay cost-effective, we’ll make sure that whatever printer you buy will be able to handle any excess toner you have on hand.

Check out our printers here.

We welcome you to contact us! Helping you find the right printer(s) for your office printing needs is just one of the special services we provide our customers. Having served a wide variety of businesses, we know which makes and models work best in different work environments. Digitech offers:

  • six months’ warranty on all printers
  • 12 months’ warranty when you buy our toner cartridge
  • free delivery and pick-up of old devices.

Check out our repair options, as well

It may actually be that your machine doesn’t need replacing. The repair option may be just the ticket. As you’ll see here, Digitech offers printer-repair services to businesses throughout the Lower Mainland. Our friendly and trained technicians can diagnose almost any problem. We will explain, in layperson’s terms, what needs to be done. And we will do our best to minimize the disruption to your business while we fix your laser printer.

Showing respect in the workplace isn’t just polite. By encouraging people to share ideas, it’s positively productive!

The late comedian Rodney Dangerfield packed ’em into nightclubs and in front of TV screens with his “I don’t get no respect” routine. Dangerfield would zap out one-liners about how people disrespected him, e.g., “On Hallowe’en, the parents sent their kids out looking like me.”

All very amusing – as part of a comic act. But in the workplace, a lack of respect is no laughing matter. If an employee doesn’t feel that colleagues value their presence, their opinion, the work they do, they will instinctively shut down as a way of self-protection. Like the turtle, that person will retreat into their shell. Oh, they’ll fulfill the routine of their job. But they won’t feel part of the workplace. They won’t go out of their way to contribute ideas and solutions. They won’t feel that dynamic, positive sense of striving with everyone else toward the organization’s goals.

That’s a loss to the employee, yes. But it’s a really big loss to the organization.

Because an unhappy employee can find another position. They can get out, put the negative experience behind them, start anew. But the conditions that fostered the lack of respect they felt are still rife in the organization, making the atmosphere oppressive – and discouraging people from contributing their enthusiasm and energy.

You may scoff at the idea of disrespect occurring in your own company. After all, you know that you respect others! But without taking steps to ensure that the feeling is company-wide, you may find that disrespect seeps in here and there. Before you know it, the oppressive atmosphere is spreading.

We don’t mean to scare you. Just the opposite! Our goal is to inspire you to take positive steps to ensure that your organization stays – and keeps becoming more – respectful. Here are our suggestions for avoiding the Rodney Dangerfield I-get-no-respect syndrome:

Model to staff how you would like them to behave. Make a point of not only being polite, but interested in your people. Hold one-on-one meetings every few months to catch up with employees on: how their work is going; any challenges they may be facing; and any ideas they have for improving their own productivity and the organization’s as a whole. Ask about their family/friends; how they spent the weekend. Just as important, catch them up with your job, your challenges/ideas, that pathetic golf score you achieved on Sunday.

At staff meetings, give everyone the same attention, interest and encouragement. Nothing says disrespect like a staff meeting where the high-ranking employees do all the talking and everyone else sits silent and inhibited. Encourage everyone to share what they’re up to in their job: what’s current, what’s coming up, something they’ve achieved that they feel good about.

Dwell on the positives. Sure, you’ll have to straighten people out sometimes. Maybe an employee, with all good intentions, isn’t carrying out some aspect of their job in the most efficient, productive manner. Talk to them, but make sure they understand you also appreciate what they’re doing right. Praise more than you criticize.

Avoid disparaging jokes. Leave the insult humour to professional comedians. You may think it’s funny to compare a man’s shirt to a dog’s breakfast, but honestly? That smile the guy gives you in return will be a painful, forced one.

Practice inclusiveness. Invite all employees to meetings and discussions. Have a budget for training? Make sure everyone has the chance to benefit. As for committees and task forces, give everyone the chance to be part of them. Not every employee will want or be able to participate in everything. But they’ll feel valued that you’re offering the opportunity.

 

Here’s some further reading you may find interesting:

Sure, you know all about Digitech’s efficient repair services. Or…do you?

At Digitech we pride ourselves on our thorough, dependable, efficient printer repair services. Slowdowns, fuzziness, other problems? Bring ’em on. We’ll handle them for you.

What you may not know is just how wide-ranging our repair services are. We can fix like-new not only printer, copier and laser issues – but also wide-format plotters. That’s right. Your HP Plotter giving you trouble? Call us. We’ll repair it.

For all your repair needs, contact us at Digitech.

Team-building: Five ideas to hit it out of the park

If you’re a New York Yankees fan, chances are you still savour the baseball team’s 1996-2007 glory streak. From 1996 to 2007, the Yankees not only made the playoffs every single year—but won four championships.

That hit-it-out-of-the-park winning streak coincided with the legendary Joe Torre’s turn as Yankees manager. For Torre, the success wasn’t just about technique and strategy. It was also about listening. As Torre explained, “I try to understand what motivates people.”

Understanding one’s people is key to success – in business as in baseball. Want a championship team of your own? In the spirit of Joe Torre, we offer up five tips on team-building:

1. Share objectives. Yes, the company is divided into different departments. And yes, within those departments, each person has a different role. But across the board, everyone should share the same mission or objectives, that is, the definition of what the business seeks to accomplish. Objectives might include a focus on customers, a commitment to product excellence and a respect and eagerness to help both customers and colleagues. Talk regularly with employees, not just in meetings but one-to-one, and ensure the give-and-take of ideas on realizing objectives is continuous.

2. The sense of being part of something greater than yourself. We’ve all heard of the deadly silo mentality, where employees huddle into their respective cubicles and within the boundaries of their respective jobs. But a workplace should be more than that. Each employee should have an overall, inspiring sense that the company needs and encourages them to be the best they can be – that the company’s success depends on it. Again, listen to your people: Acting on what you hear will stream their hopes and ideas into the larger picture.

3. For everyone, make sure expectations are clear. Employees have specific projects and are pretty clear on what they’re meant to achieve: the fulfillment of those projects. But just as people need individual goals to work toward, so they need overall team goals to envisage and achieve. When walking or driving, you don’t just concentrate on what’s immediately around you. You look far forward and far around. You get a sense of yourself within the big picture. Make sure your team understands both individual and overall goals; both short-term and long-term goals. And don’t assume everyone understands these expectations week in, week out. Again, the key is asking, encouraging and listening.

4. The why is just as important as the what. You could spend all your time, every day, encouraging your team to achieve specific goals. But without understanding why these goals exist, your people won’t see the importance of participating in working toward them. For example, you didn’t just pull the monthly sales goals out of a hat. You based them on market potential, competitive viability and strength of both product and team. Explain the why and listen to people’s reaction. Who knows, they may even suggest setting higher goals for the month!

5. A negative employee? Meet with them. No one likes a naysayer. But before you reprimand someone for spreading negativity – or worse, fire them – take Joe Torre’s advice. First, listen. Give them the benefit of the doubt. It may be that whatever complaint they’re nursing about their work situation has some validity and can be rectified. Or maybe they’re having some personal issues at home and could use a referral to counselling. Most employees bring positive qualities and abilities to a job, or they wouldn’t be there. Try to deal with the cause of their unhappiness – but also explain that their negativity is having an adverse effect on the morale of those around them. If they’re sincerely interested in their job and the company, they’ll listen back to you.

We’ll discuss team-building more in future issues. For now, here’s some further reading for you:

Are you managing your in-house printers, your paper and associated print and toner inventory in a way that best serves your company’s needs?

Ask us – our efficiency consulting service can help you figure that out

Your business is well-equipped with printers, paper, toner and other inks. You have the latest printer models; you keep them well-maintained. So, no problem. Right?

Maybe…or maybe not. It could be that you’re not utilizing your printers most efficiently. In one area, say, a printer may be more sophisticated than is necessary. Another area, bereft of its own printer, could use one; people may be trekking too long a way to print.

This is where Digitech’s efficiency consulting service can help. Through detailed analysis and consultation, we will determine your models of operation, including what kind of printing you do and in what volumes. We’ll check to make sure that you’re placing printers of the quality and in the locations that best serve your needs.

We will then recommend the best printers, inks and papers for the type of printing you do.

Our goal? To keep your business efficient and to save you money over the long run. In a nutshell, we help you find the most cost-effective solution that fits your printing demands.

With this service, we come to your office; review in detail what kind of printing you do; and where and how you use your current printers. We will report back to you with a thorough analysis of:

  • – how efficient your current printing set-up is
  • – how well it fits with your actual printing needs, and
  • – ways to improve your printing, without necessarily ordering all new equipment.

Our efficiency consulting service is just that: efficient. We will recommend changes to make your printing better, not necessarily more expensive: We will determine:

  • – if you are you using the right printers for the right jobs
  • – what kind of papers inks and toners you should be using
  • – whether you have the right printers for each location.

Our recommendations could save you thousands of dollars each year. Yes, we may sometimes recommend higher-cost printers than the ones you currently use. But, in that case, the printers will be better suited to the kind of printing you do.

Learn more about our proven approach to operational efficiency. Please feel welcome to call us now: 604-322-5433.

Further reading:

Be a pragmatist but also be a visionary: Develop a strategic organizational framework for your business

 

Your company is turning a profit. You and your employees work hard. People congratulate you on the success you’ve shown in running a day-to-day business. Enjoy their praise – but don’t relax in it.

Because, unless you’re looking further and higher than day-to-day, your success won’t grow as well as it could.

To ensure continuing, long-lasting achievements, you need to set out a strategic organizational framework for your company. Following are the elements of this framework:

  • vision
  • mission
  • values
  • strategies
  • action plans and goals.

Even if you haven’t implemented this framework, chances are you’ve heard of its elements. The term vision, in particular, gets tossed around a lot, by politicians, bureaucrats, ad companies… Your understandable reaction may be a shrug: “Nice words, sure. But that’s all they are: words.”

Well, yes. They are words, of course. But they become much more than that if effectively acted on. The most successful companies use strategic organizational frameworks to turn these words into action, leading to greater prosperity.

Let’s look more closely at what each of these elements means – and how you, too, can make them work for your business.

Vision. This is the why and how of your business. Your vision statement will clearly and concisely communicate your company goals. Amazon’s vision statement is: to be earth’s most customer-centric company; to build a place where people can come to find and discover anything they might want to buy online.

Mission. With this statement you define: what your organization is; why it exists; its reason for being. Ideally with your mission you: define your primary customers; and identify your products and services. Here’s Apple’s mission statement: Apple designs Macs, the best personal computers in the world, along with OS X, iLife, iWork and professional software. Apple leads the digital music revolution with its iPods and iTunes online store.

Values. Members of your team work and interact based on your company’s values, or beliefs. Values reflect what your organization is and what it deems important. Values are the device you and your people use to measure everything you do in the organization, every day. For example, here at Digitech, we value customer commitment and service.

Strategies. A company develops strategies that will achieve its mission and strive to meet its values. Usually a business sets out four or five strategies. A key one might be product differentiation, that is, ensuring a) your product is different and better than competitors’ and b) you let your customers know why and how it’s different and better.

Action plans and goals. By setting goals, and the ways to work toward achieving those goals, you not only motivate your team. You engage them. You give them drive. You give them purpose. Their jobs become challenges rather than routines. You will probably set some short-term goals, say, sales for the next quarter; and also some long-term ones, e.g., eventually getting your company recognized as the best in its field.

As with team-building in our earlier article, there’s lots more to say about developing a strategic organizational framework. We’ll definitely be back with more in future issues! For now, here’s some further reading:

Replace your printer – without emptying your budget

Your laser printer is ticking down. Its printouts just aren’t as sharp and clear as they used to be. You know you need to replace it, but you’re balking at spending a lot of money.

We have good news for you. In many cases, it is actually cost-effective to buy a new or refurbished laser printer*. With Digitech’s great in-house assortment of quality makes and models, we can provide you with attractive options for replacing your printer.

And, as part of helping you stay cost-effective, we’ll make sure that whatever printer you buy will be able to handle any excess toner you have on hand.

Helping you find the right printer(s) for your office printing needs is just one of the special services we provide our customers. You’ve got the need? We’ve got the experience. Having served a wide variety of businesses, we know which makes and models work best in different work environments.

Check out our printers here. And we welcome you to contact us!   Right now we have some fantastic deals going.

Even better, Digitech offers:

  • – six months’ warranty on all printers
  • – 12 months’ warranty when you buy our toner cartridge
  • – free delivery** and pick-up of old devices.

*All our refurbished printers have original HP parts and come with starter toner cartridge.

**If you need printer installation, our hourly rate is $99.95.

Aglow with the Christmas spirit: Brilliant displays of North Vancouver house light the way to charitable giving

It’s a house that lights up North Vancouver every holiday season – and its spirit of giving will light up your heart.

Every year since 2010, John Ribalkin and his wife Aurore Viau have decorated their home, near the base of Grouse Mountain, with a sparkling array of lights and Santa decorations. Now, for Chalet Lights 2017, they will again cover their roof, gardens, gutters, railings and driveway with thousands of lights, inflatable decorations and other Christmas-themed visual cheer.

As they do each year, John and Aurore invite visitors to drive or walk by their glistening celebration at 4967 Chalet Place. The couple doesn’t want applause or kudos – rather, in the spirit of this season of giving, they encourage viewers to show appreciation by contributing to charity.

The family’s dazzling annual display has so far raised $65,252.38 and 769 bags of groceries for local people in need. John, who’s a friend and business associate of Digitech owner Pierre Adjoury, hopes this inspiring total is just the beginning.

“Last year, the display raised $8,472.22 and 182 bags of groceries. This year, we hope to reach $25,000 for charity,” says John, an accredited mortgage professional (AMP) with Verico Nova Financial Services Inc.

North Vancouver’s now-famous Christmas lights display will have its brilliant launch on December 2 at 6:30 pm. After that, the display will brighten the North Shore from 5:30 pm-11 pm until January 1, 2018.

Aurore predicts you’ll be able to see the star crowning the display from as far away as Stanley Park and downtown Vancouver. “The star hangs 96 feet above our roof peak on ropes attached to trees, with no nails used. Every line on the star is 20-feet long,” she says.

“We have been told the star is viewable from Coal Harbour already and that the entire house can be seen by landing planes!”

Here are directions to Chalet of Lights – and to letting the spirit of giving shine:

  • Take the Westview Drive exit off Highway 1 westbound
  • Head north up Westview Drive, which becomes Delbrook Ave.
  • Turn left on Montroyal Blvd.
  • Turn right onto Skyline Drive
  • Skyline Drive becomes Chalet Place
  • Take the last right
  • Put on sunglasses in preparation, because…
  • You’ve arrived at Chalet Lights, 4967 Chalet Place!

To find out more, including the chance to donate online, visit the Chalet Lights website. And be sure to drop by the Facebook page, as well.

Plan now to keep your business not just on track – but achieving more

Those sleigh bells aren’t just ringing in the holiday season. They’re a wake-up call for you to think in advance to 2018 and set goals for your business. The great thing about planning now is that you’re ahead of the game. You have time to consider ideas, keeping some and discarding others.

As you plan, don’t just set goals for the continued survival of your business. Think bigger than that. Think how you can achieve even more success.

 

Here are some ideas we recommend:

 

  1. Review the past year

Evaluate your company’s performance in 2017. Did your company achieve all you wanted it to? If it achieved less, decide what adjustments you could make to ensure it will better meet your goals in 2018. If your company achieved what you wanted, or more, build on the strategies and approaches that got it there.

 

  1. Set and map out a vision for the coming year

Set a vision for what you want to accomplish next year. Enumerate the goals involved. Then, figure out step by step how to make each goal happen so that the total vision becomes a reality. The steps for each goal will include: planning out the expected time, deadlines to be met, costs, priorities and responsibilities.

 

  1. Get a head start on your taxes

Okay, as goals go this doesn’t seem very exciting. But getting your tax materials ready now means you’re not in a panic later, in February or March. And when you’re not in a rush, you see things much more clearly. You have the time to weigh options. You can suss out ways to reduce your business and personal tax burden, e.g., claiming depreciation and business expenses, giving to charity, incorporating instead of being in a partnership or sole proprietorship.

 

  1. Evaluate your companys position now and going forward

Do a SWOT analysis, that is, figure out your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Here are examples of each:

  • Strengths: Are you staffed up in the right places to meet your goals?
  • Weaknesses: Is your equipment getting a bit long in the tooth? Might it hold you back?
  • Opportunities: Have your salespeople researched your market so that your prospects are up to date?
  • Threats: Is a competitor offering more options than you are, e.g., a similar product to yours but with extra bells and whistles that you don’t have?

 

  1. Be sure you know your current financial position

Take some time to talk to an accountant and make sure you know exactly where your business stands financially. Chances are, you check up on your financial situation regularly. But as part of planning it’s not a bad idea to do an extra check by reading over:

  • The balance sheet that tallies your assets, your liabilities and any profit (equity) your company has. The balance sheet shows your business’s net worth monthly, quarterly and yearly.
  • The income statement that details your revenues, expenses and profits for a given period.
  • Cash-flow statements so you can see exactly where your revenues came from and what you spend money on.
  • Cash-flow projections that make it easier for you to manage your cash flow, e.g., to pinpoint low points for revenues and set aside cash to get through those periods.

Again, remember: In terms of time, you’re in the catbird seat. You’re planning early, without daunting deadlines staring you in the face. That means you can plan without stress. You can plan thoughtfully and well.

 

Here’s some further reading we found useful: