The Online Magazine For The Sign Trade
e-NewsLetter Volume 6 Issue 12
Wednesday, June 15th, 2005

In this issue:


Mistakes Can Improve Learning

    "Criticism ... makes very little dent upon me, unless I think there is some real justification and something should be done."
      --- Eleanor Roosevelt

Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric, once said, "I've learned that mistakes can often be as good a teacher as success." Mr. Welch encouraged his employees to venture out and make mistakes. Of course, he wasn't promoting failure, but freedom. He wanted employees to dream, invent, and create.

If we believe that making mistakes improves learning, then why is it that our first reaction to an employee's mistake is to criticize him or her? Obviously, we believe that the mistake cost us money, but there is a better way to react.

    "While criticism or fear of punishment may restrain us from doing wrong, it does not make us wish to do right."
     --- Bruno Bettelheim

The first step to take if someone on your team makes a mistake is to confront the employee in private. Nothing kills motivation in an employee faster than embarrassing them in front of coworkers and customers. Showing respect for the employee by going to a private location allows that person to "save face" and to be more receptive and less defensive to your statements.

    "To make a criticism is a bit like complaining about the shape of the Pyramids."
     --- Piers Brendon

The second step is to remember to refrain from criticism. Someone may be asking, "How can I correct future mistakes without criticizing the employee?" The answer is that you point out the mistake only, but don't criticize the individual. Criticism only attacks the person, but does nothing to correct the mistake. The key is to keep the two separate.

Instead of saying "How could you allow this to happen? You are such a (fill in the blank)" You might try, "How did this happen?" Do you see the difference? The first approach focuses on the person. The second focuses on the incident, which is what you want corrected anyway.

    "Any fool can criticize, condemn and complain...and most fools do."
      --- Dale Carnegie

The third step is to find an alternative way to approach employee mistakes. This gets tricky because you have to know the personalities of your team. Knowing what motivates each employee is essential to a successful team. Professional football and baseball coaches realize this simple fact. They study players and know what it takes to get each one to perform to their highest potential.

We don't have the resources that NFL teams have to examine each and every team member, but if they've been with you for even a short period of time, you can determine what it is that keeps them coming back to work. Customize this knowledge to address mistakes with every employee rather than taking the easy way by criticizing.

    "Punishing honest mistakes stifles creativity. I want people moving and shaking the earth and they're going to make mistakes."
      --- Ross Perot

Finally, if the mistake was made because the employee was stretching outside of his or her job description, praise them for taking the risk. If all of your team members worked inside of their scope and you are the only one trying to take the company to new plateaus, you'll be dragging a heavy ship. It will be like swimming in glue. Your team needs the freedom to make some mistakes in order to help you achieve your business objectives.

Encourage co-workers and employees this week to take some chances. Listen to their ideas. They are in the trenches with their hands and minds working the projects daily. Ask for their input and empower them to act out those ideas that profit everyone.

ISA Southwest Sign Show
- Dallas, Texas
June 23-25, 2005

Top 5 Reasons to Attend the Southwest Sign Show in Dallas

    5. Over 120 projected exhibitors. All in one place.
    4. See, touch, and learn about the newest products and trends in your business.
    3. Network with more than 1,500 people serious about learning the latest information available to control costs and work more efficiently.
    2. Get a jump start and renew your Texas electrical license for 2006.
    1. No better way to Make Your Mark in Texas.

Stay current. Enjoy Dallas. See the best products available to improve your quality and increase your margin.

Download the Registration Form here:

Feature Articles

Starting a New Sign Business
By Johnny Duncan

For those who are considering venturing into a new business in the sign industry, we welcome you to the family. The sign profession is one of the oldest in our country. Signs have been a fundamental element in trade, commerce and industry for centuries.
Read the article...

LED Street-side Pylons: A Totem for Business Communications
By Louis Brill

Combining electronic message centers with street-side pylons or main marquees to create a contemporary look for customer's roadside presences.
Read the article...

Revitalizing Vegas Vic
By Fran Schilson

A graphic arts icon taking to the road...and a few trade shows to boot!
Read the article...

Looking for an article or trying to find an old one? Check out the article archive:
      View the archive now

New Technology. New Techniques. New Orleans! - Specialty Imaging Comes Together at SGIA ’05
New Orleans, Louisiana -- Sept. 28 - Oct. 1, 2005

The Specialty Printing & Imaging Technology Show
With more than 450 exhibitors and 14,000 attendees, SGIA '05 ( is where you'll find the latest technological innovations in specialty imaging. New technologies, new substrates, new inks and new processes mean exciting ideas and opportunities to save and make money.

Make the innovations work for you. Industry experts lead workshops on how these technologies can transform your specialty imaging business and leave your competition in the dust.

Traditional margins are shrinking. Competition is increasing. Customers are demanding more for less. Decide whether you'll profit or perish. SGIA '05 opens your eyes to the challenges, discoveries, and solutions of today's specialty imaging.

From POP to Ts, signs to decals, wide-format to golf balls -see the future of specialty graphic imaging up close at SGIA '05.

Product Showcases

New Technology. New Techniques. New Orleans! - Specialty Imaging Comes Together at SGIA ’05
Diverse printing technologies converge at SGIA ’05 — and that makes it the one show you’ve been waiting for. Come to experience a world of new, lucrative opportunities for edging out the competition, increasing profit margins, retaining customers and attracting new ones. With more than 450 key suppliers and 50 of the industry’s best seminars, SGIA '05 is where the best ideas, new technologies, and exciting developments will come together to help you take your sign business to the next level. Register Online Now!
Read on...

Bulk Eco Ink for Roland/Mutoh Printers at 50% discount
Click above for these and other featured products from JSI Sign Systems
Read on...

Home Run Deal: Save $2500 on a VersaCAMM
Trade-up to a VersaCAMM SP-300V 30'' printer/cutter and save $2500. It's the home run deal of the summer.
Read on...

Cooley Sign & Awning Substrates Offer a World of Possibilities
Cooley's full line of flexible, eradicable sign and awning products has a proven record of producing outstanding and long-lasting color. Now with the most recent addition of our Weathertyte™ waterproof awning substrate, your decorating options are virtually endless.
Read on...

COOLFLEX® dreamScape™ Digitally Printable Wall Coverings from Cooley Digital Products
Typically used for commercial and residential wall coverings, borders, indoor sign displays, trade show banners, indoor banners, murals and more. 20 oz. weight and 12 unique textured surfaces.
Read on...

Advertise here for just $90 per month.
Call or email for more details: 888-350-3357 ext. 201 or

Sign Industry News

Sign Marketplace Press Releases
See what's new and what's happening in our industry all in one place.
Go Now --->

INDUSTRY ALERT- Street Graphics and the Law
By International Sign Association

Find the history and impact of Street Graphics and the Law and see its recent revised release in October will have an impact on your clients rights and your businesses future if we don't intervene.
Read the article...

Could your co-workers use this newsletter?
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Funny Signs

Sign in a swimwear store in north Florida:

    "Our bikinis are exciting. They are simply the tops!"

Advertisement at a gas station, between San Francisco and Los Angeles on Interstate 5:

    "Kids with gas eat free!"

At a dry cleaner in Tacoma, Washington:

    "We do not tear your clothing with machinery. We do it carefully by hand."

Have you seen any funny signs lately? Why not share them with the world? Send your comments, suggestions, and hysterical observations to:

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- Wishing you much success,

  Sean Scott
  Managing Editor

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