Perhaps we have beaten our readers over the head with this over the last eight months, but we are celebrating our 85th year in publication in 2011 and are quite proud. The NEWS used this occasion to do a complete redesign of the print publication (which you are looking at now for the first time) and a complete revamp of, which will be happening in the next couple of weeks. We think in both instances we have improved the final product so it will be clearer and easier to read and navigate.

When we had our staff meeting to discuss how to promote these changes, discussion turned to the media kit (a booklet of all our products that we give to potential advertisers). The verbiage on the cover of this booklet began a debate that would have made Noah Webster and Larry David proud.

Our marketing manager had put “Redefined” in big, bold letters. Most of the editors and one sales rep (who knew they could define words?) objected to that word. To us it sounded like we had gotten it wrong for 85 years and were just now getting around to changing it. Other terms including redesigned, reinvented, and such were bantered about. Eventually the publisher got frustrated enough just to have “2012 Media Kit” on the cover and left the words debate for Scrabble.

The point of this story is that if it is so difficult to put a description on change, it is probably about 10 times as hard to actually change. But the simple fact is that all companies — be they in publishing or HVAC (or in our case, both) — need to constantly be evolving. And the establishment of a culture of company change and maturation is not pushed through by the secretary or Suzie in payroll; instead it needs to come from the leaders in the company. I am talking about owners, presidents, CEOs, etc. That was certainly the case with The NEWS; both the publisher and CEOs of the company push us to constantly reinvent ourselves and lead in the marketplace.

Leaders Need to Lead

So, as the leader of your company, make sure you are fostering an environment that says the status quo is not acceptable. There are numerous ways to accomplish this goal, but the first important aspect is to make sure your people know everyone in the company is a part of this process. It should make no difference where the idea comes from — a good idea is a good idea.

It is also important to remember that while not every idea works, you can’t let the failures stop you from trying new things. The past is littered with “new Coke” ideas that have been debacles. But you should not let the bad prevent you from trying again. Maybe that next half-baked idea that comes out of a staff meeting will lead to great growth in your company.

Another option is to reward your staff with ideas that get implemented and are successful. I am not talking about breaking the bank on bonuses, but I bet a $50 restaurant gift card would be enough for the staff to take a few minutes on their drive to work to try to come up with a great idea to move the company forward.

Every aspect of the business should be fair game. There are numerous ways you can push your company forward. You can engage in social media, change your marketing plan, and streamline how you do business. Obviously, you should not be changing just to change. But I am pretty sure not one company in this country is doing everything right.

In the National Football League there is a saying that if you are staying the same, you are losing ground. So you can call it whatever makes you feel good — reinvent, redesign, or even redefine. Just make sure you do it.

And while you are doing it, enjoy the new version of this publication. There just might be an idea or two you can pull from these articles that could be implemented in your business.

Publication date: 08/15/2011