Tuesday - Friday | August 25-28, 2020

Georgia World Congress Center | Atlanta, GA | USA

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Understanding the Human Side of Organizational Change

25. July 2018 14:53

By Christine Corelli, IWF Atlanta Conference Speaker          

An abundance of manufacturers and woodworking businesses in this industry have gone through mergers, acquisitions, consolidation, restructuring, downsizing and other sure-fire methods to ensure business survival over the past few years. One thing is for sure. Even the economy is growing and many businesses are thriving new strategies and methods of doing business will continue to take place in the foreseeable future.

In today’s business climate, we are faced with new competitors who are emerging—many from non-traditional sources with new business models. Customers are more cost-conscious than ever and have even higher service expectations. Today, it’s all about the “customer experience.” Technology is changing so rapidly what we have is quickly outdated. We have been saying we are now a “global” economy since the early 90’s, but today we are truly global.

Overall, smart businesses are raising the bar for performance, implementing the latest technology, striving to deliver the highest level of customer service, and changing the way they do business.

These are just a few changes executives and business owners are making in their businesses today. But change implementation brings challenges.


  1. The implementation of new technology can cause chaos in an entire company. Many managers have told me their people struggled for two months with their new business system and didn’t have a single day without frustration when it was first implemented.
  2. In this industry, few people working in showrooms have had any type of formal sales training. They may be proficient in cabinetry and design but many lack critical sales communication, and relationship building skills. Some are even uncomfortable when striving to open a dialogue.
  3. When a merger or acquisition occurs, dealers tend to be more focused on the financial and marketing aspects of the merger and fail to conduct due diligence on their respective corporate cultures. Far too often, the “merging” of the cultures into a single entity gets put on the backburner. Employees will be concerned. Will their sales people be better than us? Whose systems or procedures will they use? Will there be “US vs “Them” mentality? Who will get what position? Will I have a new boss? What practices will be integrated into the new company? Will I still fit in? Will conflict occur?
  1. When there is a change in policy sales managers face the challenge of finding an approach that their sales people will accept if the policy change is something their customers will want to hear. Sales people tend to have two motivators – money and recognition. If they are concerned with a change that will affect either of those the result will be an unhappy sales force.
  2. When a decision is made to establish a branch in another state or country it was not done without careful thought. Yet, making it work is indeed a major challenge. What will the employees be like? Will they have a strong work ethic? Will it truly help us to increase revenue and profitability? Who can we relocate to manage the operation and make it work?

One of the most important facets of leadership excellence is the ability to implement changes necessary for business growth and profitability as smoothly and quickly as possible.  Understanding “the human side of change” is important. As you review the following stages that exist for most businesses, during organizational change, think of the people in your company. Do these sound familiar?

Five Stages Most Human Beings Experience During Change

  1. Resistance

Some people, especially those who are like doing things the same way they’ve always done them may resist change. You can recognize resistance easily as the individual will complain, withdraw, or suddenly become unsupportive. There may be loud or whispered vocal protests. Some may tell you they will “do what they have to do" to keep their job, but underneath it all, they are unhappy.

While this stage can be very frustrating, be aware that it's often part of the normal process people go through when confronted with major change. The reason is that human beings are basically creatures of habit. They like doing things the same way.

  1. Uncertainty

Many individuals will be uncertain about their ability to do what has been asked of them. They may be concerned with whether they will be able to produce and deliver and may be having difficulty with new skills they must learn for sales or new technology. Worse, they will worry about their jobs. Some will express uncertainty and negativity as to whether the changes that have been made will really benefit their department or company. They may feel unconnected to what is happening around them.  They may be experiencing stress symptoms - physical, emotional or mental that are attributed to change.  If the individual does not receive strong support and help from their immediate manager, it can take far longer to get from Stage 2 to Stage 5.

  1. Assimilation

If change is implemented effectively, you will begin to recognize that people are beginning to incorporate the changes that you have made, you will recognize less resistance and uncertainty, and application of new skills, or processes they are beginning to apply.

  1. Integration

When you see people beginning to work more productively integration is taking place. If you have the right people on your team, you will see your top performers come forward with ideas on more effective ways of doing things.

Many companies are guilty of underutilizing employees' suggestions and ideas and are not taking full advantage of them.  Great ideas are generally the collaboration of many ideas, generated by many people.  There are great ideas by people in the field and in every job-role, but you won't know unless you ask for their input and ideas. If you don’t your employees won't feel as if they are part of the change; they'll feel more like victims of change.

  1. Acceptance – Higher Performance

When your people have accepted the changes that have occurred and have implemented the changes you will see an increase in productivity. If you have done it right, you’ll also see an improvement in morale. The key is to move them to this stage as quickly as possible.

What You Can Count On:

The world has changed. Business has changed. It will continue to change. All businesses and individuals will have to adjust to what will occur.  And we will have to make changes in our companies as we move into the future.  But no change initiative can succeed without the complete support of your employees. 

How to Implement Change Successfully

Gather Your Troops to Communicate the Reason for Change, Your Direction and Goals.

Be sure everyone understands the vision of where you want your company to go and why. Make them a part of the change process so that they assume ownership. Explain that changes such as a reorganization, creating a High-Performance Culture, using a new HR software system, acquiring another business, or implementing new technology are necessary in order to remain competitive and to continue to grow. Communicate values, management goals, and direction to every level of the company: "With the new culture we will create, we will strive for excellence in all we do. Whatever it takes, we are committed to helping everyone adjust to the changes. It may take time to adjust, but I'm counting on each and every one of you to do your part you to make it happen."

Encourage Acceptance and Help Them See Positive Opportunities At The Onset.         

Speak in terms of positive outcomes. Encourage support, and make employees feel a sense of excitement about themselves and the company as you grow together: "We will be more productive, and our success will benefit everyone. If everyone does their part, together, we can accomplish our goals. And as we move forward, we'll be the best company in our industry.

Let Your Employees Know Their Involvement is Mandatory and That They Must Be Solution Focused, Not Problem-focused.

Employee involvement is the key to managing change and creating high performance Ask your team for their ideas on how you can support each other. Ask them how you can help each other to ease the transition process. Many dealers are guilty of underutilizing the ideas and suggestions of their people when going through change, and do not take full advantage of their knowledge and experience. If employees are not involved, they won't feel they are a part of the change; they'll feel more like victims of change.  

Be Solution-Focused

"For every problem there is a solution," should be a motto in your company. As problems occur during change, many people will likely wait for management to fix them. That's why at the onset of change let your people know they are expected to help identify problems and focus on offering solutions. Changes rarely occur without glitches, so ask them brainstorm ways to solve the problems, especially those that will prevent you from providing flawless service. "I want each of you to come forward with ideas on how to improve productivity and provide the highest level of service to our customers so that we develop a reputation for World Class Customer Service

Ask for Accountability.

Ask your people to be accountable to each other for demonstrating teamwork, maintaining high morale, and giving their full support to the sales and product support teams. Placing an equal value on leadership, teamwork, professional behavior, performance, and accountability, you and your team will be able to provide better service to both customers and to each other.

Maintain Open Communication and an Open-Door Policy.

Open communication is important in every organization at all times, but it becomes even more critical during times of change. As you implement the change, consider developing a concurrent communication strategy to remind people what the expectations are, and the progress you are making in your change efforts.

Be in Tune to Difficulties Some May Be Experiencing

Recognize that most people fear change but it affects each one differently. Some will be more adaptable than others will. Many high-performers may enjoy being stretched beyond their present comfort zone, but others may be completely overwhelmed. You need to let them know you understand the challenges they are facing and your job as a leader is to help them through it. Keep your door open so people can come in to discuss any apprehension. Provide a comfortable environment where people can air their concerns. It's normal for people to resist change, so the more patience you show the sooner they will adapt.

Ask how your people are doing. Listen, and encourage cooperation and honesty. Talk to that person who is coming to work with a chip on his shoulder. Ask what you can do to help. Encourage upward feedback from everyone on his or her attitudes, concerns, issues and frustrations that are related to the change.

Be a Role Model

It is up to you and your entire management team to maintain employee morale. Set the tone; be a role model and be an example for others to follow. Let your team know that you are there to help them through it. Be accountable for the attitude that YOU bring to your job each day and remind your management team to do the same. Remember this leadership rule:  Never let your guard down when it comes to your attitude.

Take the Time to Train

To thwart loss of productivity during change, you need to make sure your people have the necessary skills to succeed. Training must be seen as a top priority. The time you invest in training will eventually pay off in high levels of customer loyalty and increased profitability.

Stay Focused.

Remind yourself and your team to stay focused on the customer and on your competitive strategy. Here’s an acronym you might want to use.

Forward Thinking

Optimistic Attitude

Customer Directed

Urgency to Execute

Success as a Unified Team

Alleviate job pressure

Meeting the demands placed upon people during change requires managing job pressure for you and others. Laugh a little! Change may be serious, but people who have fun at work are more productive, provide higher levels of service, and are less anxious during change. Encourage an upbeat atmosphere and remind your employees to take it one day at a time.

You've heard the old adage “The only constant is change." Yes, change is inevitable, and necessary to create and sustain success in business today, but it doesn't have to be agonizing. If you make a conscious effort to help your people through change and implement strategies to ease the transition, you can build a build a better business.

© 2018, Christine Corelli & Associates, Inc.  Christine Corelli has had a distinguished 25 year career as an international keynote speaker, workshop facilitator, and business columnist. She has authored business six books, including the best-selling, Wake Up and Smell the Competition. Her clients are characterized by Fortune 500 companies, major trade associations, and an abundance of mid-size and small companies. To learn more visit https://www.christinespeaks.com - To contact her for an upcoming meeting, conference or special event, call (847) 477-7376.














Hardwood Edging - Part 3

25. July 2018 10:27

By: Scott Grove, Furniture Design: ScottGrove.com

Adding curves to any project substantially increases its complexity, and applying curved inlay compounds the process.

I’ll be sharing a new system that uses accurately-cut templates and template guides on a router, which allow you to cut on either side of the table field and hardwood edge seam. The same template is used to cut an inlay directly centered on the seam, as well as cut the outside edge that is parallel to the seam. Once set up, edging can be applied to any curve, precisely, perfectly, and very quickly.

There are many ways to sequence this system of templates; I have broken the steps down individually for easier comprehension for demonstration purposes. Once you have a good understanding of the concept, you can combine or rearrange a few steps and overlap cuts to speed up the process. I have outlined and illustrated a few variations in my handout and in my book: Hardwood Edging and Inlay for Curved Tables published by Schiffer Publishing.

By adding a fine detailed accent, inlays can take your work to the next level. Fine woven patterns and decorative designs can be created with just about any material to add just the right touch of WOW! and introduce an entirely new creative aesthetic to your woodworking projects.

In this demonstration, I will cover a wide spectrum of materials and techniques for a variety of alternative inlays, from fine silver wire filigree to natural translucent minerals, UV cured resin, mother of pearl from EasyInlay.com, turquoise, glow in the dark pigments, and synthetic stone.

Join me to learn more at IWF: Curved Joinery, Edges and Inlays on Friday, August 24th from 1:00 PM - 2:30 PM


What You Need to Know About Wilsonart® Compact and SOLICOR™ Compact Laminate

24. July 2018 12:09

With Wilsonart’s Compact and SOLICOR Compact products, multiple projects doesn’t necessarily mean multiple materials! Whether it’s commercial or residential countertops, office and reception desks, wall panels and cladding, work surfaces, lockers or shelving, Wilsonart’s Compact and SOLICOR Compact has your back.

This material was built to handle just about anything! Life is messy and hard, but our Compact’s scratch-resistant quality makes it life-friendly. Installers love how easy it is to work with, making it the perfect alternative to porcelain options. The durability of Compact eliminates the need to worry about possible cracks, abrasions and moisture damage. This long-lasting product gives specifiers the confidence to install in high traffic, high wear, high use and high abuse areas - exactly where it is meant to be!

Better yet, SOLICOR Compact offers a selection of solid color cores that lets you design visually crisp and stunning spaces. Instead of a traditional black core, this color through products makes it possible to achieve a sleek, cohesive design, while maintaining the dependable durability of a Compact surface.

Visit Wilsonart in Booth C-1958 to view the new “Thinscape Performance Tops” for the Residential industry.

To dive deeper into the durability of Wilsonart® Compact and SOLICOR™ Compact, join us on Tuesday, August 21st at the “Techniques and Time-Savers for Engineered Surfacing Products” symposium.


Effective Estimating that leads to Bullet Proof Proposals - Part 4

24. July 2018 12:08

By: Bobbo Buckley, Software Developer: Cabinotch Innovative Solutions

Effective Estimating that leads to Bullet Proof Proposals - BMG10

In addition to having a 3 tiered pre-qualifying cost method like I described in the last post of this series, we also need to provide our prospective customers with three Estimates. This is another reason to have a powerful estimating system that allows you to provide these additional Estimates and/or Proposals quickly and easily.

My personal experience with doing this was nothing but positive. By providing every client three Estimates, you win some projects simply because you have fulfilled their innate desire to get three prices (the three Estimate mantra is drilled into us throughout our lifetime, but no one ever said the three Estimates have to be from three different companies). Many people will be satisfied with your three Estimates and simply choose the one that fits their budget or desires.

Another common issue this three Estimate methodology solves is the client that does not know what their budget is, and just goes shopping for Estimates from multiple vendors. The early Estimate providers lose out in this process because they have provided an Estimate based on what the client asked for, but the client could not afford what they asked for. Each successive Estimate gets closer to what they can afford because each time they find a new vendor, they trim their selections to more realistic things they can afford. If you are one of the early Estimators, you lose, if you are the last guy, you win. When you provide this client an Estimate for your lowest possible selections, an Estimate for your typical selections and an Estimate for your best of the best selections, this client will more often than not either just go with the Estimate they can afford, or at least come back to review your low cost Estimate (I personally won a lot more jobs in that lower tier of selections after I started providing three Estimates to everyone).

And last, but certainly not least, by providing these three Estimates, some clients will upgrade to the better selection set. I found that I left a lot of money on the table for a whole lot of years by not doing this. Many of my clients upgraded just because they saw the value in the higher grade of door, drawer front, finish, etc., but never dreamed the difference would be within their reach.

We will cover this process in depth during this session, and I will illustrate how I quickly and easily create these three price point Estimates.




The CNC Machine: An Overview

24. July 2018 12:06

By: Leland Thomasset: Taghkanic Woodworking

There are several different types of CNC machines that are used in today’s woodworking shops. However, for this discussion, we are going to focus on the nested-based router.

Flat Bed Nested Base CNC 3-Axis with Boring Block  

These machines are great for producing custom cabinetry use nested-based software.
To review, nested based manufacturing is where all of the cabinet parts for a job are optimized and laid out on sheets of material. The CNC first works on any operations that happen within the part outline. In other words, it will drill all construction and line boring holes. It will then cut any dados, grooves or lounges. The final operation would be to cut the parts out of the sheet.
That being said, these machines are not limited to sheet goods. They can be used for surface texturing, curved moldings, 3D parts/carvings, etc. Your only limitation will be your Z-axis clearance and your imagination.
Some other features available on these machines would be a C-axis, which is a rotary axis on the spindle which would be used with an aggregate head for operations that may happen on the side of a part with a ball nose bit – they may be a saw blade or grooving saw mounted on a spindle or a combination of both. Some machines come with multiple spindles and duel beds for higher volume operations. Automatic loaders and off loaders are becoming more common and compact.
As always it is important to know what it is that you need to accomplish and to purchase the proper machine configuration for your company’s needs.
To learn more, attend “Boundary-pushing with your Nested-Based Router” during IWF to learn tips and tricks from myself and two other veteran CNC owners.


Are you ready to grow your business?

23. July 2018 12:59

One-day Expanding your Business into the U.S., held in collaboration with International Wood Fair (IWF), on Tuesday, August 21, 2018 will focus on helping companies from around the world evaluate the opportunity to expand their business to the United States.

Using tools from the lean startup methodology, currently used by entrepreneurs around the world, participants will evaluate the market expansion opportunity. 

The program will include topics like identifying customer segments, evaluating potential partners and assessing the risk of expansion.  

Suitable for CEOs, COOs, VPs of sales and international affairs, business development professionals from any industry may benefit from this workshop.


Link: http://iwfatlanta.com/Education/SFT


Why Concrete is Ideal for Residential Remodeling

23. July 2018 12:35

Remodeling the kitchen or bathroom are great ways to update a home’s look and functionality and add the personal touch it deserves. Today kitchens have become rooms where the majority of living occurs, and they are also rooms where money spent on remodeling yields the highest return on investment. Inevitably the quest to beautify the home will involve the coordination of cabinets with countertops.
If you currently fabricate laminate countertops to go with your cabinet work, I'd like to introduce you to a new option: Concrete! Concrete is ideal for residential remodels because when people remodel, they always personalize, and they always upgrade. Concrete is a high end, custom surface that represents a big upgrade from laminate - and a lot more money in your pocket.
Here are a few ways that concrete countertop craftspeople can add a homeowner’s personal touch to their projects:
- Color: Concrete can be colored through integral pigmentation, surface staining, or dying. Sheer endless colorations and dramatic effects can be created.
- Embedments and inlays: Think decorative stone chips, river pebbles, recycled glass, stainless steel chips, even mirror glass. Inlays allow for even greater focal points. Those are much larger objects that can be placed inside the countertop form before concrete is poured. You can expose tile, gem stones, and even metal objects.
- Drainboards and trivets: Add functional design right into your countertops! Drainboards can be lowered sections of the countertop, or simply grooves that were cast into the counter. Trivets are usually raised metal rails that are integrated into the concrete.
- Go 3-D: One of concrete’s greatest advantages is that you are not bound to a typical 3 cm thick slab. Create the illusion of thickness by dropping the front edge 10” if you like. Integral concrete sinks are popular choices and a welcome reprieve from the standard undermount sink option. Intricate 3-dimensional design is among the favorite design techniques exclusive to concrete fabrication.
With concrete, if you (or your client or designer) can imagine it, you can do it!  Learn more about this during the "Leapfrog from Laminate to High End Concrete" session at the IWF Education Conference.


Technology and the Human Hand - Are We Losing Touch? - Part 3

23. July 2018 12:26

When you’re reading a trade magazine, attending a class, or watching a video, keep in mind that editors, school administrators, and hosts don’t necessarily have their 10,000-hour master craftsman background in the trade they represent. Running a magazine or managing a school doesn’t require master craftsmanship: they require master writers and master administrators. However, these institutions have a financial business model that validates the information they disseminate, or they wouldn’t stay in business.
By: Scott Grove, Furniture Designer: ScottGrove.com

I’m more concerned with online forums: I see popular YouTube sites that have a lot of subscribers, but hosts are demonstrating unsafe practices without acknowledging their lack of skill or giving a don’t-try-this-at-home warning. How does someone differentiate between a weekend warrior looking for 15 their minutes of fame and the sincere master who want to share quality information as well as make a living?
Don’t get me wrong: there are many schools, publications, and YouTubers that do a great job of teaching, like the colleagues on my upcoming panel discussion. The New England School of Architectural Woodworking, Marc Adams School of Woodworking, FDM+C, Fine Woodworking, Stumpy Nubbs, and Woodworking Guild of America are all top quality outlets. But how do you tell what is safe and what isn’t, when you’re just learning, too?
Please join me to discuss these and other questions with a panel of media experts: we’ll weed through all the information and get to the truth. Thursday, August 23rd from 3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
Will Sampson, Editor, FDMC Magazine
Greg Larson, Director, New England School of Architectural Woodwork
Jim Hamilton, Author and Host, Stumpy Nubs Woodworking YouTube channel
George Vondriska, Host, Woodworkers Guild of America


How to Choose the Right Wood Glue

23. July 2018 12:20

Finding reliable wood glue for your next project can seem like a pretty straight forward choice. You have a wood project, you need wood glue. Can it get more complicated than that?

The sticky reality is that there are many varieties of wood glue to choose from and the right one for your project depends on the specific type of intended application and uses.

Do you need wood-to-wood assembly, wood-to-HPL assembly, or wood-to-Veneer assembly? What if you need it for panel manufacturing, which is best a hot or cold press? Will it dry yellow or clear? Maybe you’re tackling a fine woodworking project which extends the gamut of considerations to furniture, cutting boards, interior and exterior applications to name a few.

Well there’s a right choice for each one! Below is a list of four popular variants of wood glue that each offer specific benefits depending on your application needs.

Wilsonart® White Glue (WA 10) is a fast-setting, PVA adhesive when faster machine times are required.

  • Benefits Strong Bond, Sands like Real Wood When Dry, UV dye for Finishing Ease, GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified
  • Best for Assembly, Panel Manufacturing and Wood-to-Wood Applications
  • Dries Clear When Dry

Wilsonart® Wood Glue (WA 30) is a high-strength, fast-setting, yellow PVA adhesive ideal for woodworking.

  • Benefits Strong Bond, Sands like Real Wood When Dry, UV dye for Finishing Ease, GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified
  • Best for Assembly, Cold and Hot Press, and Wood-to-Wood Applications
  • Dries Yellow When Dry

Wilsonart® Type II Glue (WA Type II) is a one part, fast-setting, PVA adhesive for when water-resistance is required.

  • Benefits Water-resistant, GREENGUARD Indoor Air Quality Certified
  • Best for Assembly, Cold and Hot Press, and Wood-to-Wood Applications
  • Dries Clear When Dry

Wilsonart® Melamine Glue (WA M) is an acrylic-based adhesive to bond non-porous materials to wood and composite surfaces.

  • Benefits Strong Bond, Specifically for Prefinished Surfaces (lacquered, painted, UV-coated), Very Low Odor
  • Best for Assembly
  • Dries Clear When Dry

Still not sure if you know which wood glue is the right one for you? Wilsonart also has a handy online Adhesives Selection Tool to help narrow down your choices. Check it out!

Have more questions about the different types of wood glues on the market and which one is the best choice for your next project? Join us at the “Techniques and Time-Savers for Engineered Surfacing Products” on Tuesday, August 21st.


The NEW Neutrals

23. July 2018 12:18

Neutral colors and matte finishes have come on strong in the last few years for both kitchen & bath and home organization cabinetry, solidifying them as staples in our design palettes. For 2018 Northern Contours has introduced a fresh addition to the staple neutrals we've come to know and love—like shades of grey—by infusing them with livable color. We're ready to welcome shades of deep and dusty blue, soothing aloe, and millennial pink into our homes, enlivening our spaces with comfortable color and contrast. Pairing well with woodgrains, stones, and their staple neutral cousins, these versatile and colorful shades are the New Neutrals.


Northern Contours’ SuperMatte 3D Laminates in a range of colorful options offer a maintenance-free alternative to painted cabinet doors. SuperMatte cabinet doors entice with their silky-soft, smooth, and seamless finish and feature a durable, engineered core that will not expand or contract with environmental changes. 3D Laminates are also low-maintenance and easily cleaned with just soap and water.  SuperMattes are available in slab, shaker & classic cabinet door styles, miter folded floating shelves, and surfacing materials to help you create closets, laundry rooms, home office spaces, and more in charming, livable color.   

Join Michele Weitzel for her presentation “What’s Trending in Colors and Textures” at the IWF 2018 Closets Symposium to learn more about colorful SuperMatte 3D Laminates from Northern Contours.
About Northern Contours
Northern Contours is a cabinet door and components manufacturer with over 25 years of industry experience. We serve a variety of customers on a custom and volume basis in Kitchen & Bath, Home Organization, Commercial Furniture, and Refacing markets. Manufacturing expertise in membrane pressing, miter folding, laminating & edgebanding, machining & routing, and 5-piece door assembly. We operate six facilities throughout the US and Canada for full coverage of North America.