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25. April 2016 10:10


 By:  Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx

It is surprising how the basic wood characteristics and properties affect the manufacturing process.  Therefore, it is possible to improve sawing, routing, gluing, finishing, etc. by learning about the basics.  The presenter is known for his ability to take the technical and translate it into practical.  Questions to be answered include What is the difference between hardwoods and softwoods?  What is the difference between dense woods, like oak, and low density woods like soft maple?  What are the typical properties of wood that affect gluing, machine and finishing?

Come learn more about this topic at Wood 101. All about Wood for Manufacturers and Woodworkers session at the IWF 2016 Education Conference.


Pricing for Profitability

25. April 2016 10:06

Pricing for Profitability

By: David Buschsbaum, Owner, Sales Manager and Chief Engineer: Beacon Custom Woodwork, Inc.

Labor, material, overhead and profit; the four basic elements to pricing. Or are they? The business world thinks in terms of fixed and variable expenses, depreciation of assets, gross margin, and breakeven points.  If you are running a business it’s critical to know how much it’s costing you to stay in business every day of the year and how much of your product or service you need to sell to cover those costs.

There’s only one way to stay in business - charge enough to cover your true costs.  By understanding your real costs of opening and operating a business you’ll have a better handle on how much you need to charge, and how much you need to sell every week or every month just to keep your doors open. 

It’s important to understand the difference between overhead, or the cost of operating your business, and the ‘cost of goods sold’, or what you spend in materials, labor and expenses to actually produce your work, and the relationship those numbers have to your total amount of sales.

With a solid framework of basic financial knowledge and a simple Excel spreadsheet you can keep track of your gross margin and determine your breakeven point – the point at which you cover your overhead and begin to create profit.  What’s yours?  We can show you how to find out.

We’ll look for hidden fixed and variable expenses, discuss how and why to consider depreciation of assets, how to calculate owner/operator value, and how to determine your “true” hourly rate based on efficiencies – and it may surprise you.     

Think like a cabinetmaker and you will spend your days making cabinets.  If you want to grow your business, create wealth for your family and your employees and really contribute to your community, you have to start thinking like a business owner.  Find out what you need to know to be able to price your work at a profit.

To learn more on this subject register for the Pricing for Profitability session at the IWF 2016 Education Conference.


Conflict Can Destroy You or Make You Great

22. April 2016 07:10

Conflict Can Destroy You or Make You Great

By Christine Corelli, IWF Conference Speaker


When you think of the word “conflict” you likely associate it with the words friction, disharmony, rivalry, disagreement, clash, dissonance, disunity, and yes…stress. “Not seeing eye-to-eye” might come to mind as well. None of these conditions are healthy, but they are not uncommon in any business.

Get Real

Realistically, a business or a life without conflict is a pipedream! We don’t live in a perfect world. There are no perfect people, perfect teams, or perfect companies.  But when conflict occurs or exists in the workplace, it must be resolved. If it is not, it can to negative and unproductive consequences - anxiety, victimization, anger, intimidation, blame, resentment, morale problems, even power plays that intensify problems and waste time and energy. This holds true whether conflict exists between two individuals, teams, or even between departments or branches.

What happens if you ignore conflict

Not being willing to resolve conflict can make it fester, destroy relationships and create an unhealthy work environment.  Even if the conflict is just between two individuals, it makes others uncomfortable, and tends to create a negative work environment. This can impact your bottom line in a big way.

Good news

The good news is that most conflict can be resolved and worked out in mutually satisfactory ways.  Often, there are workable options that an individual will not even see until they become open to the concept of working through the conflict, rather than allowing problems and people to fester.   It can even be a healthy way to bring important issues to light and strengthen relationships.

Common causes

Common causes of conflict in the workplace are rarely about things. Most are about respect. For example, if you or anyone in your company has experienced any of these feelings you will have a conflict situation.

•  “My right to decide is being weakened.”                                 

•  "I feel taken for granted."

•  “My right to control is being jeopardized.”                                           

•  "Why should I say anything? It doesn’t do any good.”

•  “My judgment and my ideas are not being considered.”

•  “I never get credit for anything.”

•  “My prestige and my status are being questioned.”

•   “I never feel I am appreciated for anything.”         

•  “My feelings don’t count here.”

•  "I feel unfairly treated, defeated, powerless, inferior.”      

•  "I know I'm right and they won't listen to me."

What do people do when they have any of these feelings? They either dig and their heels and fight, or they retreat. They stop coming forth with ideas. They go through the motions of their job and cease to put forth any real effort because they feel undervalued and underappreciated.

More Causes - Personality Clashes

Sometimes, conflict can occur when there are personality clashes with people. One person may not like the other individual’s work style. Another cause can be a lack of understanding between left-brained, and right-brained people. “Number’s Guys,” or analytical people may not be able to understand and relate to highly creative people. Jealousy over someone’s salary, or someone else getting credit instead of the person who should get credit can also create conflict.

Your Culture, Itself can Cause Conflict

Far too often, today’s workplace environment triggers it. Think about your workplace. If any of these conditions exist, you don’t have a healthy work environment, and you do not have a workplace for high-performance, where teamwork, respect, and service excellence permeate your company.

•  Too much competition and not collaboration, such as when successful

   branches do not share best practices or top sales pros don’t help new sales


• “Territorialism” or “Us Vs. Them” mentality

•  Negativity and bad attitudes that pull people down instead of a bringing a

    positive attitude to work each day.

•  Changes put into place and decisions being made without getting opinions of those that will be affected.

•  Personality clashes in the leadership team             

•  Favoritism from management instead of “We are all equals.”

•  “Micro-managing,” instead of training to enable people, then


•  Under-performers who get away with doing only what is required, where top

    performers must take up the slack

•  Too much “red-tape” instead of simple, and easy processes and procedures

•  Lack of respect for others’ opinions, ideas, and feelings




Steps to handle conflict with another individual -

Sometimes it’s best to walk away until you calm down and think about how you will handle the conflict. Sometimes it’s handling a situation right on the spot.

What is most important is to build and maintain relationships that work.

Step # 1 – Manage Your State of Mind

To successfully resolve conflict open-minded, begin by willing to let go of blame, or any issues from the past. Instead focus on “fixing” the issue or relationship.  Keep your emotions in control, and be willing to listen to the other person put yourself in their position.

Step # 2  - Communicate with the other individual and in privacy.

Address the situation and be assertive. Not to be confused with aggressive people, assertive people have a high-affinity for themselves and for others.   They know what they want, and how they feel.  Most important, they know how to communicate those feelings to others in a non-combative manner.  They are usually healthy both physically and mentally because they can express themselves and they rarely keep things inside.  They have a high sense of self-esteem. Learn to be assertive, and learn how to communicate with tact and diplomacy.

Step # 3 –Ask how you can make things better, or help the situation.

This may be the most important step. Stating with honesty and sincerity that you want to resolve the conflict situation, is vital to conflict resolution.

Step # 4 – Listen

As you listen to the other person’s position.  Demonstrate that you are listening.

Interject with, “I see.”  “I understand.

Step # 5 – Resolve!

Let the person know you have heard them and understand their position.

Supply the answer, but in the form of a question.                                                           

“What would happen if we can agree to…”

“It would really help me if …”

“How about if I work on __________ and if you will agree to                                            

Step # 6 - Ask for cooperation-don’t demand it. 

“Can I rely on you to...”

“Will you please?

“It would really help me if...”

“I would appreciate if you would...”

"How about if we agree to…"                                                                                         

Step # 7 Finish in a friendly fashion. 

Reaffirm your support and ask for theirs.

“I’m glad we had this talk. Can we agree to...”                                                         

“ I appreciate your cooperation."                                                          

“I’m confident we can...”

“Let’s both try…”              

Managing Conflict Between Departments or Teams

Encourage your employees to work together through their problems and conflicts in ways that work in your company’s best interest. Ask them to be open to negotiating conflicts and strive for balance.

 Competition doesn’t work. No one wins.

Remind your people that competition is the least effective method of handling conflict.  It is harmful because it intimidates people into agreement.  Individuals can become engrossed in the conflict, and be unable to separate themselves from the situation.

Collaboration works for organizational success.

Direct your team to collaborate as it is the best method of handling conflict. When people collaborate, there is a sense of trust, partnership, and coalition that come into play.  People are encouraged to generate potential solutions.  Positions are not taken, but opinions are expressed. The conflict resolution process should be an open forum for the exchange of ideas and information.  Most important, instruct them to share their thoughts, feelings, and experiences.  Remind them to not be afraid to put themselves in a vulnerable situation, because they need to consider your organization’s success and a great place to come to work each day should be their main goal.

10 Keys to Avoid Conflict in Your Culture

Avoid conflict situations in your culture with these ten keys.

  1. Everything starts and stops with leadership. Your entire leadership team should be trained on how to display dynamic leadership and treat every employee as well as they treat your best customers. Agree that no favoritism shall be displayed, and that they spend significant time to help every employee perform their job role exceptionally well. Most important, employees should be appreciated on a regular if not daily basis.  If you are a family-owned business, take off your “family” hat and display the same respect as you would if you were not relatives. 
  2. Hold regular phone conferences with branch managers to share Best practice
  3. Have your top salesperson facilitate a session how share how they are achieving success.
  4.  Train your staff on teamwork, customer service that includes internal customer service and sales. Make sure each department understands each others’ pressures and how every individual’s department affects another.
  5. Confront negative people and explain how negativity can hold back an entire team. 
  6. Ask for peoples’ opinions. This demonstrates that you respect them. 
  7.  Hold weekly meetings with GM’s, Sales Managers, and Parts and Service Managers.  Start your meeting with what went well the previous week, where improvement is needed, who is performing and who is not performing.
  8. Nip problems in the bud. When any type of conflict occurs, handle it immediately. If you are experiencing conflict with an individual, set up a time to talk and follow the seven steps. Before you do, ask yourself if you are the problem.
  9. Have your employees create “guiding principals” for how you will treat each other in the workplace. Be sure to have them include – How to Be Proactive in Preventing Problems, and how to cut red tape.
  10. Always know what’s going on in your company. That requires keeping your eyes and ears open, and asking these types of questions –

    “Is there anything I should know about?”

    “How is the new hire working out?”

    “How is the team performing?”

    “Is there anything I can do to help you?

The Bottom Line

Conflict can be resolved and even avoided if individuals have a sincere desire to do so. Letting little things go, turning the other cheek, accepting differences of opinions, letting go of the past, forgiving, compromising or at least meeting each other half-way, accepting people as they are, are just a few ways conflict can be resolved or even avoided between individuals.

Resolving conflict between departments and teams requires that you recognize your culture can make you or break you.  Work toward creating the type of culture where people enjoy coming to work each day.

There’s more you can do! Participate in the IWF educational sessions!

©Copyright, 2016, Christine Corelli & Associates, Inc. - Christine Corelli is a popular conference speaker, business columnist, consultant, and author of six business books including the best selling Wake Up and Smell the Competition and, Capture Your Competitors’ Customers and KEEP Them. To learn more visit www.christinespeaks.com, or call 847 477 7376






20. April 2016 08:29


By:  Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx

The main purpose of a rough mill is to make a profit (or contribute to the overall profit).  the profit is a result of making a better product that is worth more, wasting less, and finding trouble spots before they are a disaster. The manufacturing of parts is therefore a means to an end.  So, what are the nine main factors that affect rough mill profitability?  How can I work with these factors to improve profitability in my operation.  VERY SPECIFIC INFO IS GIVEN.

Come learn more about this topic at Rx for Enhancing Roughmill Performance session at the IWF 2016 Education Conference.


Gaining an Edge with Tooling

19. April 2016 14:23

Gaining an Edge with Tooling

Nearly 20 years ago, when I was programming my first CNC, I had a chance to have a tooling rep come out to my shop and share his knowledge with me. At the time I was running a large batch of parts that each took about 40 minutes to mill on the machine. He handed me a sample tool to mount in the CNC and try out. Once it was set up he told me the feed rate and rpm to use. I was convinced that the bit would simply snap, but he said, “It’s my tool, so don’t worry about it.” That tool, the first spiral bit I had seen, did not snap, and literally reduced my program run down to 15 minutes per piece.

This is where I first came to appreciate the value of choosing the right tooling. It is where the work gets done. Where the “rubber meets the road”, and using the wrong tool for the job is like putting street tires on a race car. You will end up in a ditch.

Tooling companies spend a tremendous amount of time and money on developing the blades and bits that they sell, and there is a surprising amount of science that goes into making them. The good news for you is that while you need to be aware of the value of proper tooling, you do not need to spend a lot of your limited time educating yourself. You have the option of building relationships with experts in the field.

Tooling dealers who stock a variety of manufacturer’s brands are a great source of expertise you can tap into. They may be a bit more expensive to buy from, but they can save you a ton on money in the long run because they know what is out there and save you the time of chasing down specialty cutters you may need, leaving you free to do what you do best.

Manufacturer’s reps can also be highly valuable. Yes, they represent one brand and want you to buy their brand, but they are often available to visit your shop, watch what you are doing as you do it, and even let you try out different tools before you buy them. 

A third option is to maintain a relationship with your equipment manufacturers. The folks who make and sell expensive equipment have a vested interest in their customers being well satisfied with their machines, and they know all too well that the wrong tooling can effect this satisfaction. 

What does all this have to do with “The Magic of Custom Tooling” seminar at IWF this year? It’s simple. Unless you recognize how big an impact choosing the right “off the shelf” tools can be for your business, it is a lot harder to see how much there is to be gained through the use of custom tooling. It goes way beyond matching profiles.

Submitted by: Ralph Bagnall, Owner: ConsultingWoodworker.com




18. April 2016 07:45


By:  Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx

At least 3/4 of all wood manufacturing defects are related to or caused by moisture.  This seminar will discuss the answers to questions:   How do I measure the MC of lumber or manufactured pieces of wood?  What are the main characteristics of moisture meters?  What are the potential trouble areas?  Why do two different meters not always agree?  Are the “fancy” parts of moisture meters (including memory, average MC, standard deviation, temperature correction, species correction) essential and useful?  Some newer moisture meters will be available for inspection.  VERY PRACTICAL.

Come learn more about this topic at MOISTURE: Effects and Measurement session at the IWF 2016 Education Conference.


Are You a Boss or a Leader

18. April 2016 07:23

Are You a Boss or a Leader

How to Demonstrate Dynamic Leadership

And Why You Should Establish a “Zero-Tolerance” for Bad Bosses in Your Business

By Christine Corelli

In far too many businesses leadership has fallen by the wayside. The economy, rising costs, demanding customers, and fierce competition has caused most equipment dealers to have little, if any, time to think about their ability to lead. Rarely do they stop and think about how much more productive and profitable they could be if they stopped and paid more attention to this critical area of business.

 Success starts and stops with an organization's leadership.  And any business is as strong, or as weak, as the leader at the helm of their workforce.

 There are five essential facets of dynamic leadership for business success.

  1. Create the vision for the business and a smart competitive strategy to achieve goals
  2. Communicate that vision, the competitive strategy and provide direction
  3. Implement changes necessary to create and sustain success
  4. Sustain the momentum through employee motivation, reward, and recognition
  5. Execute competitive strategy 

Which is most difficult? Creating a vision is not that difficult.  Creating a smart strategy is not so easy.  Communicating can always be improved upon, and implementing change can be a real challenge. Interestingly, most business owners agree that the most difficult role of the leader is #4 – employee motivation.

 Dynamic leaders run their companies on a basic business fundamental that many seem to forget:

 Employee performance is the key to success and long-term business growth. Within the motivated employee are ideas, solutions to problems, and the ability to help their dealership develop a reputation for superior customer service, not just in Product Support, but throughout the entire company.

Employee Motivation

In an ideal world, every person you hire is self-motivated. The reality is it’s always up to owner of the company or department manager to keep employees motivated for high performance.  This is not an easy task, and much depends on how employees feel about their boss.

The Boss vs the Manager vs a Dynamic Leader:

Although these three roles are supervisory in nature, they are distinctly different. Which one are you?


Simply put, a boss is someone who owns the dealership or someone with a title who tells people what to do. They pass out orders as easily as salespeople pass out business cards. "Find that tool!" "Tag that machine!" “Clean up that warehouse!” This approach is not very effective in today's world.  

 A boss is simply that. A boss. Interestingly, the Number One cause of job dissatisfaction and demotivated employees is working for a bad one! Bad bosses micromanage people, show favoritism, talk down to their staff, and shoot down ideas. They are closed-minded and their doors are closed to new ideas and new ways of doing things. They don't care about people, they only act as if they care, and their employees see right through them.  There should be a policy of "Zero-Tolerance for Bad Bosses" in every company.


A manager directs, decides, and interacts with his or her staff to oversee operations, close sales, manage parts and service departments, and overall…make sure customers are happy and people do their job. Regardless of what type of business they work in, managers are accountable to executives for results.

Dynamic Leader

If you think of every great leader both past and present, all have two things in common – 1) They not only have a vision of where he or she wants their business to go but 2) they have the ability to influence others to go with them. They eloquently communicate their vision and have an innate ability to motivate, inspire, and influence their staff to do what needs to be done - and do it well.

Smart business owners practice dynamic leadership and insist their managers do the same. They also demand that all of their managers demonstrate leadership and lead in the same way. Many are now engaged in leadership training.

By way of example, A VP of operations of a highly successful construction and material handling equipment distributor made this comment to an industry consultant: “If only we could get every branch to perform like our branch in Tulsa.” She expounded on how well their staff performs, how productive and profitable the branch is and that the level of customer satisfaction was superb. The consultant stated, “It must be the branch manager. Show me a successful branch and I’ll show you a great leader.” The VP agreed and shared that this manager’s staff was no better than those in other branches. The big difference was this manager was also a dynamic leader who had the ability to motivate his entire team for high performance. He became the role model for all of the branch managers.


Great leaders recognize that because they have a title, they don't automatically get respect. They have to earn it.  


 “In the eyes of your employees and your customers, the extent to which you practice your values can be closely linked with their level of employee loyalty and your level of customer loyalty. They will infer what you value from your behavior and your words. Excellent leaders actively demonstrate and communicate these values on a day-to-day basis.”

Values are the beliefs and principles that guide individual behavior and form the foundation upon which an organization and all of its leaders operate. These play a strong role in leading by example. 

  • Honesty:                          The quality of showing truth in communication.
  • Integrity:                          The soundness of moral character. 
  • Professionalism:            Thinking and acting with the highest level of professionalism
  • Ethics:                               Having and adhering to a set of principles of right and moral conduct.
  • Respect:                           The quality of showing deferential regard for others in all situations. Disrespect is not tolerated.
  • Excellence:                      Being the best at what you do. “Good enough” doesn’t exist
  • Teamwork:                      Being part of a team and not always the team leader. Teamwork is a strong part of their organization
  • Customer Focused:        Focusing on keeping customers happy by keeping employees happy and committed to do so
  •  Accountability:              Holding themselves accountable to practice dynamic leadership and establishing    accountability throughout their organization. The leader and their staff know what, specifically                                               they should be accountable for.                         
  • Health and Safety:        Taking the health and safety of employees and customers seriously
  • Family :                            Treating employees and customers as if they were family and allow flexibility for employees to attend family functions
  • Continuous Improvement:  Continuously improving in their own leadership performance instilling continous improvement in their company.


Example of Company Values

This company is not in the equipment distribution business, but L.D. Docsa Associates, Inc., a GC located in Kalamazoo, MI, created its core values using LEADERSHIP as an acronym.

Loyalty to Clients and Employees

Excellence, Where “Good Enough” Doesn’t Exist

Accountability to Our Clients and Our Company

Dependability in Our Workmanship, Actions, and Safety

Everyone Working Toward the Goal – Teamwork

Respect for Each Other and Company Property

Sense of Urgency to Client and Project

Honesty and Integrity in Every Facet of Doing Business with Our Firm

Improving Continuously, Operationally, and Professionally

People, Remembering Clients and Employees Make theBusiness

Reprinted with permission.

Many dynamic leaders begin every staff meeting with a review of their core values.  Some even ask employees to relate how, specifically every value should be demonstrated. Some responses are, “Never stretch the truth or tell a lie to make a sale.” “Tell the customer the truth.” “Respect company property.” Demonstrate safety by locking out and tagging out unsafe equipment.”  What are your company’s core values, and how, specifically should your people demonstrate them?

Characteristics of Dynamic Leaders

When thinking of leadership characteristics, we often think of successful people with charismatic qualities. Great leaders do not have to have charisma. But they do have to possess admirable character traits. As you review the following list, think about which traits would most influence you to follow someone else’s lead and then rate yourself:


• Supportive








• Demonstrates core values






Surveys have revealed that the three most important characteristics they want in their leader are 1) TRUSTFUL – They want to feel they can trust their leader. 2) SUPPORTIVE - They want to be supported by their leader, and 3) DEMONSTRATES CORE VALUES. The more of these traits you possess and demonstrate, the more likely you are to earn the respect of your team. If you win the respect of your team, they will not only want to follow your lead, but will also perform for you.

Leadership Styles

Dynamic leaders have different styles. As you review these six leadership styles, consider which best describes your style.

Transformational LeadersTransformational leaders are capable of transforming entire organizations or departments. A dealer may call in a turnaround management specialist or industry consultant for help in this area, or they will hire someone with a proven track record to transform their entire culture.  Some are so dynamic and influential they do it themselves.

Creative, Experimental Risk Takers

This type of leader is a financial risk taker. Business owners who acquire or merge with other companies often have this style. They believe that risk taking, supported by numbers, can strengthen their position in the marketplace and improve their competitive stance. There are a multitude of leaders in the equipment distribution business who have made the decision to merge, buy other dealerships, and expand their offerings.

Charismatic, Domineering Battlers

Leaders who possess this style can also be described as charismatic bosses, and are not very effective in today’s business environment. Even with the current state of the job market, you might experience a high level of employee turnover if you lead by demand.

Relentless Pursuers of Performance

Relentless pursuers of performance settle for nothing less than peak performance. They drive people. A leader who demands high performance from his or her team will not tolerate an average performer. They do their best to help employees improve their performance. However, if their performance doesn’t improve, leaders with this style terminate them.

Servant Leaders

Leaders with this style believe that, after strategy, their main role is to serve their employees and help them excel. Leaders who can be described as servant leaders have hired only the best performers and provide them with the education, training, mentoring, coaching and tools they need to succeed. They work along side them.

Situational Leaders

Leaders who apply this style recognize that every employee cannot be led the same way. The Hersey-Blanchard Situational Leadership Theory is based on the belief that the best leaders are those who adapt their style to the individual, group, or situation to get the results they want. Leaders with this style are in tune with what motivates and inspires each individual, understand their issues or challenges, and lead accordingly.

Which style is best?  The answer may surprise you.  Leadership style doesn’t matter. What matters most, is the quality of the individual!  If the leader is respected and admired, people perform for them. In fact,

                 “The Best Leaders Make People Feel They are Working WITH Them, and Not For Them.”

They are fair and supportive of their team. They care about their employees as much as they care about their best customers. Asking questions and listening to employees is how they keep them involved and engaged. They know how to make their team feel as if they are working with them and not for them.

The Importance of Communication

Studies have shown that 85% of an individual’s overall career success is directly proportionate to his or her ability to communicate. Dynamic leaders are excellent communicators.

Consider this scenario: Business is finally picking up. You made the decision to acquire a competitor, and you must merge two different cultures and two different ways of doing business into one cohesive team. You realizethe acquired companies systems and procedures were more advanced and decided to implement them throughout the company. However, your original employees are having difficulty adapting- especially the service manager and technicians.

What was once a fairly smooth company now is on edge, and employees are unhappy. Half of your team is spending much of the day complaining about the new systems and procedures and the others are worried about losing their jobs.

In this scenario, a dynamic leader would not sit back and wait for things to blow over. He or she would immediately acknowledge the turmoil caused by the dramatic organizational changes and then proactively handle the resistance and uncertainty these changes caused.

A dynamic leader reassures every employee that once they become accustomed to these changes, their jobs will become easier. This leader supports and helps the team, and explains how the merger will improve efficiency and profitability. Finally, a dynamic leader ensures that everyone will get through the transition together, one day at a time, and asks for ideas that could make the transition easier.

Information Is Key

In today’s environment, people lose their motivation if they are not kept informed about what is going on around them. The less they know, the more their performance is negatively impacted. This is especially true when there is a major change occurring.

The President of a distribution business decided to retire. He announced that his son would become the new President.  A “town hall” meeting was held and all employees were present. The group was quiet and apprehensive. Of course, people were worried about losing their jobs, and the new President knew they would be. They would also have a problem with the fact that he was far younger than other managers, even though he earned an MBA and worked in the dealership in various job roles for several years.

These were his opening words: “I’m sure you’re all wondering whether you will keep your jobs. I have no intention of letting anyone go, nor do I plan making any major changes in the way we do business during my first year. But I am going to put my heart into making this company grow and prosper. My vision is to expand, provide more jobs and rewards will be in the picture.  I ask of you is that you give your best each day and give me your support.  Also, I know that I’m younger than most of you, and you have far more experience than I do.  So, in the coming weeks, I’ll be speaking with each of you in teams and one on one. I would like to hear from you what you would do if you were the new President of the company. I want to hear what’s working and what needs improvement. And I want to know how I can be a great president.”

He immediately won them over, and did an outstanding job of communicating.

Ten Communication Tips for Dynamic Leaders

.     1)       Be a straight shooter. Your team should always feel that they hear the truth and know that you tell it like it is.

.     2)       Communicate the highest standards for performance, customer service and your expectations.

.     3)       Avoid miscommunication. Always ask your team if your expectations, instructions, etc., are clear.

.     4)       Ensure each employee knows the company’s vision, where it’s going, and how it will get there.

.     5)        Be confident and consistent. Your employees
are listening for the confidence behind your words.

6)       Communicate what you know and what you don’t; your team will respect you for it. This openness builds trust between you and your staff.

7)       Practice the “One Minute Manager”…Catch someone doing something good. Tell them immediately. Catch someone doing something wrong, tell them right away but in private.

8)       Communicate that for every problem, there is a solution and that you want everyone to be solutions-focused.

9)       Sharpen your facilitation skills. Facilitate frequent idea-sharing sessions on how to improve customer service, teamwork, productivity, employee morale, parts and service operations and how to better support your sales team.

     10) Spend a little time each day talking to individuals and asking questions similar to those below.

What do you think? (This may be the most important question you ask.)

Do you need any help?

How can we make this place a great place to come to work each day?

What’s your opinion on the new software?

How’s your team performing?

How can we improve customer service (teamwork, morale, productivity)

Have you heard any complaints?

How can we be proactive in preventing them?

Is there anything I should know about?

Questions to Ask if You Are a Brave Leader

Am I a boss or a leader?

How can I be better?  


Tips on Employee Motivation

  Eliminate cause of job dissatisfaction – bad bosses, territorialism, negative people, underperformers, dead-weight, feeling opinions don’t count.

  Bring out the best in every employee.

  Incorporate as much “FUN” in the workplace as possible. One way, is to put up a photo or cartoon and let people place their own caption. Reward the funniest.  Draw for a $20. Bill at every meeting.  Have a quick huddle in the parking lot. Play upbeat music in the service department.  Have executives do the grilling and serve their employees. Hold a “bake” sale and use the proceeds to buy pizza. Put up a basketball hoop and picnic area.

  Take a personal interest in your staff and treat them like family

  Appreciate them and thank them on a daily basis

  Involve them in idea sharing, problem solving

  Implement small and affordable ways to reward and recognize them such as gift cards for outstanding …service.

  Take one employee to lunch every week. Draw the names.

  Throw out the time cards and tell employees you trust them.

  Throw out the Rule book too.

Dynamic leadership and motivating employees requires a great deal more. As you interact with your team members, remember: Dynamic leaders motivate and inspire employees to follow their lead and deliver their best performance. They demand that other leaders in their company to practice dynamic leadership, which ultimately improves your company’s bottom line.

For now, ask yourself this question, “Would you want to work for you?”

Christine Corelli –

Christine Corelli is the author of six business books and a dynamic conference speaker. To learn more, visit www.christinespeaks.com or call (847) 477 7376. Be sure to attend her sessions at the International Woodworking Fair.



15. April 2016 07:26

Let’s face it, there is a reason you are taking the time to read this:  it’s time to start kicking you know what !

I know you can all relate when I say manufacturing in the wood industry is a tough grind.   After all, we are already doing everything we can to be successful, what more can there be?

 At IWF this year I am going to prove:

·         The factory that you believe is bursting at the seams still has lots of floor space

·         Your full production schedule can easily accommodate another 30%

·         You can cut in half that inventory you think you need

·         You can divide your lead time by 2,

·         It’s possible to have a fully engaged workforce!. 

 Ok enough with the fancy words, did I say “fully engaged”?  What I meant was a team that gets great joy from utilizing their skills to make a positive impact on their daily lives.  How many team members can say that they helped turn a company around? Or take a good company to a great company?  These are the kind of experiences that are required to change a plants culture, and it’s not as hard as it sounds.

I confess, I’ve had a wood manufacturing company for the last 25 years, and I did most of those years the hard way.   The turning point was my introduction to what is commonly referred to as “Lean Manufacturing”.  If you have heard of this concept and have someone telling you that it’s hard or complicated, keep walking.  Lean done right should be fun and bring pure joy to everyone involved.

 In this presentation of KICK ASS LEAN, we are going to cover:

·         Who the principles best apply to

·         What the principles are

·         When is the best time for a Lean Journey

·         Where do you get started

·         Why you should do it …… and of course I will include “how”!

 This presentation is not meant to be a teaser, it is my goal to give you specific and relevant information that you can take back to your factories and apply immediately.   You are going to leave prepared to start or continue the best journey of your life.  You will walk out of IWF at 5:00pm ready to KICK ASS.

The next post will include resources that would help gain insight and get the wheels turning when it comes to Lean.  

If you have any questions comments or concerns, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  My E-mail is brad@signaturewoodsystems.ca and I personally answer every email that comes my way.



Everything Old is New Again

14. April 2016 09:42

Everything Old is New Again 

Not all that long ago most of the items that the average person used on a daily basis was made within a short distance from where they lived and worked. Certain parts of the world were renowned for the quality of specific products. Sheffield England for example, was long known in our industry for making the finest steel cutting tools. But in most cases people bought the items of daily life from the people who made them. Today, for better or worse, we boast a global economy where even the most mundane objects we pick up are made halfway around the world.

But while earlier technologies made it profitable to centralize manufacturing, today’s technologies and social realities are swinging the pendulum back toward decentralization. Consumers are looking for ways to buy locally grown food and locally made products. And manufacturing technologies are making this more possible every day. Computers now control milling machines, plasma cutters, lathes, and 3D printers. The software that drives these machines has become vastly more powerful while falling in price. The first 3D CAD/CAM software I used 15 years ago cost nearly $20,000.00 per seat. The 3D modeling program that runs my 3D printer cost $45.00. Today, for the price of a mid-sized sedan, a mini factory can be set up in 1000 square feet that can make most of the non-electronic items needed around the home using metals, plastics and wood.

More and more of our customers every day are looking for businesses and products that are locally produced. They may be driven by interest in their local economy, or by environmental concerns, or by the desire for custom products that can’t be bought in a department store. As businesses, it is in our own best interests to at least be aware of these changes going on around us. There are new customers and new opportunities emerging every day, and history shows us that evolving to embrace change is far more valuable than ignoring it.

There was a time when cottage industries made many of the products common people used day to day. Advances in transportation and manufacturing technologies have changed this to the world we know today, but social trends are combining with the latest technologies to swing the pendulum back to a more locally based economy. Are you keeping track so you will be prepared for the new opportunities? At this year’s IWF show, you have the opportunity to learn the latest trends in manufacturing for our industry and related fields. The “3D Printing and the Return of Cottage Industry” seminar is specifically designed to give you an overview of the changes effecting the marketplace right now and in the near future.

Submitted by: Ralph Bagnall, Owner: ConsultingWoodworker.com



14. April 2016 09:34


By:  Eugene Wengert, President: The Wood Doctor's Rx

At least 3/4 of all wood manufacturing defects are related to or caused by moisture.  This session will begin with answers to the following questions:  How is wood moisture content (MC) related to temperature and humidity of the air?  What changes in wood occur when the MC changes, including swelling and shrinking?  Why do defects mostly show up within the first month or two after manufacturing, but seldom after a year or more later?  What is the correct MC for lumber and wood products?  How can I control MC after the lumber leaves the kiln?  VERY PRACTICAL.

Come learn more about this topic at MOISTURE: Effects and Measurement session at the IWF 2016 Education Conference.