The Curse of Entitlement
The printing industry, the country and even the free world are undergoing unprecedented challenges. The recent Print Outlook Conference 2003 attendees heard economists' forecasts based upon the assumptions of no unusual terrorist activity or war intervention.
These disclaimers left the industry supplier audience with the distinct impression that experts don't know what's going to happen in light of the unpredictability of the global environment.
There are isolated companies, in and outside of the printing industry that will survive this current upheaval, and be positioned for extraordinary prosperity.
Post analysis will no doubt show universal corporate customer sensitivity, creative marketing, embracing leading technologies, solid balance sheet with modest debt, and highly productive operations.
But there will be an intangible distinctiveness that bridges size, geography, market or product concentrations, and probably even industries. This has to do with corporate culture and more specifically values.
Initially during hard times, when virtually every company is looking for ways to reduce costs while remaining competitive, labor expenses loom high on the priority hit list.
If you or your department are in the cross hairs for elimination or reduction, your defensive reaction indicates you are probably too late in adjusting to reality.
This defensive attitude is universally expressed as "I've been loyal, I've worked hard, I've done what you've asked, aren't my past contributions worth something now?" This sense of entitlement is a normal human reaction.
Entitlement is defined as the "right or claim for something." The implication is that because of previous sacrifices or good deeds, the individual or organization deserves special consideration.
The classic example is "My firm has supplied you widgets for decades. How can you consider leaving us over a low ball price of only a nickel a unit?" From the individual's perspective, "I've worked here for 20 years. I deserve continued wage increases during my last eight years until I retire."