Can you judge the success of the culture in your business by the number of windscreen claims you have? One of our customers can! Cutting windscreen claims from 23 to 4 within 12 months was a great indicator of the wholesale changes within the fleet.

In the art of running a business, it is all about people people people.

In measuring success, yes numbers play a big part, but the numbers don’t get better without the people making changes.

My business is about measuring success. But measuring anything, success or otherwise, isn’t very exciting if there is no improvement. To get that improvement, requires change, and to get the change, means engaging the people.

“As a management team, we made a commitment to be a best practice fleet in all areas of the business, this required an attitude change from the top down.”

Culture starts at the top and if your staff don’t have a credible example to follow, it’s going to be really hard to get them to be ace performers. Yes, dictatorship works to a certain degree, and yes, I know that it feels like it is the only way to get through to some. But each person on the staff is a human with a basic desire to please people.

Speeding is a classic example where some drivers will put their foot down to make sure the freight gets there on time – because that is what the business needs right? Have you told your drivers that speeding is not the answer? They are doing the wrong thing for the right reason… instead, help them to see the bigger picture and to help resolve the source of the problem…. The one that made it late to start with? How can you both make sure that the truck is loaded and ready to go on time?

Ask the drivers to help you to meet the business goals.

Tell them what you want to achieve. Spend a bit of time thinking about how you word that. Make some short, simple statements. Don’t overcomplicate it, then ask for feedback.

What happens next will astound you. The ideas and questions that come forward will give you an insight into the parts of the business they are more familiar with than you are, and herein lies the key to what changes need to be made, partly by drivers and partly by management to achieve your goal.

“Train people well enough so they can leave, treat them well enough that they don’t want to” (Richard Branson).

Top 5 characteristics of a good manager as ranked by employees in 2014:

  1. Clearly communicates where we are going
  2. Gives honest feedback on how I am going
  3. Trusts me with challenging work
  4. Fair/even-handed/reasonable
  5. Listens to/respects my input into decisions

* Source: LMA LEAD Survey 2014

Don’t let your employees guess what you want from them, tell them what you want, and ask them to help you to achieve it. If you show people that you are genuine, and ask them to get involved they will amaze you with their ideas and enthusiasm!

Now, a dose of reality. Whilst 90% of your drivers and support staff will applaud you for this type of approach, there will always be a few who really don’t feel like playing ball.

Are you prepared for a driver to leave if they repeatedly don’t fall into line?

Here is what a customer said to me when this topic came up.

“Some of the troublesome speeders have now left the company – speed wasn’t their only vice, and they got sick of us nagging them to get in line. Getting these guys out of my company is a good thing – both for avoiding the mistakes they made when they were there, but also for showing others that this lack of care is not the way we do things round here.”

Your business is not just a dysfunctional collection of metal and payroll, it is a group of people who want to see the business succeed

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