4 Gauges to Avoid Sabotaging Growth

4 Gauges to Avoid Sabotaging Growth

In contrast to the success that you have had in building your company, there are always obstacles and challenges present that minimize growth potential and inhibit maximization efforts to forge greater success. The challenges could manifest as people/personnel issues, operational inefficiencies or, perhaps, even barriers to new customer acquisition.

Often, these obstacles are multifaceted and the correction of one does not provide the expected result. Cultural and Structural hindrances are interwoven into all aspects of the enterprise and are not so easily resolved. It is necessary to understand the holistic interaction between all of the factors in order to produce a best functioning solution.

Gauge your People – from administrative and front line to the leadership level.

Assess their skills, strengths and behavioral composition to discern how they best interact and what gaps may exist within teams, within departments and within the entire organization. Having this people intelligence will allow you to hire, fire and redistribute resources in alignment with the over-arching company vision and goals.

Gauge your Communication – in meetings, in person and in your marketing.

How well you manage change is directly correlated to how well you communicate the need for, the impact of and the benefits from that change. Poor communication in any of these areas leads to fear, confusion and uncertainty from the teams. Absence of clear expectations and reasoning leaves a void that is, too often, filled with competitive behaviors driven by self-interest. Strong communication of your messages is built on alignment to stated goals, clarity and consistency. When people can ‘see’ it, ‘understand’ it and ‘own’ it, they can incorporate it into their work and their own communication.

Gauge your Processes – in operational workflow and sales growth.

Your processes are the assembly line of production in your brokerage operation. Order fulfillment from load acquisition to collections follows a defined and organized workflow. The steps along this workflow have different levels of efficiency and value that can be reviewed and improved. By documenting the people and system interactions along the way, you can identify potential gaps and bottlenecks that reduce productivity to build better process solutions.

Each phone call to a customer or carrier has the potential to drive revenue. The effectiveness of those calls is more important than the volume of those calls. Preparedness for each call, in regards to information gathering and negotiation methods, positions your company to capture value. Look beyond “what do you have for me today?” towards “how can we help you tomorrow?”

Gauge your Metrics – to reinforce the activities and behaviors that drive success.

Metrics that are aligned to the organizational expectations and behaviors proved the benchmarks and trends of activity. Measuring your people, communications and process allows you to recognize where there is success and where resources will need to be deployed. Look beyond general metrics like load volume, call volume and new client volume towards more telling metrics of customer expansion, carrier load ratios and quality customer acquisition. Find metrics that support the behavior that you are expecting from the teams and individuals.

Your organization is a powerful enterprise that provides capacity solutions for its clients, fleet management support for its carrier base and both a livelihood and purpose for its people. Don’t let internal obstacles undermine this mission. Gauge your company and be open to changes needed to drive the business higher.

Re-purpose Your Employees

Re-purpose Your Employees

Purpose and Vision are key components in the development of the proper culture for your organization.
Clearly communicating that Purpose and Vision to your employees helps to align them and creates a pathway to greater engagement and satisfaction.

Every employee can act as an accelerator for your organization if they feel confident in the clarity of their role, how they can be successful, how they can develop and how the work that they do makes an impact on the business and its community. Each additional employee that is aligned with the purpose and vision further accelerates the organization by magnitude through focus on the goal.

Setting proper expectations for the activities and behaviors associated with each role, along with objective measures to verify achievement, creates focus on the objectives and allows for improvement through regular feedback reviews.

Balancing the intrinsic motivation (Vision and Purpose) with extrinsic (Compensation and Reward) becomes an important part of the leadership puzzle. Without a proper balance, frustration from the company or the employee may subvert the culture and create unwanted activity incongruent with the Purpose and Vision.

The organization must have a compensation structure that supports the goals of the company and the employees, while allowing the company to grow and thrive in a volatile market environment. While compensation, defined by the metrics of expectation, is an important part of employee satisfaction, the investment in employee development must also be addressed. The creation of a process focused and consistent training program can further align employees to the purpose and vision by building skills to successfully execute the expectations and behaviors that the organization deems relevant.

Together, purpose and training move in a consistent and connected way towards the strategic vision of the company. The training plan should be based on a combination of industry knowledge, company specific experiential learning and broad skills development that blend the general and the differentiators of your organization’s brand/value proposition.

This investment in employee growth allows them to move through the training with a deeper belief in the purpose of the organization and greater energy to collaborate in achieving the expected success.

Your people are the manifestation and expression of the Vision and Purpose of the organization. They are the Brand Ambassadors of the company. Give them the proper lens and filter through which they make informed and insightful decisions. Give them a Vision and Give them a Purpose.

Managing Expectations

Managing Expectations

In every aspect of your growing business, you set expectations – of yourself and those who work with you. Whether you are a dedicated list maker or not, those expectations must be communicated to the affected parties.

New Employees

Every new employee has the potential to help your business grow and succeed. To do that, they are expected to learn your business and methodologies and execute efficiently within those frameworks. However, they will not be 100% effective from day one – their development is a process that has defined steps. Where should they be along the process on day 10? On day 30? On day 90?

Having measurable goals at each stage allows you to manage the development and improve the chances for a successful engagement by each employee. By explaining these goals (and how the company will help them achieve the goals), the employee can visualize the pathway to success. Regular communication and support along that path keeps them aligned and moving towards fulfilling those expectations.

Existing Employees

Too often, development diminishes once the employee has reached an acceptable threshold of competency. Communication becomes less frequent as the challenges of competent execution are minimized. However, employees tend to reach plateaus that are ‘good enough’ in order to maintain the status quo and/or retain their employment.

By setting expectations for the continuing development of employees, they are challenged to be better and to grow with the company. Industry specific training, skills refinement and leadership options exist to support this endeavor across all price points – some free options and scholarships are out there as well.

Yourself

Do you ever ask yourself “What does my company expect of me?” or “What does each employee look for in each interaction with me?” The goals that you set for yourself need to be in step with the goals that others have of you. They look to you for leadership. They look for your guidance, motivation and discipline (when appropriate and necessary). They look to your vision, your integrity and your energy. Your compassion and empathy raise them up. Your experience and wisdom keeps them from straying too far off course.

Be clear on your expectations of others and yourself, but be open to understanding their expectations of you and your leadership.