Urgent See, Important Do.

Urgent See, Important Do.

Focusing on the Urgent can keep you from reaching your fullest potential.

Once you have determined your goals for success, you must stay focused on the actions necessary to achieve it. However, the competing forces of The Urgent and The Important are vying for your time and energy.

The Urgent pulls you, as a leader, into the operation: to book one more load; to make the collection call; or, to find the next customer. The Urgent is tactical and task oriented.

The Important allows you to plan the resource deployment for proper execution: to evaluate the new technology options; to hire, train and set proper behavioral expectations; to strategize about the best alternatives to overcome the obstacles before you. The important is strategic and big picture oriented.

The Urgent is the aggregation of the activities that brought you to your current state. There is comfort in performing the tasks that are easily recognizable and can be checked off the list in the name of ‘accomplishment’. The Urgent requires skills and thinking that we already have. The Urgent doesn’t ask more of us, only our time and energy.

The Important requires steps into an unfamiliar area. It has high rewards, but it has uncertainty – that is, by its very nature, uncomfortable. The Important requires a different set of skills that stretch what we know into new areas. The Important asks more of us than we currently are aware that we possess.

The Urgent brings us the same or incrementally better results.

The Important accelerates us and allows for maximization of results.

Focusing your attention, time and energy on The Important over The Urgent allows you and your organization to be positioned for stronger growth and become more adaptive to the obstacles that invariably will be placed in your pathway to success.

The Serenity Prayer

The Serenity Prayer

Grant me the SERENITY to accept the things I cannot change, the COURAGE to change the things I can and the WISDOM to know the difference. – Reinhold Niebuhr

Two movies express the tenuous balance of these ideals: The Fisher King (dir. Terry Gilliam) and Good Will Hunting (dir. Gus Van Sant). The former is a narrative in accepting responsibility for one’s own actions and the latter is a narrative about when to accept and forgive. (note that both are rated R for explicit language, drug use and violent scenes)

Obstacles to success are omnipresent in our lives. How we deal with them is the measure of our leadership. We can place blame, accept blame and/or try to understand the narratives that led to the obstacle’s existence in the first place.

Regulatory changes, natural disasters and other such external forces are among the first group. These factors cannot be changed, but you can both prepare for them and work to mitigate their negative effects.
Competition, inefficiency and stagnation are factors that can be addressed and changed. By developing a proper culture and strategy within your organization, you can improve processes and accelerate growth to achieve the success that you envision.

As with the Serenity Prayer, your role as a leader is encapsulated by the wisdom to direct energy, focus and inspiration towards areas that can be properly and usefully affected. Do not expend energy railing against unstoppable forces and immovable objects. Focus your mental energies on the areas that can effectively change your situation for the better.

Women In Trucking and TranStrategy Partners Announce New Training Program

In a world of uncertainty and divisiveness, building a solid professional foundation becomes more important than ever.

RIDGEFIELD, Wash.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–TranStrategy Partners, Inc. (TSP), in partnership with Women In Trucking Association (WIT), announces the launch of the Professional Development Certification (PDC) program. The PDC has been developed over the last year as a tool to advance the development of WIT association members. Thirty courses following Industry Knowledge, Leadership, and Career Development tracks, provide foundational learning, best practices and useful strategies to help members navigate their career pathways and strengthen their personal brand.

“A certification program is not only a way for members to gain knowledge about diversity issues in the trucking industry, it is also a way for them to help their company attract and retain more women in all roles,” said Ellen Voie, President and CEO, WIT.

Wade Witherspoon, Director of Education at TSP and chief architect of the certification program expressed his excitement about the launch, “With integral input from Ellen Voie, WIT Board members and from the entire WIT association membership, we have built a powerful tool to strengthen the development of members and to help elevate their opportunities in the future.” The program is designed to deliver both industry specific education as well as personal and professional development, which falls directly in line with the foundational values of WIT.

“The new WIT Professional Development Certification was created to help our members cultivate both their personal and professional skills. I know this program will be extremely beneficial to those who take advantage of it,” said Mary Aufdemberg, director, used truck acquisitions and operations, Daimler Trucks North America, and Chairwoman of WIT.

TSP and WIT will launch the new Professional Development Certification at the Accelerate! Conference & Expo next week – November 6-8 at the Sheraton Crowne Center in Kansas City.

TranStrategy Partners, Inc. coaches entrepreneurs to transform their organization into a vigorous and more valuable business. Our expert consultants collaborate and guide you and your organization through a holistic coaching approach that delivers accelerated growth, higher profits and re-energized staff. Guaranteed! Visit www.GoTranStrategy.com to learn more.

Women In Trucking Association, Inc. is a nonprofit association established to encourage the employment of women in the trucking industry, promote their accomplishments and minimize obstacles faced by women working in the trucking industry. Membership is not limited to women, as 17 percent of its members are men who support the mission. Women In Trucking is supported by its members and the generosity of Gold Level Partners: Bendix Commercial Vehicle Systems, Daimler Trucks North America, BMO Transportation Finance, Great Dane, J.B. Hunt Transport, Ryder System, Inc., U.S. Xpress, and Walmart. Follow WIT on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn. For more information, visit http://www.womenintrucking.org or call 888-464-9482.

Contacts:

TranStrategy Partners
Andrew Gulovsen, 618-302-7790
andrew@transtrategypartners.com

3… 2… 1… Context

3… 2… 1… Context

How to Build Loyal Customers with Impactful Communications

Impactful communication with customers and prospects requires the fulfillment of connection. Whether for a current customer – ‘how is this going to improve our situation?’ – or a prospect – ‘how is this solution better to make me change my provider?’ there has to be a clear understanding of their current situation. Without this understanding, communications (emails, marketing, etc.) are quickly discarded as irrelevant.
The creation of the target customer profile helps you to build communication around relevant themes that are tied to specific business needs that your company can solve. Too often, brokers will try to promote their suite of solutions to the entirety of the market in hopes of landing business – the spaghetti against the wall technique. Unfortunately, the efficiency of this method is low and expends too much time and energy for a worthwhile ROI.

By knowing the core needs and decision frameworks of a targeted customer profile, you can be very focused in your approach to communication of solutions. This will require research about target. Begin by understanding:
1) The language of their industry – acronyms and jargon
2) The differences in their processes and methods
3) Their equipment, lane and pricing needs
4) How they define success – and the role of transportation in that success
5) Their business mission/vision

Much of this information can be found on company websites and industry association materials.
All transportation is currently moving on another provider or providers. Your job is to cause the decision maker to enact a change in their current process. While you may be lucky and reach them just as another provider is failing, more often you encounter someone who is comfortable with the status quo. The cost to change (both economically and emotionally) has a certain value to them and your solution must equal or exceed that value.

To change, the decision maker must feel that your solution is:
1) Significantly simpler than their current option (saves them time); and/or
2) Significantly cheaper than their current options (saves them money); and/or
3) Significantly different than their current option (paradigm shift)

With a clear knowledge of what the customer wants/needs, you can tailor your communications to best address these areas and begin to develop credibility and rapport with the customers. When you can fit your solutions within their context of reality or begin to shift their reality to form a new context, they begin to see your company as a potential partner.

Microscope, Telescope and Mirror

Microscope, Telescope and Mirror

The cost of retaining a strong employee is significantly less than the costs associated with the recruiting, hiring and training a new employee. When did you last meet with your employees -on either a personal or professional level, just one on one? It could be a regular performance review or it could be a half hour away from the office to check in to make sure all the pistons are firing.

Trust, respect and integrity are built with connection and interest in others. Just as you do with inquiring about customer needs, make sure that you are addressing and solving the professional needs of the people in your organization – and that they are addressing the needs of the company.

Inquire about how the company and the work satisfies the development needs of each person – or how it might not be. Be clear about how the employee’s role and work meet the needs of the company. The more examples that you can provide, the more the person knows that you care about their efforts and accomplishments.

Talk about the things that would make life/work run more smoothly – new technologies, beer fridge, flexible schedules – and talk about the successes that need to occur to bring those ideas to fruition. It becomes a partnership.

In their book, Love ‘em or Lose ‘em, Beverly Kaye and Sharon Jordan-Evans surveyed 17,000 employees across multiple industries to understand the reasons why employees stay with an employer. The top 10 are:

1. Exciting work and challenge
2. Career growth, learning and development
3. Working with great people
4. Fair pay
5. Supportive management/good boss
6. Being recognized, valued and respected
7. Benefits
8. Meaningful work and making a difference
9. Pride in the organization, its mission and its products
10. Great work environment and culture

Pay and benefits, number 4 and 7 respectively, are the objective things you can establish for your company. The other eight are aspects of a vibrant and positive culture that are built over time, though the focused efforts of a caring leadership. They are the intrinsic motivators that drive employees further than any dollar or day off ever could.

Does your organization satisfy the needs of its people? Are they excited and challenged? Do they have a pathway and the tools to build their career ladder? Is the pay structure equitable to promote the right behaviors in the team?

Take the time to investigate with your people, dream with your people and have honest conversations with your people. Use this information to build the organization into a stronger, more flexible and desired company that is positioned to grow into the future.

Three Elements in Relationship Selling

Three Elements in Relationship Selling

Relationship selling is all about establishing long-term connections with your customers in order to generate repeat business for your company. It also minimizes the need to constantly market your services to potential new customers.

Three basic elements are essential to building and maintaining relationships with your customers: intimacy, passion and commitment. If your business is going to succeed, these elements need to be integral parts of your business culture.

Intimacy in business? You are probably wondering, “What does that mean?” In your personal life, intimacy is all about getting to know someone at a deeper than usual level. It’s the same in business. Building intimacy involves getting to know all about a potential customer — its goals, who the business serves, the conditions within which it operates, and so on. It also involves developing a deep understanding of the needs of the shipper.

Building intimacy is not a passive process; it doesn’t just happen. That’s because most businesses are not going to call you up to say, “I want to tell you all about me and my needs.” Instead, you’ll have to ask lots of questions to find this out. When you do, you will not only get the information you need to determine if your business can help satisfy a shipper’s needs, but you’ll also demonstrate that you care about the shipper. In turn, this will make it more likely it will want to listen to what you say and that you’ll be able to distinguish yourself from your competitors in its eyes. So don’t be shy about asking shippers lots of questions when you are going after their business, and remember that you can ask the questions in a light-hearted way. In fact, if you are super serious, you may scare the shipper off.

Tip: Although building intimacy is something your salespeople should be doing, it’s also something that everyone in your company should do. They need to stay attuned to the needs of your customers and by doing whatever they can to meet those needs.

Your passion or enthusiasm will help demonstrate to your existing customers that you want to keep their business and to potential customers that you really want their business. It can make the difference between cementing your relationship with a customer and losing it to a competitor and between getting and not getting a new customer.

Commitment demonstrates that you will do what it takes to meet a customer’s needs and that you will do what you promise. For example, if you tell a customer that you will provide a quote in 5 minutes or that you will deliver a load within a day, you do. Your commitment to a customer will demonstrate that you are sincere and can be trusted – two qualities that will make your relationship with one another last.