Category: Articles

People and Leadership

I have said this many times, I cheated myself in my early years with my formal education, you can’t change the past so as I got into the business world there was so much I had to learn. Much of that was through reading books and then putting what I read into practice, some things worked and stuck and some things did not. Here are a few tips for you to consider;

  • Train and educate the people in your business well enough so they can leave and be successful. Treat them well enough so they don’t want to.
  • Leadership is the very heart and soul of business management. What you manage in business is people.
  • The manager administers, the leader innovates.
  • Leadership is the ability to inspire other people to work together as a team, following your lead, in order to obtain common goals and objectives. No one can do it alone.
  • When hiring people seek capable, experienced people, who are motivated, who want to achieve and make something of their lives and are not afraid to work hard for what they want. Look for people who are intelligent, knowledgeable, and experienced and have enthusiasm for work.
  • No one wants to follow a weak leader. Leadership is practiced not so much in words but in attitude and actions.
  • One of the essential attributes of a good leader is having enough self confidence to admit their own mistakes and know that it will not ruin them. There is nothing lost and much to be gained by admitting you are you human.
  • The person who heads up a company should realize that his people are really not working for him or her, they are working with for themselves. They have their own dreams, their own need for self – fulfilment.
  • A great leader pays attention to the 100’s of little things. Done every day that reveals their character. There is a delicate balance that exists in hierarchy of every company and that balance swings upon all the little things a leader does instinctively, intuitively, spontaneously, out of experiences good or bad. Leadership, like life, can only be learned as you go along.
  • Leaders are individuals who make ordinary people do extraordinary things in the face of adversity.
  • When you are a leader and seeking power or influence, do not expect to be universally loved and supported.
  • Endurance is no substitute for effort, we should try to minimize hostilities and promote a climate in which communications will be easier and real conflicts can be worked out.
  • As leaders we all need to find more candor. The first step is to define one’s operating standards and develop a better way of policing oneself. The second is to inject more candor into all communications, explain things better and acknowledge mistakes.
  • Regarding your credibility – don’t think about it. Focus on honesty, perspective and performance and credibility will look after itself.

I want to summarize by saying I am not the greatest leader or person BUT I work at things everyday to be the best I can be. Practicing some of the things I have shared with you will help professionally and personally.

If I got my license on a Cessna would you be comfortable with me as your Pilot on a Jet?

I’m not a betting man but I would bet that no one would even give a second thought about getting in a jet with someone licensed on a cessna.  The general public would not even think about the issues of someone being licensed on an automatic transmission tractor than jumping into a manual transmission driving down our highways.

Have a listen to my recent interview on Global Radio The Morning Show to understand more.

https://omny.fm/shows/am640-the-morning-show/delay-in-tougher-licensing-requirements-for-trucke

Insurance Hikes Hard on Everyone

Nuclear Verdicts are costing our industry big time and its not going away anytime soon. An accurate definition of a nuclear verdict is any financial award (generally over 10 million) that is significantly disproportionate to what would be expected given the economic damages in the case.

In many cases the defence must battle the plaintiffs counsel “reptile theory” which means the the plaintiffs appeal to the jurors emotions rather than the acts and data.

Here are some staggering facts:

  • In the USA the average verdict size for lawsuit above 1 million involving a truck crash has increased nearly 1000% from 2010-2018 rising from 2.3 million to 22.3 million. Remember if your trucking in the USA you play by their rules. If you think your insulated because you only truck in Canada – think again. Many experts are saying the claims are hitting nuclear verdict status here in Canada as well.
  • Insurance rates continue to go up forcing carriers to leave the business or scale back on excess insurance putting them at greater risk if a crash happens.

Some in the industry blame corporate mistrust, litigation financing and social pessimism leading to sense that the system is broken for excessive jury awards.

Currently there is to much heavily lifting to defend yourself; very time consuming for lawyers and consultants to review files and put together a solid defence. There are plenty of inefficiencies and it is costly.

Is there an answer?

Technology needs to be embraced to compile data and information quickly. It needs to be timely, affordable and effective. That is where Bluewire comes in. This new technology is going to be game changer and is going to be an important ingredient to them success of trucking company and will be welcomed by the insurance industry. Check www.Bluewire.ia out – they could save you millions.

Wise Old Owls

Like many in the industry you get in at a young age and find out what a great industry transportation is and see the great opportunities there are. Most importantly what great people there are in our industry.

This month we say congrats to one of those gentleman on his decision to retire on the heels of his 80th birthday. Barry McKee came on board with the Transrep team a number of years ago and his contributions to our successes have been greatly appreciated. Barry helped steer the ship with Executive Placement and worked on Mergers and Acquisitions. Also helping when called on for other project type ventures with Kim Richardson Transportation Specialist Inc. There hasn’t been much Barry hasn’t seen in our industry, he is the ultimate professional.

When it came to his work Barry was meticulous, attention to every detail sometimes to a point of frustration for me. I remember saying to him once during a project we were working on, “this does not have to be perfect, were really good here”. His reply? “If my name is on it I will decide if its really good”. I learned something that day. I learned from Barry on many occasions, I refer to him often as the wise old owl. I asked him one day if he minded being called the wise old owl, his response “no, I deserve both”. Barry made me smile, made me think, made me better and complimented our businesses.

Here is the lesson. Barry and I are very different people and I say this in a positive sense. One of my early mentors taught me that if your going to have people sitting around the boardroom table working for the same company towards the same goals you better have different opinions and thoughts to stretch your ideas and directions. If your company is going to be successful you cannot all think the same way. You need to be on the same page but it can be very constructive to think differently. It is important that your team bring their ideas and thoughts to your business so you get different perspectives to become great at what you do. If I would of practiced this earlier in my business career our businesses (and my stress level) would of been better. It is referred to as business intelligence and sometimes that takes time.

Barry and I often had different thoughts and ideas numerous times. We respected each other’s opinions and most of the time we seemed to make good decisions.

Senior veterans and professionals retire regularly and when they do a ton of knowledge and experience goes with them. It’s important to embrace the expertise that is being offered during the timeframe you are around them. I have had the pleasure and benefit to have learned from many over the years some have pasted on while some are still with us. I am so thankful for all of them.

My recommendation to you is that you embrace every opportunity to learn and listen to the wise old owls. Over the years I have and it has benefited me in so many ways, I’m better professionally and personally for practicing this.

Thank you Barry, for what you have done for the industry, our businesses and our customers. Thank you for all you have done for me, I am better person because of you. You are appreciated.

Enjoy your retirement. Well deserved.

Instructor Certification in Our Industry

It really is time is it not, I wonder how many people know that as long as you hold a class AZ licence in Ontario you can instruct people how to drive a tractor trailer.  No official instructor certification for some of the biggest and heaviest units on our highways.

In Ontario, when Mandatory Entry Level Driver Training (MELT) was signed off on by all the industry stakeholders,  the TTSAO said we would sign off on it and support what was proposed with a caveat, the Government and the Ministry of Transportation would ensure instructor qualification and DZ MELT implementation would be on the table and dealt with in a year, that was 3 years ago.  Many industry stakeholders have been pushing for instructor certification all this time. Yes, there are industry and Government round tables and way to much lip service being paid to date, nothing.

It saddens me, other groups and association that the Government and MTO continue to drag their feet on this. Road safety is suppose to be paramount with our Provinces leadership and it took a tragedy like like Humboldt incident to bring our industry incompetency to the front lines. Do we need another catastrophic incident to get something done?

The majority of the industry and stakeholder groups want properly developed instructor certification programs for the trucking industry. I will leave you all with a thought to ponder. Someone teaching a kid to drive a car at 16 MUST be certified and pass a course to be qualified but someone teaching someone to drive an18 wheeler does not need to be certified. Somethings not right, you be the judge.

Who’s In your Square Squad?

For the last 10 months I have been focused on working on my leadership skills. I think I am decent leader but I want to be better.

As a young competitive athlete I was known as a team guy and was fortunate enough to be part of some pretty amazing teams both on the ice and on the fastball diamond. There are so many lessons learned in sports that apply to the business world.

Starting out in business in 1989 and bringing on employees/associates I often turned back to my sports days to reflect on what I had learned and needed to do to lead in business. I needed to be a team guy which included determination, practicing and working hard at the skill, working together to win as a team and setting a good example for my teammates in business. It has been a journey and I must admit in the early days and sometimes even now after 30 plus years I struggle with my leadership abilities at times. For the most part it has worked out and I have had many great teammates along the way for which I am very thankful. I continue to invest the time, energy and resources to becoming the best leader I can which means plenty of reading, diarizing and practicing what I am learning.

One of my industry pals who is part of my network knows I have been working on my leadership skills and gave me a great book on leadership for Christmas, Dare to Lead by Brene’ Brown. I’m just a quarter of the way into the book but I am really enjoying it, I have never heard of Brene’ but I am so glad my pal introduced to me to her work. In her book she talks about having a “Square Squad”, a squad of people who’s opinion really matter. most of us do right? Sometimes opinions can overwhelm us and they come from all directions. Here is what she suggests to focus on, the opinions that matter.

On a one inch by one inch piece of paper write the names of the people who’s opinion really matter to you. Put in in your wallet/purse to remind yourself when needed. Next, reach out or call those on your “Square Squad” and let them know your getting really clear on who’s opinion matters to you. Thank them for being one of those people and let them know that you are grateful that they care enough to be honest and real with you. This is all part of your self-awareness and self-love and it matters.

Who we are is how we lead. Good stuff!

Something else worth mentioning is our team at Transrep would like to thank all of our sponsors and delegates who continue to support our decision to move the National Recruiting and Retention Symposium to the end of October. We were hoping to run it in person in April but that’s not going to happen due to COVID-19.

We will host another Mini Virtual Symposium on April 22nd from 10-12 to thanks our sponsors and delegates for once again sticking with us. The lineup at time of this blog is being finalized but I encourage you get it in your calendar, its going to be another great event and will be free of charge.

One final mention, I want to thank my industry friends and business colleagues at the Trucking Human Resource Council of Atlantic Canada (THRSC) for allowing me the opportunity to present at one of their recent virtual events on networking. Helping others succeed and paying it forward to others is important to me and a passion of mine. I hope those who attended enjoyed it as much as I did talking about it.

Be safe and healthy and hopefully it won’t be long before we are enjoying each other’s company and friendship in person.

Networking Is Key To your Success

Everything in life personally and professionally is about the people and relationships you develop. Successful networking is an art. There are steps, a plan and there needs to be execution.

I am just an ordinary guy from a small town who has become very lucky to learn a series of extraordinary lessons and tips that has helped me become successful.

Being good at networking is one of them. Networking is a key skill we all need. Three things to understand about networking is:

  1. Learn the value of a network
  2. Learn who should be in your network
  3. Learn how to build you network

This is not always easy depending on your personality. I am outgoing and social. I like to meet to meet people and find out there likes and dislikes.

In a recent article I read experts agree that the most connected people are often the most successful. When you invest in your relationships — professional and personal — it can pay you back in dividends throughout the course of your career. Networking will help you develop and improve your skill set, stay on top of the latest trends in your industry, keep a pulse on the job market, meet prospective mentors, partners, and clients, and gain access to the necessary resources that will foster your career development.

When we look at who should be in your network you really want to surround yourself with three types of people. Visionaries, realists and connectors. These types of people are very important to your network.

If you would like to hear more about networking on January 20th

I will be working working with the Trucking Human Resource Sector Council of Atlantic Canada (THRSC) via zoom giving a presentation and engaging with participants for an hour in the morning. To register go to www.thrsc.com.

I want to wish you all a Merry Christmas and all the very best in 2021. Take time to be with those that matter the most to you. Have a safe and happy holiday.

Virtual Meeting Regarding Finishing Programs

As the industry starts to ramp up again and the driver shortage escalates along with the hard insurance market mentoring new drivers and having a solid finishing program is important.

On Thursday November 25th at 10 am the TTSAO Carrier Group and the TTSAO Insurance Group are hosting a one hour meeting to talk about finishing programs, insurance criteria and how the two link together. We’re pretty fortunate to have Caroline Blaise from Kriska and Steve Newton from Challenger to discuss some of what they do with mentoring new drivers and their finishing programs.

From the insurance sector we have our TTSAO Insurance Chairperson Lisa Arseneau having a candid conversation with Scott Creighton of Northbridge Insurance about the importance the finishing programs and insurability.

I want to give a big shout out to the interim Chairman of the TTSAO Carrier Group, Gerald Carroll for setting up this meeting and bringing everyone together for this opportunity.

It will be a full hour of education and information regarding some best practices and insurability for entry level and existing drivers in the commercial industry.

There is no fee to attend and you can register by emailing ttsao@ttsao.com.

Virtual Driver Safety Meeting During American Thanksgiving

For over three decades our industry and customers look to KRTS Transportation Specialists Inc. and our team for fresh value. We are known as innovators and we have always believed that innovation trumps repeating what has always worked in the past.  In today’s climate and dealing with COVID-19 it has never been more important to get creative and innovative. Thank goodness we have had many years of practice and we love wowing our customers and industry.

With social distancing, government regulations and industry protocols it is going to be very difficult for companies to host Driver Safety Meetings, and the American Thanksgiving has always been a very popular time to hold these safety meetings. KRTS in partnership with Safety Dawg (Chris Harris) will be hosting a Virtual Driver Safety meetings twice over the American Thanksgiving on November 27th and 28th. This will allow companies and their drivers the flexibility to choose a date that works best for them.

Both Safety Meetings will run from 10 am – 12 noon eastern time.

Topics will include:

  • Winter Driving
  • Speed and Space Management
  • How To Have An Exceptional Experience At the Weigh Scales
  • Pre Trip and Post Trip Expectations Across North America

We have teamed up with long time industry veteran Chris Harris of Safety Dawg and CVSA Director Kerri Wirachowsky of the Roadside Assistance Program to educate those attending.

Registration has been made simple and affordable.

1 Driver $49.99

10-19 Drivers $499.00

20 and above $899.00

A Certificate of completion will be provided for those who attend. Most importantly the program is very driver friendly with easy instructions to follow and attend.

For us at KRTS and our partner Safety Dawg we have determined through our research and development that companies and insurers’ support and embrace the concept of on going and regular Driver Safety Meetings. Education is important to companies culture and to meet insurability, compliance and regulatory standards in North America.

For more information or to register contact Kim Sytsma-Hill at 800-771-8171 ext. 205 or ksytsmahill@krway.com

Stay In the Know During These Extraordinary Times

We are in extraordinary times for sure. These times are revolutionary without a doubt. The only way organizations will win during these extraordinary and revolutionary times moving forward is with new models. A new model of revolutionary change. We as an industry need to drive change, drive leadership, drive innovation.

Think of how innovative we have had to become in order to change with the times. One of the big innovations this year is the shift from in-person to virtual conferences. The Private Motor Carrier of a Canada (PMTC)  just hit it out of the park with their conference. The Truckload Carrier Association (TCA) did a terrific job with their virtual conferences and just around the corner on October 2nd the Fleet Safety Council (FSC) has put together a stellar line up and agenda for a morning of education and information.

The FSC shared some exciting news last week, Caroline Mulroney, the Minister of Transportation will provide the opening remarks. You won’t want to miss this. The morning will continue with updates from industry leaders, professionals, all highly regarded and recognized by anyone in transportation and their conference is free of charge for anyone to attend. For the full agenda go to https://fleetsafetycouncil.com/fsc-annual-conference/

An advanced big congratulations to the Fleet Safety Council and the leadership at the Infrastructure Health & Safety Association (IHSA) and the conference committee. I am told at time of this blog there are 175 delegates registered and there is still a few weeks to go.

As a young man many, many years ago the Fleet Safety Council was an excellent organization and resource that I benefited from and still do today.

Other things happening that is reflective of our camp in our businesses is the October 22nd Virtual National Recruiting & Retention Symposium 2020. As most of you know we have had to reschedule the in person Symposium twice and are now scheduled for next April 2021. Every single one of our sponsors has stuck behind us which means so much to us. In order to bring them value and show our appreciation the mini Symposium’s we have been hosting are free of charge and bring great value to our sponsors, delegates and the industry.

The recent addition of Stephen Laskowski leader of CTA and OTA discussing Driver Inc. – Where We Are, Where We Need To Be is an excellent addition to our already stellar line up. (https://therearviewmirror.ca/2020/09/15/stephen-laskowski-to-speak-at-the-virtual-nrrs-2020/).

You can get the full agenda and speaker panel line up here, Virtual NRRS Agenda and Bios