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Advice From the Presidents-Trucking Tales Ep4

Advice From the Presidents

Jack is anxious to get his management going after returning from his monthly Presidents’ Council meeting, a voluntary business group where improvement ideas are exchanged.

As President of Bright Mountain trucking, he presented his biggest problem—getting enough drivers to haul his loads—to the other presidents/CEOs of diverse businesses in the group.

“It was great to hear their ideas—fresh ways of looking at things,” he begins to his management team.

“One of the things that I really thought long and hard about was how we approach keeping enough drivers on the road. We focus on hiring. You know--hiring more. That’s what every other carrier is doing. What they said was we should spend more time thinking about how to keep people from leaving so we won’t have to hire so many. And just as important, hiring better so they won’t leave”

“I don’t know Jack, we’ve always thought about turnover and how to stop it,” offered Bud.

“That’s what I thought too. But they asked me some things that made me question how good we are at stopping turnover.

“For example, one really sharp-minded guy said that when someone gives their notice, the tendency at most companies is to write them off. Ostracize them. Say they weren’t that good and that it’s good riddance. Kind of like the girl in high school who doesn’t want to go out with you anymore. We do that. True?”

He paused.

Cary, Belinda and Fritz nodded yes, but Bud was unconvinced:

“Jack, most of these drivers who leave really are bad.”

“Well as a lady CEO pointed out to me, if that’s true, then we have other problems. If they really are bad—bad with customers, accident-prone, bad with paperwork—then why did we hire them in the first place? And why did we keep them?

And if they really weren’t bad—we just think they’re bad because they gave notice—then we’ve lost a good asset for the company. That’s not good either.”

“We do exit interviews,” offered Belinda.

“Yeah, but what do we do with the information? And how good is it in the first place? Are we asking the right questions and then acting on it? They said that most companies aren’t very good at executing when it comes to turnover. They might get exit information but don’t do much with it. And sometimes people don’t have an exit interview and nobody follows up to ask why. Pretty soon the branch manager thinks it’s not important and doesn’t do it the next time. Sound familiar?”


“Look, I’m not pointing fingers. We all have a responsibility to get better at this. Here are some questions that I wrote down from a group think:

Are people leaving for a better job or are they leaving because they are unhappy, wanting to get away from something?

That’s the case in most companies.

Of the people in our company who interact with drivers, who are most likely to be causing friction and dissatisfaction?

Are we hiring the right people or are we settling for anyone who has a CDL and can meet the insurance requirements?

Do we have a system in place to get and keep drivers or do we just wing it?

“Those are good questions,” said Fritz. “But I’m not sure we can answer them.”

“There are companies out there who have figured some of this out. Maybe we should look to see if there are answers that would help us. Who to hire. How to hire. How to make sure they don’t leave in the first 6 months. There are companies who can help us execute and give us a workable system. Would that be better than throwing money at recruiting more and more drivers?”


Lou Graziani: creator of Bright Mountain Trucking
“transportation guru, training expert, and imagineer.”


This story continues…

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