I apologize if this title is politically incorrect. However, it comes from none other than Albert Einstein who defined insanity as “doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” I was thinking about this on New Year’s Day while watching football and contemplating why people make new year’s resolutions. I wondered, could the entire trucking industry be insane?
Why are industry leaders willing to get up every morning and go to work where they bang their heads against the wall trying to solve a problem that they believe in their hearts is unsolvable? That can’t possibly be fun. More importantly, why do they continue to do the same things day after day and expect different results? Albert would have a thing or two to say about their behavior.
Maybe you’re different. Maybe things are OK in your world. If your trucks are full of safe drivers and if you’re covering every load the moment it’s called in, this article isn’t for you.
However, if a.) you have empty trucks against the fence and b.) your phone is ringing off the hook and c.) you’re struggling to find and retain quality drivers, maybe you should consider doing something different.
I started in trucking in 1975, as an outbound supervisor in a unionized LTL company on the cold docks of Cleveland. My crew consisted of five lethargic Teamsters ranging in age from 50 to 65. None of them seemed to enjoy their job and no one went out of their way to work harder than necessary. On the other hand, I was a snotty-nosed 23-year old kid full of ambition.
After a particularly productive shift one night, I was so proud of what we had accomplished that I stood by the timeclock raving about our great results. One of my guys, Denny Colson, looked me in the eye and, as he punched his time card, said in a deadpan voice, “Well, I guess we’ll do it all over again tomorrow” and walked out. It was a sobering moment. As they left, I began to appreciate the futility of his existence. Every day for the past 20 years had been the same for Denny. And, every day for next 20 years would be the same: unloading cartons, barrels, pallets and boxes, moving them across the dock and loading them on other trucks.
Denny wasn’t insane. He didn’t expect different results. In fact, he had come to accept that every day would be the same. He could have left for more mentally stimulating work, but like most people, he was a creature of habit. He had great pay, amazing benefits and a generous pension plan. He was caught in a trap and couldn’t see a way out. As my career developed and I rose through the ranks, I often thought about that night and what he said.
We are the product of the choices we make. Like you, I’ve made some bad choices along the way, but I’ve also made a lot of good ones. I’m happy where I am in life. If I weren’t, I’d choose to do something different. If I faced a seemingly insurmountable problem and after several tries, failed to overcome it, I would try something different. That’s the essence of our core value at Avatar and AvatarFleet, LEARN. Setbacks and failures are merely opportunities to learn.
Here you are at the beginning of a new year. You have a choice. You can choose to keep doing the same things you did last year. If you do, please be prepared to get the same results. Or, you can choose to pick up the phone and call AvatarFleet. In just 30 minutes, you might get a few new ideas. The choice is yours.
We think of New Year’s Day as a special moment in time, but it’s actually rather arbitrary. It’s just another day. Most us start the new year with a few resolutions. We decide to lose weight, exercise more, drink less or go on more vacations. Maybe it’s time for a New Year’s Resolution. No more banging your head against the wall. No more insanity. Time to do something different. You’ll work about 2,000 hours this year. Why not spend 30 minutes investigating what might make your life a little easier? Please stop the insanity.
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