Going from Good to Great!

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Good to Great – what does it mean to you?

What do you personally do to go from good to great?

What do you NOT do to go from good to great?

I am a hypothetical bus driver. The bus, my company, is at a standstill, and it’s my job to get it going. I have to decide where I am going, how I am going to get there, and who’s going with me.

Most people assume that great business owners immediately start the journey by announcing to the people on the bus where they’re going—by setting a new direction or by articulating a fresh corporate vision.

In fact, leaders of companies that go from good to great do not start with “where” but with “who.” They start by getting the right people on the bus, the wrong people off the bus, and the right people in the right seats. And they stick with that discipline—first the people, then the direction—no matter how dire the circumstances. Take David Maxwell’s bus ride. When he became CEO of Fannie Mae, the company was losing $1 million every business day. The board desperately wanted to know what Maxwell was going to do to rescue the company.

Maxwell responded to the “what” question the same way that all good-to-great leaders do: He told them, That’s the wrong first question. To decide where to drive the bus before you have the right people on the bus, and the wrong people off the bus, is absolutely the wrong approach.

Maxwell told his management team that there would only be seats on the bus for A-level people who were willing to put out A-plus effort. He interviewed every member of the team. He told them all the same thing: It was going to be a tough ride, a very demanding trip. If they didn’t want to go, fine; just say so. Now’s the time to get off the bus, he said. No questions asked, no recriminations. In all, 14 of 26 executives got off the bus. They were replaced by some of the best, smartest, and hardest-working executives in the world of finance.

With the right people on the bus, in the right seats, Maxwell then turned his full attention to the “what” question. He and his team took Fannie Mae from losing $1 million a day at the start of his tenure to earning $4 million a day at the end.

When it comes to getting started, good-to-great leaders understand three simple truths. First, if you begin with “who,” you can more easily adapt to a fast-changing world. If people get on your bus because of where they think it’s going, you’ll be in trouble when you get 10 miles down the road and discover that you need to change direction because the world has changed. But if people board the bus principally because of all the other great people on the bus, you’ll be much faster and smarter in responding to changing conditions. Second, if you have the right people on your bus, you don’t need to worry about motivating them. The right people are self-motivated: Nothing beats being part of a team that is expected to produce great results. And third, if you have the wrong people on the bus, nothing else matters. You may be headed in the right direction, but you still won’t achieve greatness. Great vision with mediocre people still produces mediocre results.

-Russ

HOW CLEAN ARE YOUR RESTROOMS?

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Just back from a few days of making calls in the Chicago market. Wow, was it cold!

While in the Windy City, we made a pit stop for gas and a bathroom break. I nearly stopped at a stand-alone gas station, but I thought a convenience store would have a cleaner bathroom for the ladies. So, I went up another block and stopped at a Thornton’s. They had one of those “We take pride in having the cleanest restrooms!” signs on the mirror glaring at you while washing up. The sign was fake news. Nothing in the restroom was clean–paper towels on the floor, water splashed and dried on the mirror, toilets unflushed and it stunk to high heaven! It was nasty.

I started thinking about owning a truckload brokerage. Yes, I realize that probably sounds a little strange; equating dirty bathrooms to my business. Here’s my thinking. Any gas station or convenience store can plaster a sign on the mirror saying they pride themselves on the cleanliness of their bathrooms just like any freight brokerage can say they are better than their competition. We at R & S Delivered work so hard to change the way some shippers view brokers–Seen one, seen them all. You know the “How do you differentiate yourself?” question. Think about it. The Journal of Commerce estimates there are over 18,000 truckload brokers in the United States. Every broker who calls on a shipper, no matter their age, experience, qualifications or passion, pretty much says the same thing.

Every broker says they:

1) are pro-active in communication

2) have thousands of carriers

3) rarely, if ever, use load boards

4) are passionate about what they do

5) have long-term carrier relationships

6) vet all our carriers using the most stringent rules

7) are all about trust and integrity

8) are transparent at all times

9) have hundreds of years of combined office experience

10) can solve all your problem lanes

and so on.

When “Mr./Mrs. Decision Maker” is sitting and listening, how do they determine who really has the “cleanest restroom?” While the sales pitch may solve all the shipper’s problems, do the actions mirror the pitch?

Here’s what we at R & S Delivered think:

First, does the broker provide value to you the shipper? If they don’t, then they should be removed and replaced. I was talking to a prospect a few weeks ago, and he said, “I need another broker like I need another hole in the head.” If selected properly, I truly believe one or two brokers can easily do the work of many.

Secondly, do the services the broker offers match up well with your business? Sure, the big guys do it all, but if you are in a specific industry sector and your broker does very little in that sector, move on.

Thirdly, does the broker provide industry sector references? If you are in the foodservice business, then ask the broker for contact information for the foodservice companies with whom they do business. Follow through. Call or email them. Seriously, I can’t remember a shipper asking me for references other than on an RFP, and then the references were never contacted.

Fourthly, who is sitting across from you telling you about their business? Is it someone of authority? Is it a decision maker who will continue to be involved in your business and take ownership of the process? What is your gut telling you about working with this person and the character of this company?

Fifthly, will the broker honor their contract rates? This has been especially important in the past year when hurricanes, ELD’s and a red-hot economy caused many brokers (and asset carriers for that matter) to abandon their contract rates and move to the spot market. A lot of brokers use a short-term strategy to maximize profits instead of using a long-term relationship strategy. It is the broker’s responsibility to find the “right” carrier to haul the loads, so, if rates go up, the shipper is insulated.

Anyone anywhere can put a sign up telling you how important it is that their restrooms are clean. Be sure you’re asking the right questions of a potential broker. You don’t want to find out too late their advertising is false, and then find yourself having to clean up the mess. #truckload #truth #brokers #shippers #chemicals #plastics #food

 

Best, Russ

Allow Me to Make an Introduction

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Many of you have connected with me via LinkedIn because we’ve exchanged connection requests, or you’ve seen an article or some content that I have posted. It has been my pleasure to connect with you and to get to know you, if even just a little bit. But I’m only half of R & S Delivered LLC. Well, actually 49% if we’re being precise. I’m the R. The S is my wife, Stacey. Were it not for Stacey there would be no R & S Delivered LLC. I would still be working for an asset based trucking company somewhere trying to find a customer or two. While I am the salesperson at R & S, Stacey is everything else. And she is the one who convinced me that R & S sounded like a winning team. She’s the manager of Human Resources, Information Technology, Operations, Interior Designer, Motivation, and 51% owner. She’s the reason that we will be sending in our application to the WBENC to be certified as a woman owned business in 2019.

So let me briefly introduce her to you and encourage you to connect with her because she really is someone that you need to know. First, here’s her LinkedIn page:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/stacey-schultz/

Stacey is a proud graduate of Auburn University (War Eagle!) and she and I have been married for 20+ some odd years. She spent 12 years as a fundraiser with the American Cancer Society and, as one of her duties there, managed the Relay for Life program in Southwest Missouri. She didn’t just manage it to maintain it. She managed it to grow it and grow it she did taking the Springfield MO Relay for Life into one of the 10 largest Relay’s in the United States. She started the RFL program for High Schools as well. Many times she had the opportunity to move into ACS management but she loved working with the volunteers more than anything.

God called Stacey to become a full-time volunteer with Project H.O.P.E. and to lead mission teams to Nicaragua. She did this for five years traveling to Central America over 50 times to build houses, dig water wells and to do really whatever needed to be done.

So this next part is really “who” she is. She’s my rock and the person that has cared for me as I fought colorectal cancer when I was 37, bladder cancer when I was 51, and, just for good measure, a “Widowmaker” heart attack when I was 55. She literally drove me to the hospital at 4 in the morning while I was having the heart attack and saved my life. No question. She is my rock. She is the person that I came home to for over 20 years and talked trucking. She is the one and only person that talked me into this R & S Delivered thing and she is the person that today has helped it to be what it is. She takes on the hard projects. I mean we all have our gifts right? My gifts are to deal with the easy things and let her handle the hard ones. Kidding, not kidding. She and I share an office and if we’re not talking about work in the office, we’re talking about it at home. She is not a passive owner. She’s involved daily. She is one of the hardest working people I have ever met. She does not quit. Ever. This week we will be on calls in the Chicago market.

So if you’re willing, send her a connection request and get to know her as you have me. You’ll like her a lot.

 

-Russ

Moving on up!

R & S Delivered is growing again! Tonight is moving night. In the pictures below you will see our humble beginnings. Five years ago my wife, Stacey, and I started the company in our basement. Within months we moved to 4540 Gravois in St. Louis which had 800 s.f. and we could fit 5 people! 18 months later we moved to our present location at 2816 Sutton Blvd., in St. Louis. which helped us grow to 16 people in 1700 s.f. over the past three years. Tonight we move a block up the street to 2663 Sutton where we will have 2800 s.f. and can grow up to 25 people.

Many thanks to our customers and our staff who through a lot of trust, hard work, and a perfect mix of grace and mercy have helped us grow to this point.

We love what we do.

#shipping #transportation #business #trucking #broker #growingbusiness #plasticsindustry #chemicalindustry #freightbroker #freight