Trucking & Transportation: Clearing the clutter to arrive at the solution

10/31/2018

Author: Benjamin Whaley- Operations Manager, Project Freight LLC

Day to day life comes at you quickly and the way we react to the problems we face, either from our personal or professional  lives,  becomes a direct indicator of whether we are focusing on the problem or the solution. I remember early on when I was just getting started in my career field, how it seemed like the most minor problems were that of a CEO of a fortune 500 company. In reality, they were very simple fixes so long as I followed procedures laid out by my predecessors. Today, with a little bit of time in the industry and after hundreds of solved-problems later, I can, for the most part, navigate day to day problems with a focus on the solution, rather than the problem.

Part of the job in transportation and trucking, with emphasis on the project-type jobs we commonly service, is being a good leader to guide the participating parties in the right direction. Tempers flare, varying opinions are voiced, and the clarity of things becomes muddled. Helping all parties move in the direction of solution is my responsibility. Throughout my childhood, I was raised in a way that demanded finding solutions to the problems life served. I can thank my Father for that.  More times than not, that early experience has helped supplement my ability to navigate the problems we so commonly see in transportation.

I believe to be successful in life and in business, I need to be able to step away from the problem for enough time to improvise, adapt, and overcome, knowing that whatever the problem THERE IS A SOLUTION. Passing this type of mindset along to customers, drivers, and other members can sometimes be challenging. This is where positive leadership, clear communication, and explicit action becomes fundamental to calming the storm. It’s a prideful moment when all of those dynamics become simpatico and I can look back and know that I did the right things in creating harmony to yesterdays problems.

Sometimes I chuckle— the long hours at the office, pushing to meet schedules, and the weeks-long jobs that feel like an eternity. Bringing the work home with me is unavoidable. It’s often said by psychology-minded people that this is not ideal, however, I disagree.  I believe this gives me an edge in the industry and strengthens the relationships I have with drivers, customers, and other key players. I take it home with me because I have to. I am commited to the problem, but even more so, to the solution. I live and breathe it.  As the days pass, my experience grows, and the size of the problem shrinks, I’ve got to keep my eye on the prize and heart connected to my brain, knowing what I am doing here is making a difference and that possibly my input can ease an unsettled mind.

We often refer to ourselves as the “cleanup crew.” It’s a joking name, with a serious connotation. We have dubbed ourselves in relation to the very essence of  this BLOG. Countless times we receive calls from a customer in a panic worried that their very important job or delivery will not get made. With a smirk, we gladly accept the challenge and head back to the proverbial battlefield. It’s not nice, neat, and pretty every time, but the job always gets done with favorable results. Sometimes, it’s only because we have seasoned ourselves to see through the clutter and focus on the solution.

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