A couple of weeks ago on June 6th, 2019 a dream was accomplished. Even though to the handful of folks who heard about the event or attended may have thought it appeared in happen within the matter of a month, it took over two years to come about. During this two year period I failed multiple times, frustrated a few people, made a handful of amazing relationships, and learned a ton along the way. Part of me hates that it took over two years to have this event come to fruition, and the other part of me wouldn’t have it any other way.
The real question is WHY on God’s green earth should you or anyone else stick with something for two years or more? I believe that can be best explained from what I learned over this time period.
The first thing I learned is that to accomplish anything of impact you have to surround yourself with an amazing community. This event all started with someone who has become one of my best friends. This man is a champion and crazily enough has been supportive of all my harebrained ideas. Bo Cordell is a huge reason why this event even happened. It was because of our monthly coffees that we started having over 3 years ago that an idea, to help the logistics and supply chain community, turned into this event . A little over a year and a half ago we tried to start this community, but our relationships, time and capacity we had to offer were not enough. Even though we had a little success in the beginning, the momentum, support and knowledge wasn’t there to keep it going full steam.
The second thing I learned is that you have to be mindful that you are not sprinting past your family and friends. There were a handful of times when I could have pulled this off earlier, but I would have had no one around me to celebrate with. I remember countless conversations and nights having tough and frustrating conversations with my wife. I was leaving hear and my kids in the wake of my dreams and ambitions and that only would have ended in frustration and pain. I am so thankful that if I listened to hear and took a moment of rest.
The third thing I learned was that to accomplish anything of impact or importance it is all about taking small steps. From the very beginning I wanted to be surrounded by a huge community that made the other good ol’ boy clubs look outdated and weak, make an impact in legislation around logistics and supply chain, and have a large and well attended event. All of these things are great, but to do them all at once and right away is ridiculous. The bigness of the idea was too much for us to handle, and over time it was whittled down to the carrier community event that happened on the 6th. It’s this last idea of small steps that actually saved this ambition from falling away for another two years.
Why stick with something for two years… because you have no idea of the amazing places it will take you, the lessons you will learn, and the adventures you will have along the way. Without this experience I wouldn’t have realized those three lessons:
To accomplish anything of impact it takes surrounding yourself with community.
Don’t sprint past your family and friends towards your goal. You don’t want to accomplish anything and realize you are at the end all alone.
Don’t go for broke. Instead, start walking and figure out the next small step that will be a great foundation for the next step and the one after that.
This company that I visited does everything with excellence, and when I say everything… I mean everything. They even care about the details so much, that their yard where they have all of their equipment looked like perfection with each truck and trailer lined up perfectly. As some would say “There is a place for everything, and everything is in it’s place.”
Being mindful of the details didn’t just stop with the equipment in the yard. Part of the reason I visited exactly when I did is because part of the process for them to deliver our product involves cross docking and loading trucks from various origin points. Not only did they make this whole scenario look effortless, they made sure that as they were moving the product from one place to the next, that all the lids where on just right, that the plastic wrap didn’t look like hell, that pallets were in good shape, that the trailers were clean, and that everything looked at its best.
I know what I just described seems like a simple task, but it truly isn’t. If it was, there would never be refused product for boxes looking like hell or that fell over because of a weak wrap job, or broken pallet shards all over a once clean trailer. It’s these small actions of being mindful of ALL the details that make the biggest difference. In talking with this company about all of this, they talked about their why behind it all. “If the product looks nice and in place, when the doors are opened up for it to be inspected, it puts the inspector at ease and makes the process go more smoothly. Not only that, the buyers hear about it and potentially start buying more of your product because it is consistently in great shape. If they buy more of your product, you will need more trucks to ship it and everyone wins.”
It is a simple philosophy, but one that is truly overlooked time and time again. It’s also a philosophy that takes humility and a heart of service to execute well.
What are the small actions that you can make within your day to day operations that will have a big impact and increase business?
I work in a department at work that at times can be very stressful, logistics. Logistics is full of some people with tempers that want things done yesterday, and if their plans don’t go how they expect them to, they get frustrated. I know how they feel, because when my plans get shifted and changed, it can be quite annoying.
One thing I know is that no matter what happens, it usually isn’t the fault of the person I am talking to. This individual just happens to be caught in the middle of it, and even if it was their fault, I know that if it was me, I would still want to be treated with respect.
All of this intro leads me to what happened a couple of days ago.
I was at home and received a call back from one of the supervisors at our other plants and I asked if he knew why it was taking hours longer than it should have to load a truck. As we talked more and more about this issue I was getting more and more heated and my tone was one of frustration, which obviously was putting my teammate on the defensive. Right in the middle of all of our conversation he says that I need to watch my tone. That response hit my like a ton of bricks and made me realize that still have some things to learn. It ended up that almost all of the reasons why they were behind in loading the truck were not their fault and couldn’t have been prevented.
Now, before we even finished our conversation I stopped in the middle Of it all and appologized. I said that my tone was inappropriate and there was no reason for me to respond like that. I said I had been in the wrong because there was never a reason I should have treated a fellow teammate, or anyone else, like that.
From this instance I learned two things: One is that no matter how I am feeling, I always need to treat people with respect, not just with my words, but with my tone. The other is no matter how the other person chooses to respond during and after the situation, I need to own up to my own actions and make sure that I treat them how I want to be treated.
These two lessons are also old as time themselves, but I know that I obviously need the constant reminder.