Recently I moved to a more remote area in Wisconsin. I love seeing the wildlife outside my window. I enjoy the turkeys, deer, rabbits, and many kinds of birds.
One especially beautiful male cardinal has become my wake up alarm each morning. He sees his reflection in the window and has determined that the image in the glass is his enemy. He sits on the tree branch and waits for the opportune moment to attack the bird in the window. He gathers his strength and lunges for the image, only to knock his head on the surface before resting on the branch, waiting for the next strike.
I find the process amusing, but I worry about how his little head is sustaining the blows. He can’t seem to take his focus off that red bird he considers is a threat and must be dealt with through physical means. The cardinal reminds me of many of us in the trucking industry. We become focused on someone or something we consider to be a threat to us and we attack. Usually the attack is verbal, but it’s often because we cannot see things from the other’s perspective.
Drivers often feel their carriers are out to cheat them and some companies create policies to address the mistrust they feel for their drivers. The trucking industry feels under attack from legislators, regulators, and their competitors. We often operate in an atmosphere of suspicion. We think that image in the glass is going to hurt us, when in reality; it’s just a reflection provoking our wrath. Think about your own situation and how your relationship with others could be more harmonious. Instead of assuming the other person is putting his or her own needs before yours, think about how you would act if you were in the same situation.
Whether you own the truck, drive the truck, or work on the truck, you have one goal in mind. You want to use the truck to earn a decent living, deliver the load for the customer, and get home safely. We should all be able to agree that this is our basic reason for being in the trucking industry. If you are a driver, you can safely assume your company wants you to deliver the load, make an income, and get home to see your family. How can you work together to make that happen? You might think your company values profit over their drivers, but if they operated solely with that goal in mind, I doubt any driver would be responding to their recruiting ads these days.
When it comes to your elected and appointed officials, you might feel as if they only care about being re-elected or that their goal is to put you out of business. If you really believe that, you have other issues with your thought process. They are focused on safety on the road, the environment, or whatever the mission their government entity was established to promote. You need to understand their vision and how you fit into that goal. Instead of attacking them, help them better understand the challenges the legislation places on your profession. Try looking out the window from their perspective instead of sitting outside and attacking the glass image, like my cardinal friend.
When I look at a tractor-trailer on the highway, I might see one name on the cab, another on the trailer and a third name on the container, but I see one driver who is responsible for getting the load to the customer. Just like that one truck, there are so many parts to the trucking industry and so much dissension between the different groups, an outsider would be amazed to see the lack of cooperation while the goal for all involved is the same. Get the load delivered, earn a decent living, and get home safely is the mission.
Don’t be like the cardinal who feels threatened by something he sees, but doesn’t exist. He’s bashing his head for no reason. Stop viewing others as a menace and focus on the industry’s quest to get you home safely with money in your pocket.
About the Author
Ellen Voie CAE, President/CEO
P O Box 400 Plover, WI 54467-0400
888-464-9482 920-312-1350 Direct
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