SPEED In Business
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Welcome to Driving Success.
I want to just give you a little insight on what today’s podcast is all about. It’s about speed in your business.
How do you find the middle ground between having a wonderful culture and keeping things speedy, getting done fast? And in this episode I give you five tips that if you do these five tips, heck, if you just think about them before you do them, that’s a start. But if you actually think about them, learn them, execute on them, you will end up meeting the middle ground of both having great culture and speed.
So enjoy this episode. I remind you, do us a favor, share it, like it, comment on it. Tell your friends in the transportation industry that there’s a new podcast called Driving Success powered by Commercial Fleet in which we teach transportation companies how to run great businesses.
Almost like helping transportation CEOs go from the entrepreneur to the CEO.
This podcast is for the transportation industry in which we talk about how you, in the transportation industry, might be amazing at doing the transportation thing. You’re great at haul and freight, you’re great at digging dirt, you’re great at towing cars, but you just may not be that great at running a business. So we’re here to help you go from the entrepreneur to the CEO.
Today’s topic is called speed in business. Now, if you’ve been listening to the past episodes of this podcast, you’ll realize that we’re talking about culture, core values, and how to get that integrated into your office. So if culture is the Holy Grail of business, which it is, don’t believe that BS that it’s revenue, it’s not revenue, it’s culture. Culture is the Holy Grail. Speed’s going to be a pretty damn close second.
Speed gets you noticed. Speed beats the competition. Speed keeps everybody on their toes. Speed wins deals and speed gets your ass paid. Now, I’m not talking about the speed of your trucks going down the highway.
I’m talking about the speed at which you run your business. I’m talking about how fast you return phone calls or how fast does your team get projects completed or how fast does your repair and maintenance facility get your trucks fixed and how fast does your accounting department collect receivables. This is the type of speed that gets you to the next level. But hear me on this.
Speed, done incorrectly, causes chaos, and man I know chaos. Hell I even like chaos. But when you lead a company that has culture, chaos is something that you have to avoid because in here, in what I’m talking about, lies the problem. I mean can you really have culture and speed at the same time?
Well, you better have them both, or you’re going to be out of business. Neither can suffer. You need both culture and speed. I love to move fast. I mean long before all the details are figured out, I like to go.
I like to figure it out along the way, like I’m good with, “Somebody, got directions? I just know we’re on the highway. We’re going this way, right? Like we’re going North? Anybody know what exit we’ll get? We’ll figure it out when we get there. No problem.”
It’s almost like an adventure to me and sometimes it causes total havoc, but most of the time it causes revenue. Speed doesn’t happen enough in your business and it doesn’t happen enough in mine. Because we’ve had to back away from speed to reduce the chaos because we care about the culture. The key is the ability to find this middle ground and I’m going to give you five steps here that are going to help you do both. the installation of culture and the installation of speed.
I want to stay on this havoc, this chaos thing for just a minute because a lot of entrepreneurs love chaos. We actually like this change. We like the new ideas and I’m just here to challenge you that that’s really not the way great companies are built. Sometimes you just got to slow your roll a little bit, but slow your roll that creates chaos is different than keeping speed as a fundamental to the organization.
And the reason I say this is because havoc and chaos, it ruffles feathers. It interrupts the organization and it makes people freak out. And that causes the chaos. It’s what you’re trying to avoid. But most entrepreneurs can see the whole field. That’s why we’re okay with some chaos cause we pretty well see the end game and we pretty much know we’re going to climb the hill.
In essence, it’s like the quote I like to say a lot, “Winners figure out a way to win.” You’re going to figure out a way to win. You’re going to figure out a way to survive. You’re going to be the Phoenix when it all burns and there’s nothing but ashes left.
You’re going to be the bird that comes out of it all. Good for you man. Maybe that’s why he got one truck and you’re the only person driving it. It’s not how you make great companies. Great companies are about empowerment and delegation and giving people responsibility and getting the hell out of their way. And until you understand that, your desire for speed is going to continue to create havoc in the organization. And that’s what we’re trying to avoid.
If all hell broke loose, I would choose culture number one with speed a real close second. And that in lies your challenge today. How do you become the leader that allows the organization to do both? Let’s be frank about it. One of the real reasons that you’re so crazy about speed and you trade speed for culture or you trade revenue for culture is because you’re so afraid that the thing’s going to crash and burn, that you’re going to run out of money, that you’re not going to make payroll. And it makes you into this sort of maniacal leader. I was there, man, I did it.
But really what that means is you don’t trust the organization, dude. You don’t trust the product. You don’t trust the service, you don’t trust that you have built something that can withstand the test of time that people want. And I don’t mean people, meaning your clients.
I’m talking both your clients want the products and services that you offer, but your employees want the organization that you created. Hell, not everybody wants to be the boss. Your job is to build something that makes them say, “I’m cool without being the boss.”
And that could be through contests, it could be through appreciation, could be letting them feel contributing to the organization or just might be paying people a lot of money. However you need to figure it out.
But here are the five tips that are going to help you figure it out. Clearly, I get a little crazy about this because to be perfectly frank with you, I’m still struggling with it, man. From time to time I’m like, “Hey, let’s put some speed on this man. Push that throttle down all the way. Let’s really just… Let’s blow the place up and see what the hell happens because we’re going to be okay. I promise you. Shit, we’ve been in business 25 years.”
And it makes people crazy. You got to stop doing that. I’m telling myself the same thing as I’m telling you today. We got to stop doing that as the bosses. Let’s get into the five tips.
The first thing you got to do to make sure that speed stays in your organization is you have to map out the workflow. How long does it take the change the oil in one of your trucks? Is it an hour? How long does it take your shop to change the oil in one of your trucks? You got to know that. You got to map out the workflow. How long does it take to tow a car if the total mileage of the tow is, say 60 miles? Is that a three hour job? Is it a two hour job? Or do you just say to the driver, “Hey, go pick up this car and here’s the address.”
Well, do you know how long it’s going to take him to go tow that car? Do you have the expectation? Have you mapped out the workflow to be able to know what that job time looks like? Because he or she might be think they’re doing it in three hours and they’re hauling ass and you think it should be done in an hour and a half. That’s a problem. That’s a cultural problem and a speed problem.
Here’s number two, set the expectation. So now that you’ve mapped out the workflow and you know how long it takes to do that job, let everyone know what’s expected. So, “Hey, we have mapped out that it takes us one hour to do oil changes on our trucks. So next Wednesday, we’re going to bring in our fleet of eight trucks and we work an eight hour workday and that means that we are going to do seven oil changes. I’m giving everybody an hour for lunch.” That means seven oil changes are going to be done.
If you hadn’t mapped out the workflow and your shop is changing oil in a three hour window, well that’s basically two and a half trucks a day that your team is doing.
Well when you set the expectation because you mapped out the workflow and now you’re doing seven versus two and a half, it’s almost three times the production because you mapped it out and you told everybody, “We believe that the oil change can be done in one hour, not the two and a half hours that you guys have been taking or the three hours that you guys have been taking.”
So number one, map out the workflow.
Number two, set the expectation.
Number three, what are your non negotiables? What tasks within the company must, at all times, operate at maximum speed?
A perfect example of this is accounts receivable. You tell your accounting department that you want every outside invoice, every account receivable collected in 30 days. This is a simple expectation and task and non-negotiable that can literally change your business.
I promise you right now, if you went into your accounting department, you have accounts receivables that are taking way too long to collect. It’s causing your cashflow problems, hell, you might even be missing some of your bills.
So now you’re paying interest or late fees on the bills because you’re not pushing as a nonnegotiable that you want your receivables collected every 30 days. Hell you might even be factoring your receivables because you can’t collect them fast enough because you didn’t map out the workflow, set the expectation, and then treat it as a nonnegotiable that your accounting department has to get the money in every 30 days.
Number four, share the reasoning. Tell people why speed matters. “Hey listen, shipping department, I need you to get these boxes out of our shipping department, off the shelves, boxed up and onto the delivery trucks because when it hits the delivery truck, we get to bill the customer, treat it as revenue, start the accounts receivable process and get paid within 30 days. The longer you take to get the product off the shelf and into the box and on the truck, the longer it takes us to get our money.”
So if it took you a day to pull it from the shelf and another day to put it in a box and another day to go ahead and put it on the truck, and that happened for a hundred shipments a day, you can see how this thing just steamrolls to the negative. So tell people the reason why their job matters to the big picture of the organization.
And number five, don’t be an a-hole about it. Set the expectation, map out the workflow, give people the reasoning, tell them why it matters, and don’t be a jerk about it. Because here’s what you are doing. You may not know how long it takes to do an oil change. Maybe you never changed oil in a truck before and you just think it should take an hour. But if you actually did the job, you’d realize that three hours is how long it takes.
It takes three hours because the lift is broken. There isn’t inventory of oil at all times for your team to work efficiently. The filters that are needed for the trucks are the wrong sizes. So they got to go to Napa, the auto parts store, pick up the filters and come on back and the whole thing takes forever. But you don’t know that because you’re being a jerk about it because you didn’t do the work. So slow your roll just a little bit and understand that the expectations that you’re setting for your people are accurate and fair and reasonable. That’s how you can do these five things without being an a-hole about it.
Finally, we’ll just call this a bonus tip. Speed should always be an underlying requirement to the organization because here’s what happens when you don’t. Everyone operates at their own interpretation of speed and it might frustrate you as the boss and you come down on them incorrectly. They think they’re doing a great job.
They think they’re operating fast, they’re doing it to their level of competency and you come down with your own version of it and it blows the place up. And take it from me, I haven’t done that once. I guarantee you I’ve done it… I bet I’ve done it a thousand times in my 25 year career. Don’t be me. We’ll see you down the road.