Triangle of Trouble and Success: How to Maximize Employee Engagement

Today’s podcast is simple, yet incredibly effective if you make the decision to take action and do it, we call it the triangle of trouble and the triangle of success. In the episode I give you a visual of how to think about it. We’re also going to give you a link, free link, that you can download the template of what it actually looks like, what the triangle of trouble looks like and what the triangle of success looks like. But basically we’re trying to get the message across that your people need to feel accountable, contributing and appreciated. And if they don’t, if they feel non-accountable, non-contributing and not-appreciated, it’s costing you big bucks.

So learn this concept, simple yet so effective, of how you get your organization to operate in the triangle of success. Watch the revenue grow, watch the employee happiness and engagement grow, and I’ll leave this as a little teaser, what it does if you exit, if you choose to sell your business. What the increase in net income because of the simple concept could do in your enterprise value in your exit.

Welcome to Driving Success podcast powered by Commercial Fleet Financing, I’m your host, Matt Manero. This podcast is designed to help transportation companies run better businesses. You already know how to do the primary work that you’re in. You know how to dig holes and scrape the ground and deliver freight from point A to point B, but the purpose of our podcast is to help you run a great business while you’re doing that.

And after all these years of talking to thousands and thousands of transportation companies, we realize it’s a big problem. That transportation companies, while great technicians are not necessarily great business owners. So our podcast is designed to help you become a great CEO in the business that you’ve chosen of transportation. Today’s topic is very simple, yet very important, we call it the triangle of trouble and the triangle of success. This applies to your employee base.

How do you know whether your employees are engaged? And there’s a lot of stats out there, but the one that I resonate with is that 67% of employees are disengaged from the work and the organization that they work for. That means 67% of your employees are on the verge of being walking zombies. And you complain about them, you say, “I can’t get my people to do what they’re supposed to do. I can’t get my people to work. I can’t hire the right people”. We’ve heard all of it. The reality is that’s your fault, it’s not their fault. They’re looking for the inspiration. They’re looking for the value. They’re looking for the reason why their work should matter.

And we hope that through you listening to this podcast, we deliver some strategies that move you in this direction so you can get greater engagement. Here’s why it matters, of those 67% of companies in which the employee base is so disengaged, the net income of those organizations is 13% lower than companies in which the employee say they are engaged. That’s 13% reward to your bottom line, to your net income, by developing a more engaged workforce and this is a strategy to do just that. It’s called the triangle of trouble in the triangle of success and it’s the topic of today’s podcast.

I want you to visualize a triangle with three points on the triangle, and on those points each point represents a feeling that your employee base has.

The first point of the triangle is going to have the word non-accountable on it.

The second point is going to have non-contributing on it.

And the third point is going to have non-appreciated on it.

Those three points represent the primary feeling of your employee base. That means that many of them feel non-accountable, non-contributing and non-appreciated. Now here’s the takeaway, the first takeaway of today, if your employees feel one of these feelings, they feel non-accountable or non-contributing or not-appreciated, you can get in as the owner or the manager and you can fix it. You can show them how to be more accountable and that their work is actually making a greater contribution and therefore they should feel more appreciated for doing accountable and contributing work.

But when they start to feel two or three of these, I’m going to tell you from personal experience, it’s pretty much over. You’re not going to fix it. They are too far gone. You are going to have to make a fundamental change in the organization to do a simple strategy, which is remove the word non from the feelings. But if somebody is so far gone that they feel not-accountable, non-contributing and not-appreciated, they feel all three of those, the odds are not good that you’re going to bring them back and that they’re going to care about the organization. It’s pretty much too far gone.

I hate to break the news to you, but it’s true. So wouldn’t it be better if you just made the commitment to never do the triangle of trouble, in which your employees feel not-accountable, non-contributing and non-appreciated.

Let me show you what it looks like and how you can do it. You start with the same triangle again, but instead of this time it being the triangle of trouble with the word non in front of accountable, contributing and appreciated, it’s gone. And the triangle success looks like the same triangle, but people feel accountable, they feel contributing and they feel appreciated. So let’s talk about it.

The reason you say, “I can’t get my people to do the work”, is because they don’t know what they’re accountable for. Your salespeople don’t know how many calls they’re supposed to make because you never told it to them. You never set the expectation, delivered the layer of accountability and then held them to it, so they just guess.

So one day your sales person is making 10 phone calls and the next day they’re making 30 phone calls, but in reality, they need to be making 75 phone calls to spin the wheel. To talk to enough people to quote enough deals, to put them in an environment in which they have a chance to be able to close enough deals. You have to hold your people accountable by setting crystal clear expectations. Set the expectations, hold them accountable to the expectations, and I promise you 99% of people will rise to the occasion. Or if they don’t, you will let them go and they will leave your organization without them hating you.

But when you fire people, because they couldn’t live up to the expectation that they never knew existed because you didn’t tell it to them and therefore they didn’t know what they were accountable for, they leave and they dislike you. Trust me when I tell you people who can’t live up to the standard, the expectation that you hold them accountable to, will blame themselves before they will blame you if you do it right.

The next piece is super important and everyone bashes on millennials, right? This new entitled workforce, I just don’t buy it. I see a lot of young people who want to be held accountable, who want to do great work, they just look for something may be a little different than the old timers like me look for. They look for contribution, they look for purpose, they look for meaning, “Tell me that the work I’m being asked to do means something”.

That’s your job as the owner or the manager to create that. Now look, if you’re in the trucking business, let me help you with it. We deliver food from Los Angeles to New York, and if we don’t get the food there, people don’t eat. We deliver turkeys and if we don’t get the turkeys to the grocery store, people won’t have their turkeys on Thanksgiving. There’s a lot of people who will connect to that.

One of the taglines that we have here at Commercial Fleet is We Finance America One Truck At A Time. We do finance America, we finance small business owners. We help a company go from 1 truck to 5 trucks, from 5 trucks to 50 trucks. Think of what happens when we do the financing for that, and a company goes from 5 trucks to 50 trucks. Think of how many more people get employed, not just driving the trucks, but on all sides.

What about in the warehouse? How many more people get employed at truck stops that have to fuel, and have to sell food to the truckers, and trucking manufacturers who have to make stuff for the trucks, and tire companies? You are driving America in your truck and we’re financing America when we finance your truck, and a lot of people like that, it makes them feel that the work they’re doing is contributing.

Now, I’ve given you a big example of how it contributes to the American economy, but what about just in your smaller office? How about your operations people or your warehouse people who have to do a great job to get the trucks loaded with the turkeys, to deliver the turkeys to the grocery store so people can buy them so they can have Turkey on Thanksgiving? That contribution matters.

You need to make sure that everybody in the organization knows that what they’re doing is contributing to their success. How about from a marketing standpoint? Not everything that happens in marketing can be connected to revenue, but marketing needs to know that they’re contributing to the revenue. Not all of it is totally tangible and easily verifiable, but consistent marketing helps.

What about your IT people? Do you tell them that they’re contributing to the success, because the phone, the voice over IP phones don’t go down, so your salespeople can make the 75 phone calls that they’re expected to make and held accountable to make? IT contributes to that, make sure they know it.

And the last piece of the triangle of success is appreciation. Man, I have seen my top sales guys who make a lot of money fight to win a contest for a $10 Starbucks gift card. Give these things out, man. Give out gift cards, give out medals, give out awards. It doesn’t have to cost you a lot of money to make people feel appreciated. It could just be a paper award.

You can have your marketing department make up the award and all you do is once a week, type in the winner’s name, put it in a cheap frame that you bought at the dollar store and hand it out every Monday at your company meeting. That makes people feel appreciated because they were held accountable to the expectation, the accountability produced a contribution, and that contribution got recognized and they felt appreciated.

It’s the simple thing called the triangle of trouble and triangle of success. And all you have to do is recognize these three words, accountable, contributing and appreciated, and make sure that your employee base doesn’t feel non-accountable and non-contributing and non-appreciated. We’re going to include a link to this template for you to have a visual of what we talk about here of the triangle of trouble and the triangle of success.

There’ll be a link in the podcast below for you to get this. It’s a simple two page thing, it’ll have our logo at the top and it’ll have triangle of trouble on one side with the word non, and it’ll have the triangle of success which will be accountable, contributing and appreciated.

Share this with your team. Ask the tough questions, “How do you guys feel? Do you feel as though you don’t know what to do and therefore you’re not accountable? And that when you do, do the work that you’re expected to do, that it contributes, and then when it’s accountable and it’s contributing, that we as a company do a good job to make you feel appreciated”? You get this right and you’re 67% of your disengaged employees start to become engaged, and that 13% reduction in net income starts to move up and it becomes a 10% increase in net income because you’ve got the triangle of trouble and triangle of success correct, magical.

I’m dead serious. If you’re doing $1 million a year in revenue and you use the triangle of trouble and triangle of success and you move to the triangle of success and it increases your net income by 10%, that’s $100,000 impact to your bottom line. Is that something you should be working on in 2020? Is it a simple strategy, that by listening to the podcast we may have put a hundred grand in your pocket? It sounds like a good idea to me.

What if you’re doing 10 million in revenue? 10% of 10 million is $1 million bucks to the net income. What if you’re thinking about selling your trucking company and the marketplace is paying 5 times net income, and you put $1 million more to your bottom line in 2020 and therefore it triggered a valuation, an enterprise value of $5 million bucks because you listen to a podcast and you got a successful strategy and you took the strategy and you took action against it and you did it, and your people no longer felt disengaged and they felt accountable and contributing and appreciated, and it increased your net income by 10%, and then the buyer paid 5X to the 10% it was $1 million bucks, you just got an extra $5 mil.

That’s why we would like to ask you to help us share this podcast. Help us get the word out. What we’re talking about are simple yet proven strategies that work, not just in transportation, but they work in any business. That’s why we do Driving Success, the podcast every week to help you run a better transportation company. Like it, share it, comment on it, follow us. Tell your friends about it. Jump on the CB this afternoon and say, “Man, I just listened to a damn good podcast. You guys should listen to Driving Success podcasts by Commercial Fleet”. We’d be grateful. We’ll see you all down the road.

Thanks for watching Driving Success powered by Commercial Fleet Financing.


Video Podcast