I went to one of those motivational speaking seminars. The ones where they assemble an all-star cast of leading business thinkers and speakers and transmit a live broadcast to audiences around the world in halls or local theaters. I enjoy these, and often think of ideas drawn from speeches by Malcolm Gladwell, Stephen Covey, Jack Walsh, Tom Peters, and Seth Godin.
One speaker in particular has stuck with me over the years though. It was a presentation by Marcus Buckingham. He had written and spoken on the issue of Leadership. He is the author of the book ‘The One Thing You Need to Know’.
He was a compelling speaker who made his topic come alive with strong oratory. He told a story of Mario Andretti, one of the greatest race car drivers of his time.
I have never forgotten that quote by Andretti, nor have I ever forgotten the business metaphor associated with it.
Andretti realized that on the race course that, when there was a crash and all the other drivers slammed on their brakes, that this provided the perfect opportunity to push down the accelerator on his race car and slingshot ahead of everyone else. I find the notion either extremely courageous, or terribly foolhardy, but I will leave that for others to decide.
But I know this. Hard won gains rarely present themselves in a favorable light. There is always some element of risk if you are going to get a disproportionate return. I can remember back in the 90’s when someone assigned to work with the Web group in your company was seen as someone being put out to pasture.
‘What did that guy do wrong?’
It is absurd today. We now realize that some of these people were the Mario Andretti’s of the business world… the early, early adopters.
Today is a bit of difficult time in the freight industry. There has a been a drop-off in commodity volumes – newspapers in Canada say that CP Rail, Canada’s biggest railway, will see an 8% drop in volume. This drop off send ripples through other parts of the transportation sector, especially trucking, where they are now competing sometimes with rail pricing that has been lowered to absorb their excess capacity… pricing that no trucking company can, or really should, match.
But it’s important to remember that things are down for everyone. I talk to some of my trucking software customers and many are looking for loads. Others now have the time to implement new trucking software or freight brokerage software realizing that they can now eek out just a bit of time to work ON their business, not IN their business, for a change.
Perhaps this is the time where you implement new systems and processes in your business. Look at trying some new things… pushing down the accelerator… implementing some new freight broker + carrier software that will get you ahead when the downturn comes to an end – finding yourself driving out front, ahead of the competition.
Just like Mario Andretti.
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