Letters to my child. Leadership, Business and Kaizen.

Connecting to People: Truck Drivers

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Dear Ender,

Today something really extraordinary happened at work. I often deal with third party truck drivers. They handle the delivery of our products accross Canada.

At work we have strict rules in regards to mutual respect, safety and higyene. For the past couple of months we have been facing some problems making some drivers adhere to our code. Since they do not work for us directly we cannot enforce immediate consequences to correct bad behavior. All we can do is call their companies and report the incidents.

Today I saw a driver signing his paperwork in the office while still talking on his phone. I have been trying to make a real effor to connect to people every day. I tapped his back, introduced myself and asked his name. The driver hung up the phone, TOOK OFF HIS HAT and introduced himself.

I was not sure a handshake was coming but I extended my hand anyways. Remembering a Will Smith video I watched last week (I am going to post about it soon), I said “Welcome to our plant” with a big smile.

After that I told him we have bathroom on site. I said we keep it really clean for them. I explained cell phones are not allowed on the floor and that he needs safety glasses and safety shoes to walk in. No exceptions.

We have all that information posted on the walls but I outlined it to him so he knows those rules apply to everyone. When he left the office, I wrote his name on a piece of paper and the name of the company he works for. If I see him again, I am going to remember his name and use it when I say hello.

By learning his name I removed his anonymity and replaced it with accountability.

I shot my boss a quick message relating this encounter. He backed me up and reminded me of a story he once told about a bank teller at his bank who knew the first name of every single customer coming in. He thought that was extraordinary.

With a little effort and a notebook full of names, I can be extraordinary too.

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