It’s been said by many experts on the topic of leadership: “If you’re not ready to change, you’re not ready to lead”.
Leadership is not a static endeavor. In fact, many apathetic individuals in a “position” of leadership, are nothing more than “Leaders of the inevitable that are merely allowing the future to determine its self.
In today’s VUCA world, an acronym for a business world of volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity, companies today that pursue and embrace change are generally healthy, growing and dynamic organizations while companies that fear change tend to be stagnant entities on their way to a slow painful death.
While they may have been proverbial “cash cows” at one point, they have become today’s “sitting ducks” while both the competition and the economy and the rising cost of business quietly picks away at their market share and profit margins.
While I myself am involved in the world of telematics and helping fleet oriented companies recapture lost revenue by the modification of driver behaviors, I am also in the profession of leadership training and development.
I could be writing this article about many different industries and company profiles. In fact, feel free to substitute the title of “Owner”, “Fleet Manager” or “Operations Manager” with a title that is involved in or considers themselves to be in a leadership position.
So, why is the telematics industry thriving right now and growing at a record pace among fleet based organizations?
With today’s rising cost of conducting business, the need for increased productivity and an emphasis on safety in our increasingly litigious society, companies, large and small have identified the need for change.
The need for change exists in every organization. That’s not a mystery.
The most complex area surrounding change however is focusing your efforts in the right areas, for the right reasons and at the right times. The ambiguity and risk can be removed from the change agenda by simply focusing on three areas:
1) Current Customers-what needs to change to provide them with better service?
2) Potential customers-what needs to change to profitably create new customers?
3) Corporate Culture-what changes need to occur to better serve your team and improve their resources so that they can better influence the first two?
However, as a leader, you cannot effectively lead change without understanding the landscape of change! There are four typical responses to change in any organization.
1) The Victim: These are the individuals who view the change as a personal attack on their persona, their role, their job or their area of responsibility. In the world of telematics, these are the first to scream “Big Brother” and insist that “The man is out to get them”. Despite the fact that the entire company is implementing telematics, they are certain that management is looking for ways to get rid of them. They will cry about their privacy being invaded, even though they work for and drive the assets of the company and are paid for doing so. They are also the same people who think nothing of using a Kroger’s, Speedway or any one of 1000 loyalty program cards that track their monthly purchases and use that info for marketing purposes.
2) The Neutral Bystander: This is the apathetic group that is neither for nor against the change to a Telematic system. They won’t protest or champion that change. In fact they just will go with the flow and attempt to stay under the radar, comfortable that the “Victims” are drawing enough attention to their own behavior by protesting so loudly, as if they have something to hide.
3) The Critic: This individual opposes any and ALL change. They are typically a much older employee that probably would have fought the internet and email if it had caused them to have to learn something new. Keep in mind, that not all critics are overt in their resistance. Many remain in the “stealth” mode and attempt to derail change behind the scenes by using their influence on others. I can’t tell you how many times that an older “critic” fleet manager would fight against telematics and the implementation despite proving how it would recapture up to $2500 in lost revenue per vehicle annually. After all, it’s not his money!
Whether overt or covert, you must identify influential critics early in the process if you hope to succeed in your program and take steps to neutralize their influence.
4) The Advocate or the Champion: Just as important as identifying the influential critic early on, it is also necessary to identify the influential advocate to give momentum and enthusiasm to the change initiative.
Not only will the EMBRACE change…they will evangelize it!
Once you have identified these change constituencies, you must involve all of them, communicate properly to each of them and be relentless. With proper messaging and involvement, even adversaries can be converted into allies.
Managing the change associate with a successful telematics implementation requires that all key players have control over four critical elements:
1) Vision Alignment-Those that understand and agree with your vision must be elevated in the change process. Those who disagree must be converted or have their influence neutralized.
2) Responsibility-Your change agents must have a sufficient level of responsibility to achieve the necessary results.
3) Accountability-Your change agents must be accountable for reaching their objectives.
4) Authority-If the first three items are in place, yet your change agents have not been given the needed authority to get the job done, the first three items won’t mean much.
It is CRITICAL…that you set your leaders up for success and not failure by giving them the proper tools, talent, resources, responsibility and authority necessary for finishing the race.
Through an accomplished speaking and training background along with a thorough understanding of the telematics industry, Vincent Rush has helped build Lynx Telematics into one of the better kept secrets in the emerging world of GPS Behavior Modification tools for today’s fleet managers and small business owners by focusing on service and helping companies to understand that the secret is in the proper implementation and management of a well run program.
For a free consultation on how telematics could benefit your business operations though a reduction in operational costs and increased productivity while enhancing a safer culture of drivers, contact Vince directly at (513) 965-6318 or firstname.lastname@example.org