Have you ever overheard conversations like this in your brokerage?
Salesperson: I met with ABC Shipper this morning and was blindsided when they asked me about how I plan to resolve “this issue.” I had to tell them that we were reviewing the potential options and would be back with them later today. I called into the office and I am still waiting for useful information about what happened and how we plan to remedy the situation. I feel like I am a second-class citizen within my organization.
Operations: I’m not really sure what “salesperson” does each day. We keep having to find cheaper trucks for his customers and we haven’t had a decent new customer in quite some time. How are we supposed to grow without new business? I feel like, without the new business, the lower rates are going to keep us from providing the service to our customers, which will cause us to lose more business, and on and on.
Too often, there is a disconnect between the sales department and the operations department. The sales goals of maximizing margin combined with customer acquisition and expansion are not aligned with the operational needs of covering loads and finding incremental load volume increases. Daily service issues are not always communicated throughout the organization which leave salespeople scrambling to provide the assurance to customers to allay their concerns. New rates and customers arrive to the operations team without a defined strategy for service and growth. This disconnect between goals and activity causes an “us versus them” dynamic to form within an organization that can permeate the culture and stifle growth.
At the heart of these issues is leadership and corporate vision in defining expectations, behaviors, and beliefs. Clarity and communication of the company goals across the organization is essential to building the belief in the strategic direction. Leaders need to provide the context (the why) and the process (the how) to support the overall strategy. Clarity is achieved through simple crafting of the vision and goals. The clearer the message, the easier it is to retain, repeat, and remember. Regular communication of the message helps all people begin to internalize and promote the message.
When people know their responsibilities (and the reasons for them), along with the responsibilities of others, in achieving the goals of the organization, the team begins to gain cohesion and will rally around the goals together. Within the team itself, collaboration builds credibility and trust. Regular communication and review to recognize success and identify obstacles improves the responsiveness needed to move forward.