“Where there’s an obstacle, there’s an opportunity.”

July 11, 2018
Turn followers into leaders.

During the Dossier Systems 2018 Summit earlier this year, keynote speaker Ricks D. Logobart shared insights from his history in fleet maintenance. (Yes, the “s” at the end of his first name is correct.)

Now in charge of running his own fleet consulting company, Logobart-Ross Consulting, Inc., Logobart took the common path in this industry of working his way up to supervisor. He worked for the City of El Segundo - what he dubbed “the worst fleet in America,” where trucks would sit in the down line for more than a year, and at any given time only 50 percent of staff would show up to work.

He struggled to figure out how to tackle the issues of supervising a fleet - how to set budgets, spec vehicles, get employees to show up and be held accountable. His mentality through this process? “Where there’s an obstacle, there’s always an opportunity.”

Reverse the leadership pyramid

Logobart encourages leaders to help employees strive for personal and professional growth. “Don’t put up barriers to block opportunities,” he says. You need to “reverse the leadership pyramid,” to give employees control.

To hand off this control, you need the foundation of two pillars in place: competence and clarity.

For this, Logobart shared a YouTube video from Inno-Versity about U.S. Naval Captain David Marquet’s Talk on Greatness, about what it takes to make followers into leaders. It’s a great example of how one team - a naval nuclear submarine - reversed the leadership pyramid.

“If you want your people to think, don’t give them instructions. Give them intent,” says Logobart. By becoming decision makers, the psychological ownership shifts to the employee. They create and know the answer.

Instead of a world of granting permission, employees have ownership and they have authority. By creating an environment for thinking, you get better decisions and fewer delays, says Logobart. And by giving control, you create leaders.

Engage with employees

By reversing the leadership pyramid, you may be essentially creating a team of leaders. But it’s also important to interact and work together. To get the organization together as a team, and make work fun, Logopart provided a few real-world examples he employed with the City of El Segundo:

  • Find the trophy. Logobart created a “teamwork” trophy and would hide it somewhere in the shop. He made it a game to encourage employees to find the trophy. “When you have fun at work, it fosters creativity.”
  • “Cuss fund” jar. A jar that employees would fund in order to openly vent on organization issues allowed for open communication and problem-solving. Every process issue can be changed, once you identify the issue.
  • Workplace Bingo. Each employee received their own Bingo card, and Logobart would select numbers each day. Only employees present at work could participate, which helped to limit sick time. The winner was rewarded with a prize.
  • Breakfast with the boss. Logobart would supply breakfast for the staff. Gathering everyone together helped foster conversation. In particular, they would play a game. Logobart’s example was: write down two things you’ve done that you don’t think anyone else has done. Participants would pass the card to the next person, and they would place a checkmark next to something they've done, or write something new. Once all were circulated, they would talk about the cards.

Outcome

So how did Logobart do it with the City of El Segundo fleet? A simple, but slow process. Labor rates were atrocious because of low productivity. They first needed employees on board. To begin, Logobart started by explaining and educating staff as to why they were doing what they were doing. They made progress one vehicle at a time, and he wanted to ensure the employees were proud of their work.

Regardless of the role you play in the organization, you can have a hand in making an impact – either good or bad. It’s important that employees feel they have a stake in the company too.

About the Author

Erica Schueller | Media Relations Manager | Navistar

Erica Schueller is the Media Relations Manager for Navistar.

Before joining Navistar, Schueller served as Editorial Director of the Endeavor Commercial Vehicle Group. The commercial vehicle group includes the following brands: American Trucker, Bulk Transporter, Fleet Maintenance, FleetOwner, Refrigerated Transporter, and Trailer/Body Builders brands.

An award-winning journalist, Schueller has reported and written about the vehicle maintenance and repair industry her entire career. She has received accolades for her reporting and editing in the commercial and automotive vehicle fields by the Truck Writers of North America (TWNA), the International Automotive Media Competition (IAMC), the Folio: Eddie & Ozzie Awards and the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Azbee Awards.

Schueller has received recognition among her publishing industry peers as a recipient of the 2014 Folio Top Women in Media Rising Stars award, acknowledging her accomplishments of digital content management and assistance with improving the print and digital products in the Vehicle Repair Group. She was also named one Women in Trucking’s 2018 Top Women in Transportation to Watch.

She is an active member of a number of industry groups, including the American Trucking Associations' (ATA) Technology & Maintenance Council (TMC),  the Auto Care Association's Young Auto Care Networking Group, GenNext, and Women in Trucking.

In December 2018, Schueller graduated at the top of her class from the Waukesha County Technical College's 10-week professional truck driving program, earning her Class A commercial driver's license (CDL).  

She has worked in the vehicle repair and maintenance industry since 2008.

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