What do you think of when the word “strong leader” comes to mind? Maybe you think of a leader as being a forceful person who finds it easy to make tough decisions or you picture a person who can stand in front of a room and confidently command orders. But do you picture somebody who is an extraordinary listener? Someone who values your opinion? Willy Schmidt pictures just that and a recent initiative himself and his partner, Bernard, developed is proof that Willy means serious business about his capability to be the leader in listening.
Willy and Bernard sent out a company-wide message. The request was clear. All they wanted was one idea that could help the company in some way.
I have asked Willy a few questions about this initiative and what it meant to his company, Willy’s Trucking Services. Below is the conversation:
What gave you this idea..to ask for an idea?
“During meetings, I would notice I wanted to listen to what people had to say just as much as I wanted to do the talking. It made me realize there was an opportunity there to make everyone feel like they had a voice. Offering a reward company-wide for a great idea from a team member made sense and as soon as we put that on the table, we realized we had also picked up on the needs of the drivers; one being that they weren’t really being heard. ”
When all of the submissions came in, did you instantly see the one that you thought was a winner or were there many winning ideas to choose from?
Looking through the submissions, Bernard and I got the ideas down to a top 10 and then from there, we cut it in half. Then we decided on the winning idea; it was such a good idea and so simple that no one is even thinking about it, yet it’s so powerful.
So, who is the winner??
Our driver, Tim, submitted an idea that said: “Take a moment”. To us, “take a moment” could mean all kinds of things. It can be used by our drivers on the road, by our marketing team, by operations and management- the list goes on. It is so simple yet is meaningful in all sorts of ways.
All of the trucks have that decal on the doors now, right on the outside of the door, by the door handle. They all see that quote when they are going in and out of the trucks. We even have it on the side of our BBQ trailer! You also have to think, because it’s on the outside of the trucks, it’s not just us benefitting from this either. Sitting in traffic someone else could look over to our truck and see this quote. They could think to themselves as well “Hmm, take a moment”. It’s not just for us.
That’s fantastic. Would you recommend this method to other business owners and entrepreneurs?
By all means, I would recommend this…The drivers are the people out there and they have the most time to think on the road. Reach out to your team and let them know you’re listening.
What do you think about Willy and Bernard’s idea? What are more ways to grab genius ideas from your staff members? Share with us below!
Author: Melodie Mills