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Where Are You on the Technology Ladder?

By on November 1, 2017

Step Up to Make 2018 a Better, More Productive Year

Without question, a technology wave is sweeping across the industry. As you read this, the wishing and hoping regarding overthrow or delay of the ELD mandate should be in your rearview mirror. Hopefully, you’re in compliance and have turned your attention to other technology topics including integrated dashboard devices, sophisticated camera systems, onboard telematics, collision-avoidance systems, smart powertrains, loads of embedded software, the advent of alternate fuels and electric power, and the much-ballyhooed autonomous truck.

Is your head spinning yet? For 2018, I suggest you start looking ahead to what the industry can become, rather than what it was or is today. Become a visionary. If you owned or managed a company, what would you be looking at to increase productivity, reduce costs, improve safety, and provide a better life on the road for those who drive your trucks? If you’re on the bottom rungs of the technology ladder, you’ll need to embrace accelerating change, technological growth and intensifying complexity.

Much like life in general, the trucking industry is rapidly changing. With each passing day, the pace of technological change seems to be picking up speed. The pressure to respond intensifies, as does the uncertainty and anxiety resulting from the unprecedented changes that are very much unlike anything past generations of professional drivers have experienced.

We rarely take the time to think about the consequences. If change continues to move faster and faster, and the changes that occur become more and more complex, how are we to deal with this? I know of no fortunetellers, psychics, soothsayers or crystal balls that can predict the future. Therefore, we have to take the time and make the effort to think about the changes that are occurring and consider how to adapt to them and/or capitalize on them.

Your Level of Discomfort

With any change, even one for the better, you can be certain there will be some discomfort. The reason being: we humans are evolutionarily predisposed to resisting change due to the risk associated with it.

Yet, it is well understood that people and organizations that do not embrace change will not thrive, and maybe not even survive. It was Benjamin Franklin who observed: “When you’re finished changing, you’re finished.”

While the future is always unpredictable, one thing is certain. To be successful, we must think about change and prepare for the future. To grow and succeed, each driver needs to constantly and strategically review, revise and re-plan to steer his or her path into the future. We need to continue to transform, adjust to change and face critical issues head on. To make informed decisions, we need to strengthen our skill sets, our capabilities and our knowledge.

Furthermore, as difficult as it may be, we need to minimize stress by remaining calm and staying positive as we encounter the many changes on the horizon.

Voices of Encouragement

I’m a big advocate of inspirational and motivational quotes, because I believe they can help us achieve our goals and accomplish more. So as 2018 is staring us in the face, following are some thoughts and observations to help keep you motivated when dealing with hastening change, technological evolution and escalating complexity:

“It is not the strongest or the most intelligent who will survive, but those who can best manage change.”

– Charles Darwin, English naturalist

“If you don’t like change, you will like irrelevance even less.”

– General Eric Shinseki, retired U.S. Army general, U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs

“The greatest danger in times of turbulence is not the turbulence—it is to act with yesterday’s logic.”

– Peter Drucker, consultant, author

“When it is obvious that the goals cannot be reached, don’t adjust the goals, adjust the action steps.”

– Confucius, Chinese philosopher and teacher

“Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently.”

– Henry Ford, American industrialist and founder of Ford Motor Company

“A dream written down with a date becomes a goal. A goal broken down into steps becomes a plan. A plan backed by action makes your dreams come true.”

– Greg Reid, filmmaker, keynote speaker

“Learn to adjust yourself to the conditions you have to endure, but make a point of trying to alter or correct conditions so that they are most favorable to you.”

– William Frederick Book, psychology professor

Good Luck

As we end this year and move into the new one, understand that we face the inevitable continually accelerating pace of change, technological advancements and intensifying complexities.

Make the effort to go beyond the boundaries of your comfort zone. Rather than worrying about the uncertainty of change, channel that energy into recognizing opportunities and responding to changed conditions, unplanned events and deviations from plans.

Whatever the New Year has in store for you and our industry, I wish you the best of luck in climbing to higher rungs on the technology ladder. Keep this closing thought in mind. What the New Year brings to you will depend a great deal on what you bring to the New Year.

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