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People make technology succeed or fail

I’m known as a technologist. Indeed, I do love technology and all it can do to improve business and the lives of people. But, I also know how hard change can be. All of you have seen how difficult it is for drivers to accept changes in the cab of the vehicle. Simple things like choosing a new seat manufacturer when you buy new trucks can be a source of frustration and complaint for many.

I’ve often heard how important the people that interact with the drivers are to the retention rates of a fleet. A good driver coach is often described to me as being like a mother, sister, friend to the driver. I’ve never heard descriptions for the bad ones, and they probably are described with words I could not print anyway.

In the corporate world, we often have teams of people take personality tests so that we can learn to deal better with our compatriots. I’ve got a long list of such tests that I’ve taken. I’ve taken 2-4 in just the last year as I’ve searched for buying a business with my son. Franchise owners want to know if I will follow the rules (yeah, right!), while others want to know if I’ve got the drive, persistence, and adaptability to make it happen no matter what.

Perhaps we should focus a bit more on the driver and his/her interaction with the people back at fleet dispatch. Over the years, I’ve met a number of fleet owners that are insistent that there be a good relationship and the driver be taken care of. I’ve heard heart-warming stories of dispatchers going out of their way to get a driver home for a child’s baseball game. Whether it’s a driver or a high-level executive, word is that both leave because of other people, including their boss.

Consider doing some profiling (yes, it is legal) of your front line people and your drivers. I don’t think any of the profile tests I’ve taken over the years are specifically suited to drivers. Perhaps there is an opportunity for some technology and research by academics.

Here is a list of profiles I’ve taken over the years. 

  • DISC Profile
  • Myers Briggs Type Indicator
  • Social Styles
  • Wilson Learning
  • Personal Franchise Assessment
  • Strength Finders
  • Profiles Performance Indicator
  • Profilor
  • Predictive Index
  • Birkman First Look
  • Influence Ecology
  • Competing Values Framework

Just today I learned of two more, the TCI (Temperament and Character Inventory) and the Values in Action.

I just did a quick “google search” on “truck driver personality testing.” It seems there are a few personality tests out there for truck drivers. One link sent me to a study at Notre Dame that finished in late 2015 and expected to have results published now. FleetOwner had an article on it one year ago. 

Let’s start a conversation on using technology to assess drivers and learn to interact with them better.

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