ID 44982646 | Arkadi Bojaršinov | Dreamstime
Dreamstime M 44982646

Say 'yes' to new ideas

March 6, 2023
As the industry must innovate through a time of great change, don't immediately strike down new ideas that don't fit into the status quo. Say "yes."

If we really are on the cusp of transformational changes in the trucking industry as many pundits are predicting, we are going to need to harness the power of all the resources available to us. This means surfacing as many new ideas as we can in order to find the best ways to navigate through the upcoming changes.

At a recent meeting, featured speaker New York Times best-selling author Jon Acuff said something that caused me to pause. He asked the audience, “Have you ever edited an idea before you even put it on a piece of paper?” I am guessing we have all done that, and as a result, some really good ideas never saw the light of day. Acuff believes that “overthinking” complicates things and steals time, creativity, and productivity.

He contends that “great thoughts lead to great actions.” But if those great thoughts never surface, we cannot act on them. This applies to the teams we lead as well. In his presentation, Acuff said that one thing all successful teams have in common is what he calls “psychological safety.” That means team members feel the environment is safe for taking risks, asking questions and suggesting new ideas. In an effective team, all members, including the team leader, should be able to admit they made a mistake without serious ramifications. “If you can’t do this, learning and innovation are over, and you are doomed to making the same mistakes over and over.”

See also: Embrace and adapt to change

Acuff suggests you try this: The next time someone in your organization suggests a new way to do something, instead of saying, “That will never work here,” ask, “How will this work?” That does not mean every idea is amazing, but “curiosity beats criticism” when it comes to finding new ways to solve existing problems and to navigate a changing environment.

The infusion of powertrain options, advances in autonomous trucking, and the development of artificial intelligence and machine learning in the trucking industry are already creating challenges that will need to be overcome if fleets are going to remain efficient and profitable.

Maybe it is time to change the script and start exploring ways to bring new ideas to fruition rather than saying “no” right off the bat. What have we got to lose?

Jane Clark is vice president of member services for NationaLease. In this position, she is focused on managing the member services operation as well as working to strengthen member relationships, reduce member costs, and improve collaboration within the NationaLease supporting groups. Prior to joining NationaLease, Clark served as area vice president for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Cos., Pro Staff, and Manpower Inc.

About the Author

Jane Clark | Senior VP of Operations

Jane Clark is Senior Vice President, Operations for NationaLease. Prior to joining NationaLease, Jane served as Area Vice President for Randstad, one of the nation’s largest recruitment agencies, and before that, she served in management posts with QPS Companies, Pro Staff, and Manpower, Inc.

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