Moving Companies from a Transactional / Collaborative State to a Cooperative State

 
 Becker Logistics stair model

Becker Logistics stair model

 

When someone starts a meaningful conversation about proactivity chances are they’ve read the classic book by Stephen Covey, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” It’s no mistake that “Be Proactive” is Habit #1, that’s how important it is.

Covey writes that being proactive is about, “taking responsibility for your life.” Proactive people recognize they are responsible for their behavior, unlike reactive people who blame external forces for their behavior.

Proactive people focus on things they can control and influence; proactive people know that they can choose how to respond. Reactive people become stuck in a rut, unable to dig out because they have or don’t feel in control of their own lives.

In business, the default approach often is reactive — a company responds when a problem arises. For example, a customer complains and the company responds by resolving the issue and the interaction ends with the customer satisfied with the outcome.

Wouldn't it be better if the customer never complained in the first place? What if, as CEO, you could create a proactive culture that caught the problem before the customer did, before it became a problem? It would be like predicting the future, right?

Being proactive means that you CAN predict the future. As management legend Peter Drucker puts it, you are creating it.

Many CEOs may feel like there is not enough time to be proactive because they are so busy putting out fires. The decisions and issues on hand are never-ending and can burn up all available time. In fact at the end of the day you may take a deep breath and congratulate yourself on getting through another day where you careened from one crisis to the next.

According to Drucker, "management is doing things right; leadership is doing the right things." Leadership is preferable to management. Leadership knows what to focus on, what the ‘right things’ are. In fact being proactive, as Drucker puts it, results in leadership — doing the right things — at all levels of an organization. Drucker thought that everyone in an organization should have the opportunity to take risks, learn, and grow in the workplace, and so do I.

A proactive culture moves an organization from transactional interactions to cooperative ones. What does that mean? In a transactional culture each person thinks of short-term, one-off goals; in a cooperative culture interactions focus on working together to get the best outcome for everyone. Here’s an example:
Transactional: “We need some coffee.”
Collaboration: “We want coffee, where’s the best place to get it?”
Cooperative: “Let’s work together to discover the best way to provide coffee for everyone at the office.”

Cooperation creates new possibilities. In this case, the search for coffee turns into lobbying the boss to buy a high quality coffee machine for the office or, better yet, proposing the purchase of a local coffee company that is run by employees!

Another one of Drucker’s five practices that effective leaders acquire and turn into a habit is to focus on outward contributions, and ‘gear their efforts to results rather than work.’ The combination of a proactive culture, a cooperative workplace, and a team that focuses on results leads to a winning organization; a really great place to work.

As CEO, I work hard to proactively share my vision with everyone at Becker Logistics. I involve my entire team in collaborating on how to achieve successful results for our clients and us. However, that process has grown more challenging for me, and for all the best reasons.

With the growth that we are experiencing I have found myself fighting to stay as proactive as I could be in the past. There are days I feel like a firefighter trying to put out the flames and I have relied on my team to mitigate, all while feeling I have to get in there and help. Getting back to the proactive state is so critical. This is where we see, plan and show-up for the unrealized future.

Becker Logistics prepared for and experienced extraordinary growth over the past five years. We did this by hiring exceptional people and identifying the best position for their unique talents. We expect to grow by an additional 80% in 2019.

The acquisition of Savage Logistics also contributed to company growth, making Becker one of the largest third-party logistics providers in the United States. As the company scales, it’s more important than ever to bring everyone together and to inspire everyone on staff with our shared vision of proactivity.

I am focused on making sure my management team knows and shares the company vision and are proactive about communicating that vision to their teams.

I recently took my executive team to a “Fearless Becker Retreat.” We discussed why being proactive is so important to continued organic growth and made plans to ensure communication, collaboration and cooperation across all levels of the company.

If you'd like to know more about Becker Logistics, check out our Company Website or message me. If working for a company like Becker sounds interesting to you, read more on our Careers Page.