alent is a terrible thing to waste. Most companies are using only a fraction of their employees’ potential. It’s all about unlocking and unleashing those vast reservoirs of talent in

service of your organization. It won’t happen overnight, but if you get started today you’ll see an almost immediate boost in morale and energy. Tis is exciting stuff. Who wouldn’t want a workplace that buzzes with energy, creativity, passion and happy people. Companies like Apple or Disney come to mind as fos- tering a culture of passionate employees. Have you been to one of their stores, or the theme parks, recently? You’ll truly feel the passion of the people that work there if you do. It’s a very welcoming experience for the customer. Recently, I took a tour at the IC Bus manufacturing

plant in Tulsa, Oklahoma. Te first thing that jumped out at me was the people. A gentleman named Chuck Sibley, the plant manager, gave me a personal tour and showed off the massive 1 million square-foot facility. He was very welcoming and informative, and it was evident he loves his job. He’s a true leader who’s focused on his employees and their experience with manufacturing school buses. Sibley put tools into place that turned innovative ideas into action, which, in turn, created efficiency. He cares greatly about the people and the products that come out of his plant. People Magazine recognized this passion with a profile of Sibley’s efforts, entitled “Saving Jobs by Helping Neighbors,” that was featured in the “Meet Our 2010 Heroes” article in November 2010. To me, this is a great representation of one employee reaching his associates on an emotional, visceral level that is key to unleashing there potential. Do you have someone in your organization who stands out and who strives to help others become better employees? As industry leaders we need to welcome cre- ativity, crave new ideas and suggestions, develop talents and identify passions. Do you foster an open-door policy to encourage team members to share ideas for improve- ment, or even entirely new products, services or pro- cesses? Find ways both large and small to reinforce the employee mindset that it’s vital for everyone to always

66 School Transportation News • JUNE 2016

be improving and that the success of the organization depends on it. It does no good to solicit lots of great ideas but doing nothing to try and implement them. It’s all about action. You must have a mechanism in place (and this means allocating resources) that allows your team to model, prototype and test their ideas or new processes. Tis will show your team that you are focused on making their jobs better and that you care about them. Engaged em- ployees work vigorously, feeling dedicated and mentally absorbed in their work. Make a list of 10 good employees. Not the super stars and not the non-performers but the people who come to work every day, do a good job and then go home. Take a minute to think about each of these employees. What percent of their potential do you think they are currently delivering at work. Is it 60 percent? 80 percent? 100 per- cent? Can you envision them taking their performance up a notch or two? What would that mean for your transportation department or company’s overall results? I wager that it would mean a lot. Great leaders inspire people. Tey find ways to unleash peoples hidden potential. And from that flows success, satisfaction, energy, innovation, efficiency and a better workplace environment. I challenge you to discover your employees’ passions, what they love and what excites them. See how you might be able to match these with their current job functions or even others within your organization. Te results could be magical for their self-esteem and their performance, not to mention profitable for your bottom line. ●

Tony Corpin, Publisher

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