Continuous Learning in the Workplace

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What’s in it for employees and employers?

It’s no surprise that when we come to work, we are faced with.. well, work. Our already packed schedules seem to continue to grow throughout the day and sometimes it can be overwhelming. The thought of adding something that is not required does not usually fall at the top of anyone’s “to-do list”. So why would one continue to seek education/training once they have landed the job that they want? Aaron Skonnard, CEO of Pluralsight noted “I am a big believer that fostering ongoing learning in the workplace not only results in a pleasant and energizing work environment but a successful one with top-performing employees who aren’t afraid to question the status quo and work together to seek the truth during difficult situations.” [1]

As an employee, having motivation and a plan will only go so far if the company culture and/or team structure is not set up in a way that is conducive to workplace learning. This infographic highlights some common barriers in the development of a learning culture in the workplace.

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If you find yourself in a workplace that seems resistant to the idea, consider handing them a copy of the comic below (we kid, we kid… kind of), but having a conversation with your direct manager about the specific benefits to the team, company, and customers is a good place to start. Check out this article for information on how employers benefit from a learning culture as well as a list of suggestions of how employers can begin to create one:  https://www.entrepreneur.com/article/232348

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[1] Skonnard, Aaron. (2014) How Making Employees Lifelong Learners Can Help Your Company Succeed. Entrepreneur.

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Email us – blog@amtransportonline.com

April 7th, 2016 – World Health Day and Diabetes

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Today is World Health Day

Today is World Health Day, and the key theme this year is “Beat Diabetes.” Why this theme? Because according to the World Health Organization (WHO), diabetes was the direct cause of some 1.5 million deaths in 2012. And WHO projects that diabetes will be the 7th leading cause of death by 2030.

Scary, right?! But today is dedicated to learning more about the disease and ways you can prevent it for yourself and your family. Diabetes is treatable, but it requires hard work and dedication. World Health Day is taking this year to provide important information about diabetes, increasing awareness, and helping people learn how to control and prevent diabetes.

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Trucking and transportation are two particularly high-risk professions due to the sedentary nature of the job and the often lack of available healthy food options. It is important to learn more about the facts and causes of diabetes, how you could be at risk, and ways to start making changes to prevent diabetes.

How much do you know about diabetes? Take the World Health Day quiz to find out what you know and learn more about diabetes and prevention.

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Email us – blog@amtransportonline.com

Helping Your Customers Prepare for a Successful EOM and EOQ

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Ending the Quarter, Beginning a New One

For many companies around the United States, today is a particularly important, and at times particularly stressful, day – end of the month AND end of the quarter (EOM and EOQ, respectively). In the logistics and transportation world, these two days tend to present their own special challenges: inventory, quotas, dock space, truck capacity, quarterly reports…yikes.

And not only are you dealing with your own company’s EOM and EOQ duties, but many of your customers are in the same boat. So how do you help them prepare (and help yourself along the way)?

Burke Alder writes about three techniques you can employ to ensure your customers succeed as they begin a new quarter. But before he even gets into the techniques, he reminds us that having an early game plan in place is crucial to both you and your customers’ success. Don’t get caught at EOM/EOQ being ill-prepared and missing out on important opportunities to move the needle for your company, and help your customers do the same.

Read Alder’s full article here: 3 Techniques to Ensure Customer Success as You Start a Quarter.

1. Review Customer Goals & KPIs for the Next Year

For the first technique, Alder recommends making sure your customer is as prepared for the new quarter as you are – first by understanding their goals and KPIs.

Here are a few questions to ask your customers:

  • What changes do you envision happening at your company next quarter? (ie – new product release, surge in hiring, new locations, etc)
  • What impact do you think those changes will have on your business?
  • What are your personal KPIs for next quarter?
  • How will our product or service play a part in meeting those goals?
  • What will success mean as it relates to our product/service?
  • What major milestones do you see as it relates to our product/service next quarter? For your company in general?

Strive to hit these goals and milestones WITH your customers. How can you assist them in their journey to meet their KPIs?

2. Ensure Your Customer Is Prepared

Help your customers understand where they are situated in regard to their own customer success journey. How far have they come along in their current 2016 plans? What do they need to do to continue completing those plans? How do they relate to their competitors in their industry?

This investigation should include also how your customer is relating to you specifically. Review with your customer how they are currently using your product or service. And as Alder suggests, dig deeper to help customers “identify new and innovative ways to use your product or service to see the most value and return so they are sure to renew when the time comes.” Ask yourself – what do they need from you in order to be exceptionally successful?

3. Plan (Way) Ahead of the Renewal or Upsell

You should always know where your customers are in the buying journey for your company. When you understand where they currently are, you can put together a plan for getting them to where you would like for them to be in a way that speaks to the customer’s current situation. Selling to customers that aren’t ready to buy, limiting communication leading up to upgrades and renewals, or trying to upsell products/services that do not provide real value can be very frustrating to customers and ultimately influence their decisions in a negative way.

Instead, Alder advises creating “engagement plans” for your customers – plans that understand exactly where each customer is in the buying or renewal process and then map out an engagement plan that begins long before it is time to sell/upsell/renew. Alder describes the important pieces of the engagement plan.

This engagement plan should consist of:

  • an internal evaluation of the products and services the customer currently uses
  • a recommended path forward directly aligned to customer goals, KPIs and KBOs as discussed above
  • a plan of when and how you will engage with the customer to present them with your plan

Get to Work

Remember, in order to help customers successfully begin a new quarter, you and your company must be prepared to start a successful quarter as well. This requires early and thorough planning, specific and measurable goals to review and revise each time, and a solid understanding of your own roles with customers, competitors, and your industry.

“Whether your customer success team is in its infancy or more established, it’s important to have a strategy in place to ensure your team’s success as they approach a new quarter.” – Burke Alder

Want more tips for helping customers succeed? Read another of Alder’s blog posts: The Golden Rule of Customer Success – 8 Guiding Principles

Have a topic or suggestion for a blog post you’d like to see? Let us know!
Email us – blog@amtransportonline.com

Today is AM Transport’s 26th Anniversary

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26 Years of Legacy, Hard Work, and Fun

Today is AM Transport’s 26th anniversary. It has been a wild ride, and we cannot wait to see what the future has in store (literally – we are so excited we put together a killer vision document for our future. Ask us about it).

This is a clip from the legacy video we had created last year for our 25th anniversary. Take a look and see our founder and mentor, Avery McKinney, where our name comes from, and how our beginnings have led to where we are today – and where we are going tomorrow.

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The 11 Best Business Etiquette Tips of the Millennium (Post Share)

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*article originally posted on LinkedIn

Work Well With Others

Business etiquette is one of those invisible operations working throughout our companies and processes every day – you don’t always see it in action, but you certainly notice when it is missing or when something goes wrong. I’m sure you have been the recipient of a painful email from a colleague with less than stellar etiquette (and it probably made you cringe, just a little).

But how do you correct poor business etiquette? A.J. Jacobs wrote a post to cover that topic specifically – The 11 Best Business Etiquette Tips. Speaking about his own experience of the “Oops” email, he outlines common business etiquette faux pas and 11 ways to correct them, drawing from a book by Ross McCammon.

Here is the quick list. Be sure to check out the full article for more info:

1. “Sorry. Sure. Great. Yes.” – Respond to email as if you were Robert De Niro

2. “I have no idea what you are asking. Can you please explain?” – Embrace your ignorance instead of offering up a bogus, uninformed opinion

3. “Smile 20% wider than feels comfortable” – Give it the ol’ Julia Roberts

4. “In the short term, I probably did ‘better’ work, but in the long term I did worse work because I didn’t allow myself to get my mistakes over with early.” – Make mistakes

5. “Do not look down, to the side, through them, at their chest, into their souls” – Look everyone in the eye

6. “If you’re bored, then whoever you’re pitching to is going to be REALLY bored” – Don’t get bored

7. “With handshakes, the key part of your anatomy is not the palm, but the weblike area between the thumb and forefinger” – When shaking hands, get up in there

8. “Like the opera singers do. Wider. Speak louder. Louder.” – Open your mouth when making a speech

9. “In business, you must assume that everyone is rooting for you.” – Be delusionally confident

10. “Clothes can actually put you in a different psychological state” – Wear decent clothes

11. “Your work should not be perfect. Your work should be wrinkled. It should show wear, and it should indicate that you’re trying new things and taking chances.” – Be intentionally imperfect

Want more advice on etiquette and other business skills? Check out the book Works Well With Others: An Outsider’s Guide to Shaking Hands, Shutting Up, Handling Jerks, and Other Crucial Skills in Business No One ever Teaches You by Ross McCammon

Have a topic or suggestion for a blog post you’d like to see? Let us know!
Email us – blog@amtransportonline.com

AMT Recommended Reads – February Edition

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More Reading, More Growing, More Learning

With a new month, we have a new round of book clubs here at AM Transport. Check out what we are reading this month:

1. So Good They Can’t Ignore You
Author – Cal Newport

After making his case against passion, Newport sets out on a quest to discover the reality of how people end up loving what they do. Spending time with organic farmers, venture capitalists, screenwriters, freelance computer programmers, and others who admitted to deriving great satisfaction from their work, Newport uncovers the strategies they used and the pitfalls they avoided in developing their compelling careers. So Good They Can’t Ignore You will change the way we think about our careers, happiness, and the crafting of a remarkable life.

2. Good to Great 
Author – Jim Collins

Yes, you saw this one on last month’s list – it is just too good not to pass around! Read more about it here.

3. What to Do When it’s Your Turn (and it’s Always Your Turn)
Author – Seth Godin

“I’m going out on a limb. Want to come?” Seth Godin has pushed the boundaries again by creating a new book format that reads more like a magazine. The book is in full color and is a collection of short stories and essays that help the reader know “what to do when it’s your turn” in life. This is an urgent call to do the work we’re hiding from, a manifesto about living with things that might not work and embracing tension when doing your art. As Seth describes it, the book

  • Explores, as directly as I can, the dance we all have to do with our fears, the tension we all must embrace in order to do work that we care about. It pushes us to dig deep inside so we can do better work and impact the things we care about.
  • Is urgent, personal, in-your-face and as honest as I could make it.

4. TED Talks

So this one isn’t a “read” technically… but there are MANY great TED talks out there that can be very inspirational, educational, and can get your creative juices flowing. Here are a few we checked out this month:

Missed our January recommended reads? That’s ok! Catch up on them here!

Have a topic or suggestion for a blog post you’d like to see? Let us know!
Email us – blog@amtransportonline.com

How to Keep Your New Year’s Resolutions (This Time)

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Your New Year – Goals vs. Resolutions

Just 8% of People Achieve Their New Year’s Resolutions
– Forbes

“Lose weight” – “Exercise” – “Financial Stability” – “Eliminate Stress”
These are just a few of the many New Year’s Resolutions that will be made and – if you are like the majority of the estimated 40% of Americans that make a New Year’s Resolution – eventually broken.

So why do so many good-intentioned resolutions fall flat before January is even over?

Dan Diamond, a contributor for Forbes, states that the problem is an issue of generality – most people’s resolutions are too large and general to be able to come up with a plan and stick with it.

Instead of large, overwhelming, and unrealistic resolutions, try making smaller, more specific, reachable goals to keep you moving in the right direction all year long.

But how do you make your New Year’s Goals more manageable?

Diamond gives suggestions for how to take your resolutions and boil them down to more tangible milestones.

1. Keep it Simple
Set small, attainable goals throughout the year, rather than a singular, overwhelming goal. Keep your resolution list short and take it one step at a time.

2. Make it Tangible
Set a goal that is specific – and even better – measurable. Make a plan that you can actually execute. Instead of making a resolution to “lose some weight,” make a goal to go to the gym and lift weights twice a week.

3. Make it Obvious
Make your goals as visible as possible. Chart them, share them with friends and family, post them publicly and privately – that way they always stay in front of you.

4. Keep Believing You Can Do It
Don’t let bumps in the road knock you completely off course. Realize that there will be ups and downs, but also realize that you can use your willpower to overcome them and successfully complete your goals.

These rules don’t just apply to your personal goals. You can also set goals for your family, your job, and/or your community that you can actually stick to this year.

Here is Dan Diamond’s Forbes article for more details on tips to sticking to your New Year’s goals.

Want even more information about keeping your New Year’s Resolutions? Check out this sweet infographic from Goodnet (courtesy of HuffPost).

Have a topic or suggestion for a blog post you’d like to see? Let us know!
Email us – blog@amtransportonline.com