Communication Is the Key to Prepping for Rapid Change

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Release date: 9/5/2019

(Excerpted from FLEETSolutions Sept./Oct. 2019 - Vol. 12, No. 5)

Two hard truths: Not all managerial situations that demand quick action are necessarily disasters or even crises. A quick change can be precipitated by an executive mandate or managerial changes at your organization and the subsequent call to “clean house.”
Other times, change is not man-made and hardly predictable. The fleets that handle the unexpected with great success can make those on-the-fly changes with minimal friction because they have been preparing for them for years.
It’s not a sleight-of-hand magic trick. It’s a necessity that managers prepare far in advance not only for the wins but also when everything hits the fan. Two seasoned NAFA members share their experiences and guidance about how to flip that switch and set crisis remediation into motion.
Change on the Run - Prior to his position as director of fleet relations for work truck association NTEA, NAFA Member George Survant oversaw the fleet for a major cable service provider with coverage across the United States. When the word came down that the company was shifting its ownership and branding, a brief window of time was given to have each vehicle in the fleet either reskinned with new wraps or repainted.
How did Survant approach his multi-state teams to make it happen? “In a change like a significant rebranding, the recurring theme is to communicate often and effectively,” Survant said. “An essential element of this type of change
is partnering with key stakeholders, all the way to the local supervisors and drivers. Coordination of this effort – to
limit the disruption of essential service deliveries – requires active partnerships with the entire management chain for the affected sections of the company. These partnerships then become the backbone of the installation effort and the lead contact for quality evaluations of the finished product.”
Providing a clear understanding not only of what the change will be and how it will take place, but why it is happening,
is essential to gaining the goodwill and cooperation of those who will carry it out.

NAFA Associate Member Susan Miller, Senior Fleet Account Manager for Geotab, agreed, emphatically adding, “You must have these lines of communication set well in advance of any crisis or major change. There is no time to establish these when you are in the middle of [a major challenge]. “I would already have a plan in place for how I would manage communication, just as I would want to have in place who my point-people are who will relay information
out to the field, and the like,” Miller said.
“The structure of your communication net is dictated by the size of your organization, your company’s culture, and the scope of what it is you are dealing with. If you are a small business owner/operator, you’re more likely to be the point
person for decisions. You’d know best what is necessary and can execute plans on the spot.”

Read the full article here.