By: Shawna Laird, Business Manager
Strategy is defined as a long-term plan of action to achieve a particular goal. Strategy is about choices and recognizing that those choices can affect your outcome. By creating an effective strategy in producing a Business Plan, unfavorable results can be reduced or avoided. All Business Plans should be three dimensional and include: 1. Business Plan; 2. Fleet Program Plans; and 3. Customer Service Agreements.
Let’s take a look at the different components of a Business Plan.
Executive Summary: The Executive Summary should be one to two pages long and include your Mission and Vision statements. Be sure to introduce your fleet organization. Describe the programs and services that your organization provides in supporting the using departments. Brag on the organization! Show your accomplishments and how those accomplishments were achieved.
Fleet Overview: Showcase your organization. Explain the purpose of your organization and the diversity of the equipment that composes the fleet. Highlight the benefits of your organization and define the services provided. Acknowledge your customers, both internal and external. Go crazy and use charts and graphs that are easy to understand and still make the point.
Marketing and Organizational Analysis: Define your customer needs. Show that your organization understands their needs and explain how your organization can and does meet those demands. Publish a SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities, and Threats) Analysis. Get your staff and user departments involved by asking them to participate in the SWOT Analysis before publication. Work your strengths and hire to fill areas of weakness. If you cannot hire, then create a plan to promote or train staff to fill those weak areas.
Teamwork and Organization: Accentuate your team. List your awards and certifications. Emphasize the expertise of your staff by detailing their accomplishments and certifications. Stress the experience you have in your organization (number of years, diversity of skills, etc.) Your team is central to the success of your organization and your Business Plan.
Financial Outlook: You’ve all heard “run it like a business.” Create your budget at the program level. Include a Profit & Loss statement and analyze current market trends. Underscore your organization’s commitment to reduce costs by explaining programs that will be implemented to save money.
Appendix A: Fleet Program Plans: Plan by program. Include the goals, tasks, measurements, procedures, processes, roles, responsibilities, and reports. Clearly state the goals and objectives of the organization. Use visual work flow charts to highlight your tasks and processes. Charts can be easier to read and understand and can lead to better comprehension of how the organization works. Define the roles and responsibilities of your staff and explain their part in the overall success of the organization. Outline the reports you will use and how you will analyze the performance of the organization. Include sample reports or dashboards.
Appendix B: Customer Service Agreement: Partner with your customers and define both your organization’s and the customer’s expectations. Explain your organization’s processes and the costs and benefits of the services and programs.
Update your Business Plan annually and publish it. Have it available to your staff and user departments both in print and electronically. Upload it to your intranet. Schedule meetings, at your facility, with upper management, city council, county commissioners, or your board of directors to review your Business Plan, especially if new people are elected or hired. Ask for feedback from the readers. You never know what ideas and programs may come from those comments.
By: The Business Services Team
In part 2 of this Teambuilding series, we discussed that team players are essential to the success of the team. In this portion of the series, the focus is on Team Ownership. The Team Ownership that we are discussing is not the person who has the legal right/title to the team. It is the opportunity for ‘individual’ ownership that each of the team players has. There must also be ownership by the team – not just the ownership of the team.
Kevin Eikenberry writes” Commitment, engagement or buy-in – whatever you want to call – it’s a good thing. One sure-fire way to increase all those things is for people to feel ownership of something. When people feel ownership for problem solving, ownership of the ideas created in a meeting or ownership in their personal or organizational goals they are working towards greater success will occur.“ When people take ownership of anything, they take pride in it, share it with others, and have a passion for it.
For a team to be successful in any endeavor, the players have to own their roles, their contributions, and their involvement on the team. Each of us takes individual ‘ownership’ of our job responsibilities. We take responsibility for the necessary tasks it involves, we do the best we can, engage in it, show its importance, and contributes to the success of the overall team/organization because of it. Each position is owned by someone and each team ‘owner’ contributes to the entire team goal. Taking ownership of our role, whether we write specifications for the new equipment, order repair parts, prepare the budget, repair and maintain the equipment, supply the parts, build the vehicles, develop new technologies, provide administration and business management, or conduct studies; moves the team up in the success rankings.
Think of your favorite sports team, each player has a role and a responsibility to own that role and to contribute to the success of the team, each and every day. Not just for the championship. These team players have and display team ownership. They work at it, are loyal to it, and are proud of it.
We each have ownership on many teams. Every organization that we belong to, work for, volunteer for, or participate in any away with needs team players that will own their piece of the team. Our families, our friends, our sports teams, our jobs, and our associations and organizations will succeed because of us taking “ownership”.
By: Steve Kibler, Fleet Manager, City of Loveland (Colorado Chapter)
Each fleet manager or any manager for that matter has a unique style of leading his/her team. It’s kind of like the three bear’s beds, there are three categories: one is too soft, one is too hard and one is j-u-u-u-st right. The one that avoids or ignores problems is too soft. The autocratic one or the “off with their heads” one is too hard (but this style must be in your ammo box). The manager who earns his teams trust and respect through fairness and integrity turns out to be the just right leader. Which one are you? We are motivated to lead in many ways; through frustration with current leaders; through a will to “fix things” or an inherent need to improve how a service is provided.
My personal motivation comes from witnessing colleagues do it right and wanting to emulate that example of leadership within my own team. Another subtle motivation may be a catch phrase or sage quote by some famous person. I have some favorites I would like to share.
“Worry is interest paid on trouble that hasn’t happened yet” ~David Petersen
“A successful man is one who can lay a solid foundation with all the bricks others have thrown at him” ~David Brinkley
“Being defeated is temporary, giving up makes it permanent.” ~Marilyn von Savant
And my personal favorite:
“Be who you are and say what you feel ‘cause people who mind don’t matter, and people who matter don’t mind.” ~Theodor Suess Geisel (You probably know this author by another name: Dr. Suess)
There are many ways to lead your organization to success but there are exponentially more ways to fail and go backwards. How can you avoid this pitfall; always follow through with a plan until it is completed to your satisfaction or until it fails (the plan, NOT you). If you never fail, how can you or your team know what your limits are? We’ve all heard the saying “two heads are better than one.” Think how much better the dozen or so heads on your team are if you have created a culture of trust. Don’t be afraid to ask suggestions from your team about a challenging project. An unknown author said: “He who does the job knows the job best; trust the people you hired to do the job.” Trust your team to suggest strategies and/or obstacles you may not have anticipated. Then you must lead by decisively picking the direction the team will take and you must define to the team the goals along the journey. Here’s where follow through is so important. Don’t let the project die on the vine. If I may quote RMFMA member Craig Croner, City of Boise “Regularly inspect what you expect from your team.”
Each of us must find our own style of leading. My advice would be to regularly network with your team every chance you can. Attend every industry related conference, meeting, and/or training you can and glean whatever motivation you can steal from your colleagues. ‘Cause those that mind – don’t matter and those that matter – don’t mind.
I even composed a motivational saying of my very own:
“You can’t go through life with one foot on the brake; release your fear of failure; of not achieving excellence; be excited about life and release the brake!” ~Steve Kibler
By: The Business Services Team
Whether we are discussing the RMFMA team, your work team, or any other team that you may participate in, team players are essential. Building a new team or adding to an existing one takes more thought than just an open invitation. Changes to the team will affect all the players whether you are the team captain, a seasoned player or a rookie. Good qualities are just as important as skills. Blending the team together takes growth on the part of all the team players. People may want to be on the team, but don’t know how to be a good team player. It is the role of the team leader to look for people with the good team player qualities and help the existing players accept and grow into these qualities as well. Since a team is made of more than one person, there needs to be clear communication and collaboration on the team. Collaboration is multiplication and extension of resources.
In his book, The 17 Essential Qualities of a Team Player, John C. Maxwell has identified the qualities necessary to become the kind of person every team wants. Growing these qualities will help each of us be better team contributors and team participants.
Tenacious Never, Never, Never Quit
Enlarging Adding Value to Teammates is Invaluable
Adaptable If You Won’t Change for the Team, the Team may Change You
Mission Conscious The (Big) Picture is Coming in Loud and Clear
Solution Oriented Make a Resolution to Find and Implement the Solution
See (‘C’) the qualities of a good team player.
Collaborative Working Together Precedes Winning Together
Committed There Are No Halfhearted Champions
Communication A Team is Many Voices with a Single Heart
Competent If You Can’t, the Team Won’t
Team players can PRESS forward with good qualities.
Prepared Preparation Can Make the Difference Between Winning and Losing
Relational If You Get Along, Others Will Get Along
Enthusiastic Your Heart is the Source of Energy for the Team
Self-Improving To Improve the Team, Improve Yourself
Selfless There is no “I” in Team
The team players DID it – they used good qualities and succeeded.
Dependable Teams Go GO-TO Players
Intentional Make Every Action Count
Disciplined Where There’s a Will, There’s a Way
Putting together a team that works well together takes time, effort, communication, and a willingness to be more that a group of individuals. Organizations of all types accomplish more when people work together.
By: The Business Services Team
Have you ever watched a ballgame from the sidelines and knew what the coach should have done that
would have resulted in a better outcome? I am guilty as charged. Building a team and having everyone on the same play at the same time is not the easiest task, but it can be done. It requires a common vision and everyone knowing the game plan. As important, it requires the entire team to work as a team for the common goal. It is true that every team must have a coach. All professional teams have a head coach, specialty team coaches, and team players. Each person on the team is an integral part of the team and has specific tasks that they need to accomplish. The coaches develop the plans and provide guidance and direction during the game. The players execute the plays and, together, win the game. No one person makes the plays or wins the game by themselves. Motivation, excitement, and dedication are common threads on the team.
Building a great team is done by including people with all types of talents. Each member of the team has unique skills, talents, and strengths. Not everyone is the best at doing everything. In the book the Strength Finder, we are challenged to find our strengths and use them in a positive manner. Instead of trying to improve every weakness we have, we should find others that have the strengths that we don’t and build a well balanced team, together. We tend to think of our weakness as a short coming, but we should see this as an opportunity to allow others with the strengths to join the team and fill in any gaps. Without help, you might find the project or committee you are trying to lead flailing, or taking longer than you expected. Let those with the strength come forward and the team will be better for it.
The FleetPros Blog is written and moderated by the Business Manager with contributions from the membership and Business Services Team.