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Execution of The Fundamentals Will Make Your Truckstop Excel

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Marketing & Retail, Leadership & Strategy

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Welcome to the newest post in our blog series, Darren’s Great Ideas! for Independent Operators

Execution of The Fundamentals Will Make Your Truckstop Excel

Over the years, like many of our members, I have read a lot of books about leadership. “The Centurion Principles,” “Our Iceberg is Melting” and “Execution” are probably my favorites, with “Execution” and “The Centurion Principles” having the biggest impact professionally. For today’s blog I wanted to focus on the ideas in the book “Execution.” 

Before we continue this week’s blog post, please let these words from the Executive Summary of Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan’s book "Execution" sink in.

Organizations face many challenges in today’s shaky economy — competitive battles, increased costs, decreased margins, and a host of other internal and external forces. In order to shore up their companies’ responses to these factors, today’s leaders must be able to take the goals they set for their organizations and turn them into results. Unfortunately, too many companies struggle to bridge the gap between goals and results — they create solid, logical, even bold plans, but are unable to execute properly. Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy and management advisor Ram Charan contend that the reason for this gap is that businesspeople do not think about execution as a discipline or a cornerstone of a business’ culture —and they must. From middle management all the way up to CEO, a company’s leaders must recognize execution as the most important collective set of activities in which they can engage. No more is there room for leaders who rely merely on their vision to get from goals to results; to survive, they must get more involved in the details of execution.”
-“Execution”, by Larry Bossidy and Ram Charan

One of the main principles of the book is that committing to execution forces us to actually do what we say we will do and to look at what we actually do versus what we say we will, want or dream of doing.

Often complex strategic visions, such as massive Six Sigma or Hoshin charts, are created with no reality of ever being achieved, because those tasked with executing the vision/plan stand no chance of ever being able to do just that, execute the vision/plan.  

Execution when committed to forces you to look at what you can really do.

It forces you to be more realistic and focus on those things that really make a difference.

During my member visits, lack of execution jumps out often, especially in the tough areas that make huge difference on our profit and loss statements like labor and shrink. For example, when Susie sells XXX during her 7-3 shift and John only sells X during the same 7-3 shift, why is his performance not addressed? Why do you count your cigarettes every shift if you take no real action when you are missing a pack or two?

Unless your location is blessed to have no competition within a reasonable distance or a location that has such an amazing differential that competition cannot match your offering, it often comes down to execution of the simple activities that make one operation better than the next. 

More importantly, when you look at operations that grow from one location to many, while luck, blessings, product offering and location, location, location all impact the success, it is execution of the fundamentals that is the cornerstone of success.

From amateur to professional sports organizations, executing the fundamentals is always referenced as why success was achieved. The blocking and tackling, the execution of the game plan, executing our game plan better than they executed their plan.

When you look at your competition, it is easy to put the blame on some advantage that they have over you, but when the onion is peeled back it usually has more to do with the fact that the competition just plain out executes your operation.

The competition that is taking it to you on a daily business is addressing the lack of sales by John and it is holding internal staff/manager accountable for the missing packs of cigarettes or they are not wasting time, money, effort on the practice counting the cigarettes every shift if they are not going to do anything with the findings. Doing nothing with your findings, is even more stupid then not doing anything, and "Execution" teaches you that.

Stop wasting time on exercises in futility.    

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Join the conversation! How you ever focused on execution? What area did you focus on?

/// Read more Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators posts here.  

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About the Author

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte

Darren Schulte serves as Vice President of Membership at NATSO. In this role, he directs recruitment, retention and customer service for truckstop and travel plaza members. He is also responsible for developing NATSO products and programs, particularly those relating to education, research and training for truckstop and travel plaza operators.

Schulte also leads NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program. A Profitable Retail Review is a custom assessment of your truckstop, including recommendations for every aspect of your facility, from actionable ideas to improve revenue to tactical ways to improve your net operating costs. Learn about NATSO's Profitable Retail Review program here.

Schulte joined NATSO with nearly three decades of experience in truckstop and travel plaza operations and merchandising. Schulte has worked for: 

  • Love's Travel Stops and Country Stores,
  • HESS Corporation, 
  • Petro Stopping Centers, and
  • TSC Global/Barjan LLC.