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Teamwork is the Key to Fourth Quarter Success

Posted in: Truckstop Business, Darren's Great Ideas for Independent Operators, Human Resources

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

Teamwork is the Key to Fourth Quarter Success

The fourth quarter is upon us. For most of us in the travel plaza and truckstop world, if history repeats itself, we will see a significant increase in fuel gallons and inside sales as we gear up for the holiday and winter season. As part of any successful operation, teamwork will play a critical role in executing a successful run this fourth quarter.

Before we talk about teamwork, don't forget to revisit the holiday-themed articles and blogs NATSO has provided in the past:

Anyone who has been part of a successful team would agree that a team “rowing” together in a unified direction offers personal and company payoffs. Teams executing and implementing plans of action helps us feel good about ourselves and what everyone is working towards. It creates a bond with others who share the same desires and gives us a destination. Being part of something bigger than ourselves and being part of a community where we and others feel appreciated and needed is important.

Well, that may sound like a lot of gobble gook, but if you are a travel plaza location next to a premium outlet mall on Black Friday, you will need all the team work you can find to get through that three-day weekend successfully.

At its most basic, a team working together provides the three basic needs almost everyone looks for when working in a team environment.

  1. The need to belong.
  2. The need to contribute.
  3. The need to achieve.     


Teams are not automatically productive, unified and motivated. It takes work and commitment to ensure that the group executes at a high level consistently. You may have heard that a team working together in a unified manner “is like a body of water that is clear and calm and when it is not it is often cloudy, stormy and rippled”.

As the coach, keep a focused eye on how your team is performing as you approach these last but often busiest months of the year. Look for the signs of:

  1. Happy team members.
  2. Team members whose morale is positive and high.
  3. Team members with a can-do attitude topped off by a sense that they can do anything.
  4. High productivity with team members chipping in to get things done.
  5. Team members with a strong drive and a commitment to executing the company’s policies and procedures. 


Likewise keep a focused eye on a team that is not in unison or a team in conflict that when left unattended or un-coached, will turn sour and lead to:

  1. Horrible customer service.
  2. Loss of sales and profitability.
  3. Increased shrink.
  4. Low productivity.
  5. Low morale.
  6. Disgruntled team members.
  7. Team members that do not care.


As you gear up for the fourth quarter, remember that your direction will help shape how your teams perform. With your guidance, your teams will be able to execute their top performance consistently. 

/// 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.