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National association OF

ISSUE 01/ MAY 2014

MOTORCOACH operators Monthly

The Governments efforts to stop small bus companies FMCSA looking to Mandate

Electronic tracking

The Top 5 Hiring Mistakes No small-business owner can afford the costs of high turnover. Here’s how to identify these missteps and rectify them

Facebook ROI for Business Explained


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COMPANY CULTURE/ Today’s working environment is global in scope, rife with uncertainty and lacking...

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STAFF STRETCHED/

Chances are during the recession you called upon your employees to pitch...

HOW TO SELL/

I hear it all the time from business owners: “We have a great product or service but I just don’t know...

WHY 80 PERCENT/

Take a good look at your employees. Did you know 80 percent of them are ready to bail?

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FOUR REASONS/

Value is the killer app in sales. Without it, you are relegated to competing on price.

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FMCSA NEW WEBSITE/

The new revitalized FMCSA’s website puts services front and cetnter.

5 STEPS FOR LEADERS/

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EXPERTS AGREE/

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Our research shows nearly three out of four organizations are infected with one or more of the costly behaviors of gossiping, shifting blame and turfism. There are tons of books about timemanagement, but increasingly...

FMCSA LOOKING TO MANDATE ELD’S/

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposal...

FACEBOOK ROI/

Have you been using Facebook for your business but are unsure if its providing any real return on investment?

THE TOP 5 HIRING/

As a business owner or manager, you know how tough it is these days to recruit the right people and keep them happy so they’ll stick around. The war for talent rages on,...

CERTIFIED MEDICAL CHECKS/

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Attention Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Drivers and...

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Chairman’s Message 2014 SEMI-ANNUAL NAMO MEMBERSHIP MEETING

First of all I would like to thank all of those who have renewed your membership commitment with NAMO for 2014. We appreciate your continued support. We are all working together for a common goal and are a stronger, more successful organization because of your membership. There is strength in working together. Succeeding individually as well as together is very important to keep this industry in motion. This is another benefit associated with being an NAMO member. Working together, we can achieve more Spring is here and as always this is a busy time of year for the Motorcoach industry especially for school field trips. It is also a great time of year to clean out your garages and make sure that all of your records are up to date. I challenge each member to welcome this season with renewedinterest, enthusiasm, and the desire to make every trip a safe trip. With the increased attention to the industry and commitment to strengthen thecompliance review process by FMCSA, we must respond with an equal dedicationto focus on safety. The NAMO meeting’s committee is working diligently on planning for the upcoming Annual Conference in Shreveport, LA and we hope to have the details finalized in a few weeks. Look for the registration materials to come out soon and plan now to attend August 13 – 17, 2014 at the Hilton Shreveport, Shreveport, LA. As always, if you are interested in becoming more involved with NAMO through one of our committees, please contact me, or Mary Presley at tourtrvl@comcast. net

Members of NAMO met during the UMA EXPO in Los Angeles, CA on Tuesday, February 18, 2014 to discuss the state of the organization and update each other on what’s happening in their companies. Daryl Johnson, J & J Charters, Irving, TX and Chair of NAMO updated the group on our upcoming Annual Conference in Shreveport, LA and asked for input on what educational sessions the group would like to hear. Most of those in attendance agreed that top on their list was The Affordable Health Care Act as well as FMCSA’s extensive audit process. With this in mind the NAMO Meetings Committee is planning sessions on both topics. Vic Parra, President & CEO of UMA welcomed the group to EXPO and thanked them for attending and showing their support. Loretta Bitner, FMCSA spoke to the group about the most recent Motorcoach companies that have been put out of service due to the audit process and encouraged everyone to make sure that their records were in order and up to date. Several new companies joined NAMO during the meeting and we hope they will join us at the Annual meeting to meet with all of you who attend. We would like to encourage all NAMO Member’s to try and recruit at least one new member to our group to grow our numbers. Especially in this difficult times there is strength in numbers and we need to start to make our presence know on Capitol Hill and cannot do so without more members.

Happy Spring Daryl Johnson, Chairman NAMO www.greenazine.com

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company culture and how to do it right “Corporate cultures are real ‌ they can be effectively managed, and that, if managed properly, they will also produce long-term economic performance that far outstrips the results of companies that do not manage their cultures.â€? 8

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Today’s working environment is global in scope, rife with uncertainty and lacking in long-term guarantees. In such a setting, company culture has been emphasized, whether to assuage employees and shareholders or provide a rallying point, a mission or a common set of business goals — and even as the difference between success and failure.

I recently sought answers from Ryan Estis, a sought-after speaker and consultant who helps “companies, leaders and sellers more effectively connect to their two most important audiences: employees and customers” and recently published the white paper “Winning with Culture: How Leadership Drives Engagement & Performance.”

But what is culture, and what does “getting it right” mean?

“Culture is the organization”

Why emphasize culture, and if companies do value it, how should they act on that?

The definition of culture depends on whom you talk with. I noted that the white paper opens with this overview: “Welcome to the new economy, where culture is

Who’s doing it right, and how?

character

of

the

the competitive advantage. People who enjoy and believe in what they do — and feel valued for doing it — invest more of themselves in their work.” Estis distilled it further: “Culture is the character of the organization.” Again, what does that mean? For Estis, it’s not a matter of what system you’re using, or what client or consultant you have to measure or improve your company. Culture is more of a unique reflection of everything a company is doing and of its characteristics, not a static something you can point to or a generic checklist you can pass around. “It’s the DNA of the company,” he says. “It’s www.greenazine.com www.greenazine.com

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how you work, what you value — there’s what a company does, right, and there’s what a company’s trying to accomplish, and there’s also the method by which you go about getting there. And I think culture informs all of those things.” What happens when culture is ignored Sometimes, the word “culture” can be downplayed, a synonym for “soft skills” or something human resources is in charge of communicating. But it’s larger than that, Estis says, particularly in a global business environment where everyone has access to the same information and tools. Another way that culture is underappreciated is when large companies combine or when a company makes multiple purchases without much regard for how disparate cultures will co-exist. Airlines are a great example: They make for difficult, costly mergers, with the following culture issues examined mostly as cost and financial problems: union contracts, customer service and perks, flight schedules, computer systems and operational attitudes. Even when culture is acknowledged, it’s too often after the fact, and as just a hurdle rather than a focal point. Be proactive: As J. Robert Carleton and Claude Lineberry have noted with airlines and in general with mergers, there is a common misconception that cultural discord must simply be survived during mergers that does not bear out with the facts. As they wrote in 2004 about culture broadly: “[C]orporate culture are real … they can be effectively managed, and that, if managed properly, they will also produce long-term economic performance that far outstrips the results of companies that do not manage their cultures.” What makes managing culture during a M&A more difficult, Estis says, is

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that merging cultures is not easy. He says you almost have to create “a third culture,” which is a difficult, involved task that requires compromise and analysis. Too many companies don’t put in that work during a merger or acquisition — exactly when it’s most needed. Talking about the mission statement Let’s return to companies that do want to do culture, and want to do it better. Most companies have a statement that seeks to define what the business is about, what it intends to do and how it will do so. The question about these words, “whether a mission statement, vision or values,” Estis says, is not about having such a definition but about executing and embedding it. The white paper found that only 41% of surveyed employees have confidence in senior management, with only 46% feeling they received sufficient communication. Clearly, there is a gap in the U.S. workforce between the lofty values and what the employees find to be the case (and what they are hearing from above). A company’s values, or mission statement, or culture, Estis says, is really about “who gets hired, who gets rewarded, who gets promoted and who gets let go. And that really comes down to leadership, and being consistent, and holding people accountable — not only to what you accomplish, but how you get there.” Companies should ask, “Are our values and mission understood and embraced internally?” If, as Estis has done, you asked a room of people how many had core values at their companies, many hands would be raised. If you offered those people a reward for being able to stand up and recite those values, you might end up rewarding no one. Of course, some companies can’t communicate until they know what their values and purpose are. This may

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be because they are new or in turmoil, but it also applies to companies that have been acquired, merged or spun off. One example of successfully building a mission statement is Red Hat. “They actually, in many respects, crowdsourced their mission statement,” Estis says. “They asked for employee opinion … they got input from all their employees and took that into consideration as they developed these things.” The lesson is to get together with your people, helping to align values with actions from the beginning. Implementation, managers

and

the

role

of

Communication from the top down, through frontline managers and down to rank and file, is crucial if the desired culture has any chance of taking hold. It’s not just a matter of strong performance but also of retention and recruiting, Estis says. One consistency among organizations that get culture right, he says, “is a desire to keep getting better.” Complacency is not an option.

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Farm Credit has a highly rated company culture, with 92% of employees saying they are “fully engaged,” with eight years of strong performance and growth, but the CEO asked Estis during their last meeting, “You’ve been with us the whole day. I just want to know from your perspective, what else can I be doing to make us better?” Managers can face a dual challenge of getting the right communication from their bosses, passing it on properly, and then handling and filtering feedback from their reports. It can be “caught-inthe-middle syndrome,” Estis says, but it’s really a great opportunity rather than a problem: “I think middle management can be a catalyst to create more open, transparent communications throughout a large, complex enterprise.” Estis recently spent a day with AT&T, which is shifting its culture and focus from being a phone business to being a broader telecommunications service company. The communication challenges include scale, resistance from old-liners, etc. The key for managers, whether at AT&T or elsewhere, is transparency and listening, he says.

“I think part of being a great leader is being a great two-way communicator,” he says, and being consistent in your efforts in order to help your team aim at the same goals. Honesty and openness, too, can help ease the wound of bad news and help your team move beyond it. Whether it’s one-on-one meetings, town hall events, or other means, Estis says, employees are eager to communicate more and to be aware of the company’s performance and challenges. However your company defines and implements culture, it’s going to be a primary way to win in this modern, global era. “We’re living in an open-source economy,” Estis says. “What becomes the differentiator or the competitive advance? I think culture increasingly is a catalyst to outpace, outperform the competition, grow, innovate, attract the best people, keep the best people, and win in business.”

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Setra - a brand of Daimler AG

Don’t be fooled by its pretty face

Once again, Setra has raised the benchmark in the North American luxury motorcoach segment, with over 30 innovations in design, passenger and driver comfort, safety and environmental efficiencies. Daimler’s new, unique Front Collision Guard (FCG), for instance, is a passive safety system engineered to protect the driver and tour guide in the case of a frontal impact. Experience the all-new Setra TopClass S 417. From Daimler Buses North America, the worldwide leading manufacturer of buses and motorcoaches.

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Staff Stretched to

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the Limit? Chances are during the recession you called upon your employees to pitch in in ways you wouldn’t have in more flush times. And chances are you’re still running with a streamlined staff, even if you see better times ahead. While “stretch roles,” as experts call them, can help employees grow, they can be bad for business in the long-term, affecting not only your employees’ behavior but your efficiency and your bottom line. Here, four experts share signs to help you identify if someone, or something, in your organization is about to snap: Symptom: Business Bottlenecks. Look for places in your business where process has stalled, and you’ll likely find an overburdened employee, says Dave Berkus, superangel and author of the popular blog Berkonomics. He says bottlenecks are caused when someone, maybe even you, is so booked he or she can’t break away to complete an important task or make a crucial decision. This can have serious impact on an entire organization because everyone before or after the bottleneck is left in limbo. For example, Berkus says, if you run a computer company and your installer is two weeks behind, billing is delayed on one side of the bottleneck, and trainers are left waiting on the other. In this case, bringing on some help could break the bottleneck free. “That one person you hire will make 20 people more efficient if that person solves the problem at the point of constriction,” Berkus says. Symptom: Customer Complaints. The downturn might have forced you to get creative, pulling a customer service rep to help with sales or getting your IT guy to handle your Twitter feed. This is the wrong approach if client satisfaction suffers. If your metrics reveal lower than expected customer service scores or you’re getting mixed reviews from clients, it’s time to take stock of stretch roles. “That feedback could be an early indicator

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that things are starting to fail and that there’s risk,” explains Jamie Latiano, vice president of human resources for In Flight Entertainment, based in Irvine, Calif., and president-elect of the Orange County chapter of the National Human Resources Association. “An assessment has to be made to see whether your internal team members have the strength and experience to meet the growing needs of your growing business, or if they’re capped where they are.” Latiano suggests staffing for the future. “I encourage leaders to think a few years ahead,” she says. “You may be investing in talent that’s a little heavy hitting right now but that’s the experience that’s going to help you meet your objectives.” Symptom: Behavior Changes. You don’t 16 www.greenazine.com

need to look far to find signs of burnout in employees, especially during a time when job satisfaction is at one of its lowest levels in 22 years. Overstretched employees may exhibit a wide variety of behavior and personality changes, according to Debbie Zmorenski of Orlando, Fla.-based Moren Enterprises, and bosses should look for red flags. She says someone who used to be upbeat and outgoing may appear anxious, critical, angry or withdrawn. An employee once known for accuracy might make careless mistakes. Staffers may call in sick more often, or use more physical and mental health benefits. Conflict between employees may also bubble to the surface, and turnover rates may increase. Says Zmorenski, “One symptom can lead to an entire

list of things that damage the bottom line of the company.” But isn’t as difficult or expensive to restore morale as you might think. Extending flextime, increasing recognition programs and remembering to say ‘thank you’ go a long way. “It shows you appreciate not only the fact they’re carrying an extra workload but that they’ve stayed with you through the tough times,” Zmorenski says. Symptom: Decreased Productivity. Ironically, the more individuals work the less they may be getting done, says HR expert Margaret Greenberg, founder of The Greenberg Group, a consulting and executive coaching firm based in Andover, Conn. “You’ll see people that are just chained to their


desk and don’t feel like they can leave. They think ‘If I just work longer and harder, I’ll get more done and catch up’ when in fact that’s a fallacy,” she says. Ask employees to log their projects, and if longer hours don’t seem to translate into increased output, it might be time to intervene. Encouraging e-mail shut-offs and mid-afternoon walks can actually increase efficiency, Greenberg says, as does taking time to plan before diving into tasks. But Greenberg, co-author of Profit from the Positive, says there is a bright side to stretching staff beyond their original job descriptions, one that you can take advantage of. The increased responsibilities incubated talent and a greater perspective on how the company operates. “They can spot efficiencies and interdependencies to your benefit,” Greenberg says. “Stretch roles are not all negative all the time.” Take another look at job descriptions to see if promotions are in order or if you need to recast roles to fit what your company needs now. If so, encourage your employees to rise to the challenge.

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But isn’t as difficult or expensive to restore morale as you might think.

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I hear it all the time from business owners: “We have a great product or service but I just don’t know how to sell it. I hate sales!” Unfortunately for these entrepreneurs, selling is a necessary evil. Unless your product is so revolutionary that people are willing to line up at your door for it, you need to learn how to sell; otherwise, your days as a business owner are numbered. How can someone who either hates selling or doesn’t know 18 www.greenazine.com

how to sell learn the fine art of getting customers to say yes? It starts with three simple steps: 1. Understand Features vs. Benefits Look at your business from your customers’ perspective. They don’t initially see the “features” of your product or service; they see the “benefits” of your product or service to them. Theodore Levitt, a Harvard marketing professor,


How to Sell (For People Who Hate Sales)

These three tips will help you master the art of getting customers to say yes, even if you’re not a born salesperson.

used to tell his students, “People don’t want to buy a quarterinch drill. They want a quarter-inch hole!” If you approach selling to your customers in this manner, then what are the most common benefits of your product or service to them? If you’re not sure, ask some customers why they buy from you. They will be more than happy to tell you. 2. Help Others Help You

Paraphrasing a quote, “There are two types of salespeople that enter a room—the first one walks in and says, ‘Here I am!’ The second one walks in and says, ‘Ah, there you are!’” If you are uncomfortable with sales, the best and easiest approach is to be the second salesperson. Shine the spotlight on your customers and their needs. When you help them solve a problem or find the solution they sought, they will thank you, pay you money and hopefully become an advocate for your brand. If they have questions, answer www.greenazine.com

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If you want increased sales without heavy lifting, the simplest and surest way to get there is by delivering the best possible customer service on the planet.

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them. If you don’t know the answer, let them know that you don’t want to give them misinformation and you will make it a priority to get back to them with the correct response. Selling is problem solving. Someone comes to you with a need or a problem; you provide the solution. RELATED: 5 Reasons Your Website Visitors Aren’t Buying 3. Deliver Exceptional Customer Service If you want increased sales without heavy lifting, the simplest and surest way to get there is by delivering the best possible customer service on the planet. Your credo should be “Happy Customers are the Best Customers.”

their terrific product. I feel good knowing that I’m delivering new business to a company that makes me feel like family. At that point, you are no longer selling. You’ve become a trusted advisor. I respect your work and your opinion. I trust you! Selling can be an arduous task. Not everyone possesses the gift of gab and enjoys dealing with all kinds of people. If you struggle with picking up the phone, greeting potential customers or making presentations about your business, address your fears. Don’t worry about rejection—just know that it’s coming. It won’t kill you and it’s not personal. Believe in your product, focus the spotlight on your customers and deliver world-class customer service.

RELATED: 12 Tips for a Perfect Pitch Problems arise with every product and service. How your company responds to those problems is critical to your sales success. As a customer, I will go out of my way to buy from people I know who put in the extra effort in making me feel like they really appreciate my business. When things go wrong, they make it right—without question. I then become their sales champion. I tell all my friends about their wonderful service or

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Why 80 Percent of Your Employees Are Job Hunting Here are 6 things you can do to get them to stay. 22 www.greenazine.com


Take a good look at your employees. Did you know 80 percent of them are ready to bail?

Take a good look at your employees. Did you know 80 percent of them are ready to bail? According to a sobering new Monster.com survey, nearly half (42 percent) of workers are unhappy with their current jobs, and a whopping 81 percent plan to job hunt this year. Monster.com polled workers to find out what was driving them to look for a new job and how confident they were about finding a job. Surprisingly, the lingering effects of the recession don’t seem to be weighing on employees. An astounding 79 percent of employed survey respondents—and 74 percent of those who are unemployed—are confident about their prospects for landing a new job in the next year. That’s the case even though 56 percent admit they’re struggling to find a job, 47 percent say they can’t find a job that matches their experience and qualifications, and 38 percent believe potential employers

don’t understand the value of their skills and experience. What’s motivating employees to look for greener pastures? Here’s what they say, and what you can learn from it.

1. Money Matters Almost all (96 percent) consider salary an important reason for seeking a new job, and 32 percent say “higher compensation” is the primary reason they’re job hunting. What you can do: Bite the bullet and find a way to make sure your salary is at least commensurate with, if not better than, those offered by competing businesses. Keep in mind that wage or salary raises aren’t the only ways to accomplish this. You can also institute bonuses tied to individual performance, or a www.greenazine.com

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profit-sharing plan that rewards employees if the company does well. Adding or expanding benefits is another option—as long as those benefits have some financial value. For instance, if you decide to do a 401(k) match, make sure employees know that you’re essentially giving them X amount of dollars tax-free. Talk to your accountant about the best options for your business.

2. Security Blanket 95 percent of employees say they are looking for a job with more job security, and 26 percent say this is their main reason for seeking a new job. What you can do: Job security is often a perk for small-business employees, so be sure to emphasize that any time you’re hiring. If you did go through layoffs during the downturn, employees 24 www.greenazine.com

may be extra skittish. Be open with your remaining employees and, if you have no plans for layoffs in the foreseeable future, let them know. Remind them of the long-term history your team has.

3. A Little Respect Intangible issues are a big factor in the job search. Some 97 percent of employees say “respect and appreciation” are crucial factors in a new job. What you can do: Are you disrespecting employees without even knowing it? Many entrepreneurs have a tendency to micromanage, which can make employees feel as if they can’t be trusted to do their jobs. Tell employees what you want them to accomplish, then let them figure out the best plan for reaching


those goals. Check in with them, but don’t loom over them. Ask for their insights and opinions. Last but not least, acknowledge their achievements in front of the rest of the team.

4. Searching for Fulfillment Nearly all (97 percent) the respondents say being able to use their skills and feeling fulfilled by what they do are important factors in choosing a job. In addition, 27 percent say the top reason they’re looking for a new job is to feel more fulfilled, and 27 percent say the top reason is to find a better match with their skills.

to really listen to your employees—not only to their words, but to the feelings behind them. This is where trust is earned.” Parrinello says business owners should increase the “quality time” they spend with their staffs, and notes, “Walking meetings are becoming more popular. Pick a topic to brainstorm,” then take a group walk to discuss everyone’s ideas.

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What you can do: As a small-business owner, you have an edge over big companies here, because you can really get to know each employee and see what makes him or her tick. Work with your supervisors and managers to pinpoint each employee’s strengths. Then work with the employee to identify skills that he or she can build on to become an even better member of your team. Develop a plan to use each worker’s skills to maximum advantage. You’ll benefit your business—and build employee loyalty at the same time.

5. Flexibility While four in 10 job seekers say flexible work schedules and the option to work from home are important in choosing a job, this factor was far less important than many others. What you can do: Don’t get me wrong—for certain jobs or types of workers, flexibility can be key. But make sure the other four factors are in place before you worry about offering remote work or flexible hours.

6. Employee Engagement Though this was not covered in the Monster. com survey, a recent study from Gallup indicates about 70 percent of American workers are disengaged from their jobs. What you can do: Kristen Parrinello, advisor of human potential at The LBL Group, says entrepreneurs need to realize “employees are the key to your sustained competitive advantage.” To increase engagement, she advises, “Take the time www.greenazine.com

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Four Reasons Your Sales Fo to Create Value

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orce Is Unprepared Value is the killer app in sales. Without it, you are relegated to competing on price. Here’s why your sales force is unprepared to create value and what to do about it. No Business Acumen: Your sales force doesn’t have the business acumen, the experience, or the situational knowledge. To succeed in sales today you have to be a bigger salesperson. Being a bigger sales person means being a better business person. It means thinking about your client’s problems through the eyes of the business owner. We use words like “trusted advisor” and ”consultative,” but we don’t prepare the salesforce to be those things. If you want real sales enablement, this is where it starts and ends. No Differentiation: Your sales force can’t present your defining differentiators in a way that creates value in the minds of your clients. Ask a salesperson to differentiate their offering from their competitors in a way that is compelling. Most of them will tell you that they’re not very different from their competitors. They don’t believe that you’re very different from your competitors. Without defining differentiators, those differences that make a difference, it’s very difficult to demonstrate the real value in your value propositions. As a sales leader, you have to sell this differentiation all the time. Transactional Disease: Your salespeople behave transactionally because that’s what they believe they’re supposed to do. As a leader you have to build and protect a culture. You have to share your worldview and you have to enforce it. The world outside is telling your sales people that they are only going to win on price, that you’re supposed to be Walmart. They’re being led to believe that the only value customers really perceive is lowest price. It doesn’t matter that none of this is true, and it doesn’t matter that the sales people working in your organization don’t

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If you allow discounting in order to win new opportunities then you are contributing to the problem of sales people not being prepared to create value.

understand the ideological inconsistency of believing this while carrying an iPhone and a new MacBook. What matters is you continually reinforce the perception of value and that you enforce the mindset that you will accept nothing less than value creation and reject all transactional beliefs and behaviors. You Allow Discounting: Leadership and management sometimes doesn’t protect own business model by enforcing the creation of value when winning an opportunity. If you allow discounting in order to win new opportunities then you are contributing to the problem of sales people not being prepared to create value. If you do so for short term revenue at the expense of your business model, you’re breaking the business. You challenge every deal to see what value you are creating that makes you worth paying more to obtain. Or you end up not creating value, and you step onto the slippery slope to a declining profit margins. Ultimately, the sales leaders is responsible for the results of their team. If your sales team is unprepared to create value, improve their business acumen, their ability to differentiate, enforce a value-creation mindset, and don’t contribute to the problem by discounting. Questions How do you learn to create more value? What experiences contribute to that outcome? Can each person on your team easily differentiate your offering from your 28 www.greenazine.com


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Ultimately, the sales leaders is responsible for the results of their team.

competitor’s? Is each member of your team part of the differentiation?

sales force’s lack of ability to create value for their clients?

How much does the worldview that price is the only real value permeate your team’s mindset?

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What do leaders do that contributes to the 30 www.greenazine.com

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Revitalized FMCSA website puts service front and center

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has one mission: safety. And to pursue that mission, we offer a wide variety of useful services and important information to bus and truck drivers, to carrier companies, and to consumers. Today, I am proud to announce a significant advance in getting those resources into your hands more easily, our redesigned www. fmcsa.dot.gov. The new site puts our best foot forward by featuring the pages visitors access most often. We’ve also restructured our content based on who you are --driver, carrier, or consumer--

and what you’re interested in --news, safety, registration, or regulations. In addition to helping us move the needle on safety, the new www.fmcsa.dot.gov improves our stakeholder service. Whatever you’re looking for from FMCSA, from registering for a DOT number and learning about medical requirements to our popular consumer pages “Look Before You Book” and “Protect Your Move,” the new site makes it easier to find. And with all of the resources we offer, we hope you’ll check back often to discover something new. www.greenazine.com

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5 Steps for Leaders Struggling to Lead Positive Change 34 www.greenazine.com


Our research shows nearly three out of four organizations are infected with one or more of the costly behaviors of gossiping, shifting blame and turfism. According to the study, infected organizations experience significantly worse results across the board—with decreased productivity, quality, safety, customer satisfaction, employee morale and higher turnover. For example, the data reveals that organizations suffering from one or more of the most common infections are nearly twice as likely to experience quality problems. Here is how one respondent described it: “Two departments in my company are responsible for quality for the entire organization. Each created their own way of being compliant, as a way of protecting their silo. As a result, employees have a hard time knowing which process to follow, and quality has actually worsened.” Unfortunately, these common and costly infections are also highly resistant to change. Only six percent of the leaders surveyed said they’d been able to root out these behavioral problems. In fact, 94 percent of respondents reported that these bad behaviors had persisted for a year or longer, and a third reported the problem had persisted for more than 10 years.

The positive news is that solutions are possible. The six percent who succeeded used the same approach—they targeted the problem with multiple strategies aimed at personal, social and environmental influences. The leaders who failed relied on a single strategy, such as incentives or verbal persuasion. The key to success was combining multiple sources of influence into a potent solution. Interestingly, the amount of time leaders spent on the issue had little impact on their success; the correlation was barely significant. But how they spent their time, including the number of sources of influence they applied, had a huge impact. Here are a few tips to help you enlist multiple sources of influence in leading positive change in your own organization. 1. Focus on behavior. Leaders who simply repeat vague values drive little change. Those who identify concrete and clear behaviors they hope people will enact are far more effective influencers. For example, five million people were spared from AIDS in Thailand when one leader moved beyond vague awareness campaigns and focused on 100 percent condom use in the sex trade.

three out of four organizations are infected with one or more of the costly behaviors

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2. Connect to values. Use potent stories and direct experiences to make change a moral and human issue. New York restaurateur Danny Meyer helps employees connect to the value of “hospitality” rather than just “customer service” by repeatedly sharing powerful stories of meaningful guest experiences their colleagues create. 3. Invest in skills. Most leaders see influence as a matter of motivation. Influencers invest more in building ability than simply motivating the masses. For example, healthcare CEO Matt Van Vranken influenced massive increases in hand hygiene habits in his nearly 20,000-employee hospital system by helping employees develop skills for speaking up when they saw a colleague violate hygiene standards. 4. Leverage peer pressure. Social influence is the most potent force for change. Research shows that if people believe bad behavior is normal they are far more likely to follow suit. A Ghanaian gold mine reduced vehicle accidents by engaging respected drivers in training other drivers in proper safety practices. Peers were far more effective at gaining compliance than either staff professionals or senior leaders had ever been. 5. Change the environment. Use tools, technology, information and surroundings to make people conscious of the need to change and enabled to make better choices. For example, software entrepreneur Rich Sheridan cut employees’ time fixing errors from 40 percent of working time to no time at all by putting code writers in teams of two, sharing one computer. This environmental change significantly increased employee productivity and morale. The most important takeaway from this research is to combine these strategies together. Cherry picking one or two won’t work. When it comes to resistant strains of behavioral infections, the cure requires multiple sources of influence.

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Experts Agree, Don’t Start The D experts suggest that you start with your hardest work of the day and save email for later. 38 www.greenazine.com

There are tons of books about timemanagement, but increasingly I hear the topic discussed in terms of energy management. Our minds, the thinking goes, only have so much capacity for any one type of activity, so we have to build that limitation into our daily routines if we want to work effectively. Our email inbox may seem to be our highest priority, but “inbox zero” can lead to “energy zero” if you are not careful. I just finished reading a new book by 99U called Manage Your Day-to-Day: Build Your Routine, Find Your Focus & Sharpen Your Creative Mind. The

recurring advice across many of the 20 experts who contributed essays to the book was simple: don’t start the day by dealing with your email. Instead, the experts overwhelmingly suggest that you start with your hardest work of the day and defer the distractions of email for later.

In some work environments this may seem impractical, or even impossible, but the principle can be applied to any situation. In some cases, the answer may be to get to work early in order to carve out some sustained thinking


Excerpts from NTSB Accident report: http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/reports/2005/HAR0501.pdf

Day By Answering Your Email time at the start of the day. For others it is just a matter of retraining yourself to not assume that the priorities of your inbox match up with your own personal goals and responsibilities. We start with email is not only because we need to respond to others, some of them clients or superiors, in a timely manner, but also that re-acting is easier than pro-acting. Generally whatever is most important to do is difficult and requires skills that one uniquely possess. That is why it is your work. As much as we may revel in our individuality,

expressing that individuality—especially in corporate situations—can make us feel vulnerable and exposed. A report from McKinsey last year estimated that the average knowledge worker spent 28% of their workday on email. Tech consultant Linda Stone has coined the term “email apnea” (and the more general “screen apnea”) to describe the curious behavior that most of us display when reading email and other screen related tasks: we actually hold our breath. And like sleep apnea which is www.greenazine.com

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responsible for a host of maladies, email and screen apnea sap our energy and increase our body’s tension. So beyond the suggestion to not let others shape your own priorities, starting your day with email can literally have a detrimental effect on the rest of your day. Best-selling author and founder of The Energy Project, Tony Schwartz, argues that we have to build renewal of our energy into our work day. Scott Belsky, co-founder on Behance and now VP of Community at Adobe, recommends not reaching for your smartphone in

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the interstices between meetings, but rather to allow for some unstructured time for your mind to both recharge and also absorb what just happened. Taken as a whole, the suggestions in Manage Your Day-to-Day urge us to take responsibility for our own time and energy by not letting email or other forms of reactivity blunt our focus. It is, of course, important to be responsive to other people, but as James Victore writes, “we are losing the distinction between urgent and important—now everything gets heaped in the urgent pile.” As hard as it may seem to buck

the trend and not answer every message immediately, your assertion of priorities will make it easier for your co-workers to assert theirs. The more people in an organization who take this approach, I think, the less superfluous emails will get sent. If you don’t assume an immediate response you will often just figure it out yourself. Voilà, one less email exchange! Taming email is a group endeavor, but it starts with you.

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Electronic Logging Devices

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) proposal that would require the use of electronic logging devices (ELDs) by drivers of commercial motor vehicles has been officially published. The supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking, published in the March 28, 2014, Federal Register, would require use of ELDs by all drivers who are currently required to maintain a record of duty status (driver’s log) to record their hours of service. Under the proposal, ELDs would have to be installed within two years after publication of the final rule. The devices would have to meet specific standards, including be connected (“integrally synchronized”) to the engine of the vehicle so that driving time can be automatically recorded. Only devices that are registered with FMCSA and appear on the agency’s website would be considered compliant with the proposal’s requirements. Carriers who currently use automatic onboard recording devices (ABORDs) that do not comply with the technical specifications outlined in the proposal, would be required to replace those systems no later than four years after the effective date of a final rule.

There are no proposed ELD exemptions based on vehicle or fleet size alone. The rules would apply to all interstate “commercial motor vehicles” as defined in Sec. 390.5 of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and drivers of commercial motor vehicles who are required to use logs. Drivers using the 100- or 150-air-mile exceptions will continue to be exempt from maintaining a record of duty status and will also be exempt from the ELD requirement, but ELDs will be required for drivers who don’t qualify for those exceptions on 9 or more days within any 30-day period. The proposal also addresses supporting documents as well as concerns about driver harassment resulting from the mandatory use of ELDs. FMCSA is accepting comments on the supplemental notice of proposed rulemaking until May 27, 2014. Comments may be submitted via the Federal eRulemaking Portal: www.regulations.gov, using Docket number FMCSA-2010-0167. www.greenazine.com

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Facebook ROI for Business Explained Have you been using Facebook for your business but are unsure if its providing any real return on investment? Are you thinking of starting to use Facebook for your business? For any business, return on investment (ROI) is the deciding factor in whether they will execute a specific marketing tactic - and Facebook is no different. The Problem with Facebook ROI for Businesses The problem with Facebook though is that its ROI is a different beast than that of traditional online marketing like Google Adwords. The ROI from Adwords is easy to determine because you can see the direct revenue generated from each click. Facebook can provide such direct returns, through its Ads platform, but it also gives you returns such as leads, traffic and customer testimonials at fractions of the cost. In this article I’ll explain the top 5 types of Facebook ROI for businesses, why they’re valuable, how you can get them and how you can track them.

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What You’ll Learn from this Post: 1. Learn what ROI to expect from Facebook 2. Understand the value of Facebook ROI for Business (and how to utilize it properly) 3. Find out how to achieve Facebook ROI for your Business Tweetable Takeaways (for those who want it ASAP) 1. Asking people to share your Facebook posts is a big no-no. It sounds like begging and will turn people off. 2. 46% of U.S. adults trust online reviews written by customers, but only 10% trust online ads 3. Online retailer Nasty Gal has used social channels to grow 500% each year since its inception in 2006 4. Mine user’s interest data (using FB Apps) to create engaging posts, weaving in your own products & business Facebook ROI for Businesses #1 Fans Sharing with Friends This occurs when one of your fans shares, comments on or Likes on of your Facebook Posts. These interactions show up in their friends News Feeds and not only introduce your business to them, but includes a social recommendation from their friend. Here is an example from my own News Feed from one of my friends: This is far more powerful than a simple ad. Why? Because people care about what their friends think and do, not what a business wants to sell them. If a person’s friend is talking about an experience that involves your business, it’s a story with personal interest. Compare the above example to Ad below. Which do you think I’m more likely to click on? According to a recent Forrester Research report, “70% of US online adults trust brand

or product recommendations from friends and family”. That same report indicated that 46% trust online reviews written by customers, but only 10% trust online ads and company written text messages. Don’t beg for shares though. In a recent article, The Five Most Common Facebook Posts Mistakes, I wrote that asking people to share your Facebook posts is a big no-no. This sounds like begging and will turn most people off. You need to provide some form of incentive or interest to propel people to engage with you. Liking and sharing can be the mechanisms that people are told to use to engage with you, but it has to be done in a way that is fun or useful. Here are two Facebook posts, made right after each other, from Walmart showing both the right and wrong ways to drive Likes and shares from Facebook posts. The post on the left is asking people to share the Facebook post to tell their friends about a sale happening at Walmart. This can be taken as basically asking you to spam your friends. And it provides no interest or value for the person sharing. The post on the right is done correctly. It’s giving people a venue to express their opinion on how they like their steak cooked, which for some people is a part of who they are! As you can see its getting much more engagement: How do you track shares by your Fans? Facebook’s new Page Insights makes it super easy to see how many shares each of your posts is getting and which are the most popular. Check out a piece from Wishpond’s Insights below. The orange bar represents “Reach”, the purple represents “Clicks” and the red “Shares”: Facebook ROI for Businesses #2 Referral Traffic to your Website People are turning to sites like Pinterest more and more to engage in “Social Shopping Sessions”. Instead of going to comparison shopping sites Rich Revelance recently analyzed 15 billion shopping sessions between December 2012 and April 2013 to see how social media affects purchases.

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Take a look at the infographic to see Facebook and Pinterest’s effect on ecommerce sales: How do you use Facebook to drive Referral Traffic to your Website? The best way to do this is to create posts that tell a story about your products or how people can use them. If you just post about your new product line or what’s on sale, nobody will care. Those are not interesting posts. But if you give them some advice on how to solve a problem or how to improve their life, then they will listen. Here are a couple types of Facebook Posts you can use to drive referral Traffic to your website: Give a Preview with a “See the whole thing: [Link]” Call-to-action This type of Facebook post is meant to tug on a person’s curiosity. It makes them want click a link to see or read something that are getting just a small preview of in the post itself. This type of post includes two things: 1. A photo that shows a small piece of a larger, more intricate object. This can include a location, a product, an outfit, or even a piece of content. 2. A short description of what the photo shows and a call-to-action to see the rest of it. Lowe’s Home Improvement does a great job using this formula to promote a bathroom makeover. Posts like these that provide real-world ideas for doing cool things are perfect. And people are always interested in seeing a makeover. Before-and-after photos have big impact on people’s minds because they show what is possible in a believable way. A photo of a beautiful kitchen is nice, but if you add a photo of how the kitchen looked before, it can spark new ideas in your Fans’ minds on how they can do a makeover of their own. “Learn how to [Do Something]: [LINK]” One of the reasons Pinterest is so popular is that it is an idea machine: It gives people tons of ideas and examples on new and interesting ways to do things. Making your Page a source for cool new activities and tips for things that are relevant to your target audience is the best way to create lasting engagement with your Fans.

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Walmart made a killer post recently with a link to a guide on growing your own salsa. Many people in their target audience (families) have gardens at home, but probably never thought to grow the ingredients necessary to make their own salsa. This will provide them with a new activity they never thought of trying before. Check out the post: One added ingredient to boost this formula is to tell people they can learn how to do something just like real-world examples. This builds a trust factor into your material that will drive a lot more clicks from skeptics. Etsy did this perfectly by showcasing a real person who successfully started an Etsy Store to drive clicks to a helpful article: How do you track Referral Traffic from Facebook to your Website? Google Analytics makes it easy - and you don’t even need to use special parameters and Google Analytics tracks traffic from Facebook, Twitter and other social networking sites automatically via its Social Reports tool. If you want to get more in-depth to see which posts are driving the most referral traffic, the easiest way is to use Facebook’s new Page Insights (which are awesome IMHO). It allows you to see which posts are getting the most clicks: And then dig deeper to see how exactly people are interacting with your posts and clicking: Facebook ROI for Businesses #3 Sales Leads Facebook contests are an easy way to generate new sales leads for your business. By providing even a small prize, such as a $25 gift card to your store, you can collect hundreds of leads who are interested in your products.

2. It will only attract people who are interested in your products, which is what you want! If you give away an ipad you will get a ton of entries, but those people will only be interested in ipads, not your products. This will make it almost impossible to convert these users into actual sales for your business. Giving away a gift card ensures that entrants have an interest in your products, which makes it easy to convert them into sales. How does a Facebook contest get me leads? Every person who enters your Facebook contest gives you their email and contact details, making them a new lead to sell to. To maximize new emails and leads you need to maximize entries. You can do this by making the barrier to entry as low as possible. Do this by asking only for an email in order to enter. Minimizing your entry form to just one field will make it as fast and easy as possible to enter, maximizing your entry rate. How do you convert Facebook contest leads to sales? If you followed my advice above (RE: Choosing an instore gift card as your prize) this will be easy! The best way to convert these leads into sales is to send them a follow-up email immediately after they enter your contest with a coupon or promotion to entice them to visit your website or store. At that moment they will be most interested in your business, as they just interacted with you. Providing a small coupon will give them the incentive to visit NOW, especially if they are first-time customers. Wishpond’s Facebook Contest Apps give you the ability to send automatic follow-up emails to entrants. Learn more at http://corp.wishpond.com. Facebook ROI for Businesses #4 Understanding Your Customers

The prize is the most important piece of your contest. It’s what entices people to enter. Make the prize something relevant to your business.

Facebook has created an unprecedented repository of information about people. And for you, as a business, this gives you the opportunity to understand who your customers are and optimize your marketing, and product line, to boost sales.

A great prize is a gift card for your business. Why? Two reasons:

How do you use Facebook to understand your customers?

1. A gift card is enticing to all of your potential customers – it’s the prize that is the most enticing to the largest group of people. If you give away a certain product or service, you will only get entries from people interested in that specific product. With a gift card though, you will attract entries from those who are interested in the products you sell.

There are two ways to do this:

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1. Facebook Page Insights Facebook Page Insights allows you to see the gender, age, language and location breakdown of your Fans. You can access this information by going to the People tab in your Page Insights:


2. Facebook Contests that Utilize Facebook’s Open Graph Facebook Contest Apps, like Wishpond’s, allow you to mine even more data through Facebook’s Open Graph. The most important data is user’s interests. This allows you to see other Pages, People, movies, etc. that they like on Facebook. How do you use this information to optimize your marketing and product line? This information will allow you to create targeted Facebook content that resonates with them. If you see they like certain movies, sports teams or celebrities, you can write posts about them, weaving in your own products or business, that they’ll be interested in. If you know what types of activities your Fans are interested in, you can add products to your product line that can be used in those activities or in similar ones. You can even change the value propositions of your products on your website or in-store to show how they can be utilized for those activities.

Because people care about what their friends think and do, not what a business wants to sell them. If a person’s friend is talking about an experience that involves your business, it’s a story with personal interest.

Facebook ROI for Business #5 Sales Facebook’s Ads products give you the ability to drive people to your website through paid clicks. This is the same format as Google Adwords, but there is one major difference: Google Adwords are intent-based, meaning a person only sees an ad when they search for a specific related keyword. This means they have an intent to find that thing and possibly buy it. Facebook Ads do not have that intent though, so they must be used a bit differently. How do you use Facebook Ads to Drive Sales? You cannot target ads to people at the exact time they are looking for it, so you need to provide an incentive to get people to click. The best type of incentive to drive a direct sale is a coupon or limited-time promotion. Give them a reason to click NOW. If you don’t they will see the ad, have no real reason to click because they are not thinking about buying your products right now, and ignore it. Once you have created an Ad with a great incentive to click, you need a great landing page to send them to. A landing page is a page on your website with a clear value proposition and call-to-action. If your ad included a coupon, send them to a page that includes the coupon code and a call-to-action to products on your website on which they can use the coupon. Make it as easy as possible to understand how to use the coupon and where to go next to use it.

Facebook is still relatively new for businesses. As such, most don’t know the best practices for how to use it and end up abandoning it after seeing poor results. But like any business tool, it has the potential to help your business, you just need to set your expectations of what you’ll get out of it. If used properly, Facebook can be a catalyst for your business. Businesses like Nasty Gal have proven that when used effectively, social networks can lead to explosive growth. Check out our infographic on Nasty Gal to see how they have use social networks to achieve over 500% every year since its inception in 2006.

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The Government’s Appalling Campaign Against Small Bus Companies Jim Epstein Mar. 25, 2014 Jeff and Judy Rodgers, who met in high school and have three grown children together, started a charter bus company called Southeastern Tours 20 years ago in their hometown of Greenville, North Carolina. Jeff had been working as a bus driver for Greyhound and dreamed of running his own company. In 1994, in partnership with Judy’s mother, the couple took out a loan, built a garage, and launched their business. They struggled for a few years, but gradually built a loyal clientele. As recently as eight months ago, the company was thriving with seven buses and gross annual revenues of about a million dollars, including a contract with Amtrak worth $48,000 a month to transport passengers between train stations in North Carolina. Today Southeastern Tours is on the verge of bankruptcy. In December, Amtrak canceled its contract with the company, transferring its business to a different carrier. Unable to make their monthly payments, the Rodgers returned six of their seven buses. They may lose their home of 22 years, which served as collateral on a business loan. “I don’t have anything to fall back on,” says Jeff. “This company was my livelihood. It’s how I pay for my food and everything.” What led to the rapid downfall of Southeastern Tours? On October 14, 2013, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), a federal agency, ordered the company to cease operations on the grounds that it was a hazard to public safety. Southeastern Tours had never been involved in a serious accident, but during a three-day audit in August, FMCSA inspectors found, among other things, that its drivers filled out their logs incorrectly, that the Rodgers failed to provide their employees with

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educational materials, and that they allowed a former driver to get back behind the wheel before waiting for the results of his alcohol and drug tests. (They came back negative.) When their troubles with the FMCSA began in early August, the Rodgers committed themselves to doing whatever it took to get back in the government’s good graces. They hired a consulting firm that was personally recommended by an FMCSA investigator; they installed new devices on their buses for wirelessly submitting drivers’ logs as a way to eliminate bookkeeping errors; and they retained a respected maintenance company to conduct regular vehicle inspections. But after a tumultuous six months of dealings with the FMCSA, the Rodgers are still forbidden to run their buses and they’re beginning to make plans to dissolve the company. The case of Southeastern Tours is typical of the FMCSA’s new tough-on-crime approach to regulating the bus industry. The 2012 federal highway bill gave the agency new powers to force bus companies to halt their operations without a standard review. In 2013, the FMCSA launched a new safety initiative called “Operation Quick Strike” that forced 52 companies off the road last year, including Southeastern Tours. The agency routinely touts its heightened vigilance in the press, depicting itself as the valiant protector of the riding public. As is often the case when the government cracks down on an industry, small carriers lacking political connections and the right attorneys have received the brunt of the punishment, while the large corporate bus companies benefit from seeing their more nimble rivals driven out. By emphasizing that its efforts are a matter of saving lives, the government has gotten away with denying owners like Jeff and Judy Rodgers their constitutional right to due process.

The government’s power is almost unchecked in this arena. The rules that govern how bus companies run their operations are complex enough that FMCSA inspectors looking to take out even well-managed outfits like Southeastern Tours can almost always dig up enough violations to accomplish their goals. Once companies are forced out of service and starved of their operating revenues, they have to apply to regain their operating authority twice: once with their local FMCSA field office and then again with the agency’s headquarters in Washington, D.C. Both process can take several months because FMCSA field offices and headquarters often don’t communicate with each other, and companies aren’t allowed to begin one application process before the other is complete. To successfully navigate this process, companies need help from experienced lawyers and consultants. “The FMCSA has become much more interested in the publicity that goes with enforcement than with trying to improve the situation,” says Paul Sullivan, a retired Massachusetts State Police lieutenant and former president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the organization that determines official safety standards for commercial vehicles. “The agency is stretching the intent of the regulation to make critical examples,” says Sullivan, who now works as an independent consultant for bus companies that have gotten into trouble with the FMCSA. In an emailed statement, FMCSA Director of Communications Marissa Padilla wrote: “We make no apologies for highlighting the results of our investigations to send a strong message to the motor carrier industry that unsafe operations will not be tolerated.” In some instances, FMCSA agents have been guilty of misrepresenting facts to build a

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case against a company. In November in The Daily Beast, I wrote about the government’s shutdown of Lucky Star, a Boston-based carrier with an impeccable safety record. The forced closure of that company was based almost entirely on violations that turned out to be unfounded. Fearful of reprisal and wary of getting mired in an interminable appeals process, the owners didn’t publicly dispute the FMCSA’s flawed assessment of their company. Ultimately, Lucky Star hired a team of ex-government officials to plead their case behind closed doors, spending upwards of a million dollars to get back on the road after being grounded for seven months. The consulting fees aside, most bus companies can’t afford to stay afloat for an extended period of time without earning any revenues. “It’s OK to scrutinize compliance,” says Dru Carey, a New York City-based criminal defense attorney, who represents numerous small and medium-sized bus companies. “But if you’re going to take away someone’s right to run a business in this country,” she says, “you better have some due process.” Carey, who represents several companies that have had their operating authority taken away by the FMCSA, says it can take several months for the agency to consider objections to its actions and that it’s a struggle to get FMCSA administrators to answer their phones or return her emails. “It’s sad they need to hire a litigator to conduct business,” says Carey, who began representing bus companies about two years ago. “My clients aren’t criminals.” Jeff and Judy Rodgers’ nightmare began in early August 2013, when FMCSA Inspector Mark Halter conducted a threeday investigation of the company’s records and maintenance program. When he first showed up on August 6-and before he had a chance to examine the company’s books or buses-Halter told Rodgers that he would

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likely end up forcing his company to halt its service. “I’m going to warn you right now that we have done five audits like this and we’ve put four out of business,” Halter announced, according to Rodgers. (The FMCSA declined my request to speak with Halter.) At the end of his three-day audit, Halter gave the company a conditional rating of “unsatisfactory.” One of Southeastern’s more serious violations was that its drivers’ logbooks didn’t accurately reflect their hours of service, which Jeff Rodgers attributes to clerical errors. Halter also found that the company failed to conduct drug and alcohol tests on a driver named Albert Dixon after his bus was hit by another car on the road. (Dixon was not at fault in the accident.) Rodgers asked Halter if he could recommend a consultant who could help him write a corrective action plan to reverse his negative rating. Halter directed him to a local outfit called Mayberry Safety Solutions, and Rodgers called the company that very day. “We wanted desperately to answer their questions and get everything done in a timely manner,” says Rodgers. With help from Mayberry, Rodgers submitted plans for a new safety management program a few weeks later. The FMCSA didn’t accept the plan on the grounds that it was missing certain details. So the agency issued an order on October 14 forcing Southeastern to halt its service altogether. With their buses sitting idle in the garage, the Rodgers quickly revised and resubmitted their corrective action plan. After a productive meeting at the FMCSA field office in Raleigh on October 16, Southeastern’s rating was upgraded to “conditional,” meaning the Rodgers had permission from the regional office to operate. But because of a change in the FMCSA’s internal procedures that took


effect in 2012, the Rodgers still had to apply to get the company’s operating authority back from FMCSA headquarters in D.C. before they could start running buses-a process that can take between two to five months. During this period, Jeff Rodgers was panicked that he might lose his prized contract with Amtrak. He hired another charter company called Mary’s Tours to run the Amtrak buses, but in early November, Mary’s Tours told him that it didn’t have any buses available to keep servicing the contract. So he reached out to an old friend named Caroline Rouse, the owner of a company called LaGrange, who was in the process of retiring and unwinding her company. Rodgers had been in the process of purchasing some of Rouse’s old buses, so as a favor she agreed to put them into service under LaGrange’s operating authority to work the Amtrak contract. In early November, the FMCSA conducted a sting operation on the Amtrak routes, and determined that it was actually Southeastern,

not LaGrange, that was running the buses. The agency fined Southeastern $25,000 and revoked its conditional rating. Rodgers, who was desperate to save his business, admits he made a mistake by turning to a company that didn’t have entirely distinct operations from his own. The following month, Amtrak canceled its contract with Southeastern Tours. With their bills piling up and no revenue coming in, the Rodgers became ensnared in a bureaucratic appeals process. In early January, they submitted another version of their corrective action plan and at the same time petitioned the agency to review the case. The FMCSA rejected the petition on a technicality: Southeastern Tours wasn’t allowed to ask for a factual review at the same time that a corrective action plan was pending. In February, the company’s corrective action plan was denied, so the Rodgers submitted another petition for review. Southeastern Tours may not survive to see a resolution.

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The company would likely be operating today if the Rodgers had hired a more experienced lawyer and taken a more adversarial approach. Georgia-based Transouth Motorcoach, which was shut down by the FMCSA in July, got its operating authority back by wisely avoiding the FMCSA’s appeals process and going directly to the courts. Transouth’s attorney, J. Hatcher Graham, first considered suing FMCSA chief Anne Ferro for defamation because of remarks she made to the press about his client’s firm. Instead, he filed a temporary restraining order and permanent injunction against the FMCSA and several of its top officers in U.S. District Court, maintaining that his client’s alleged violations were a combination of “misrepresentations of the actual facts” and “minor administrative errors” that didn’t pertain to passenger safety. Soon after Graham filed the lawsuit, the FMCSA backed off and allowed the company to start operating again. In an email, the FMCSA’s Marissa Padilla disputed Graham’s characterization of the violations, writing that the company “has been subject to two investigations in two years

because of its poor safety record,” and listing the company’s alleged offenses. Transouth was cited by the FMCSA for, among other things, failing to correct mechanical defects in its buses, failing to provide a driver with written materials on drug and alcohol tests, and failing to ask a driver’s previous employer for information about his record before hiring him. (A list of Transouth’s violations is here.) The FMCSA also charged Transouth with being over-vigilant in some cases. The company racked up violations for testing a driver for drugs and alcohol after a traffic incident when the tests weren’t required, and unnecessarily requesting that a driver take a drug test. “No good deed goes unpunished,” says Graham. Another violation had to do with an allegation that a driver operated a bus with a flat tire, which Graham says isn’t true. “The inspectors are catching bus companies because their paperwork isn’t as good as it should be, or maybe they missed some things here and there,” says Graham. “But instead of helping them fix their paperwork, they’re taking them off the road,” said Graham. “And they don’t go after the big bus companies.” Attorney Dru Carey concurs that the FMCSA’s enforcement actions disproportionately target small, minority-owned carriers. She started the Asian Motorcoach Owners Association to represent members of the Chinatown bus industry, a subset of the industry that’s been decimated by the FMCSA. (Back in July, I wrote about the case of Fung Wah, the iconic Chinatown bus company, which was forced off the roads in March 2013 because of regulatory incompetence on the part of Massachusetts state inspectors and the FMCSA.) Jeff Rodgers, who stills shows up for work everyday to an empty garage, says his company’s days are probably numbered. “We spent 20 years running people across the country safety, and then they came and took a man’s livelihood and threw it in the dirt.”

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TheTop 5 Hiring Mistakes No small-business owner can afford the costs of high turnover. Here’s how to identify these missteps and rectify them 56 www.greenazine.com


The tight market also means you can’t afford to make many hiring mistakes. The consequences of doing so include increased staff turnover, recruitment and training costs. As well, they include lost

As a business owner or manager, you know how tough it is these days to recruit the right people and keep them happy so they’ll stick around. The war for talent rages on, even if a bit less intensively in the past few months due to the slowing economy. With unemployment still near a 34-year low, employers in most sectors are scrambling to fill vacancies. In such a tight job market, employers can gain a vital advantage by adopting

smart strategies to recruit and retain top talent. The tight market also means you can’t afford to make many hiring mistakes. The consequences of doing so include increased staff turnover, recruitment and training costs. As well, they include lost productivity and weakened customer service while you get new hires up to speed, as well as the potential loss of major accounts and key intellectual capital to your competitors. As a human-resource strategist and recruiter, I see the same

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mistakes over and over. But I also see the same opportunities to learn from them and to craft a hiring strategy that will make it easier for you to land and hang onto the best people. Here, based on my experience, are the five most common hiring mistakes. For each, I suggest solutions that will help you not only avoid these mistakes, but develop an approach to staff recruitment that will give you a leg up on the competition. YOU LACK AN HR STRATEGY Would you run your company without a business plan, sales or financial targets? Of course not. Yet many employers operate without a human resource plan to manage their most valuable resource: their people. To create a basic HR plan, you need a welldefined strategy to hire the best people who fit your company culture. How to fix it: At the start of every fiscal year, look at your growth targets to figure out the skill sets, head count and timing you’ll need for new employees over the next 12 months. Review your current head count and turnover rates so you can identify the gaps and build a plan. A good visual tool is to put an organizational chart up on the wall with current staff and future resources needed, then plan to fill in the gaps. YOU OFFER A POOR ‘CANDIDATE EXPERIENCE’ It’s a job-seekers’ market. You need to treat candidates and customers the same way: like gold. Candidates form their impression of you as an employer during the selection process, so make sure you wow them. How to fix it: Identify all the points of contact you’ll have with candidates during your hiring process and make sure you exceed your applicants’ expectations. For instance, you should call all applicants to thank them for their interest. Remember, even candidates who don’t meet your needs today might in the future—and they might send you some great referrals if you treat them with respect. As well, you should clearly outline to candidates your recruitment and selection process so they’ll know what to expect and when. If you find a top candidate, get her in quickly and make her an offer. Don’t leave her hanging, because odds are she’ll have other offers on the table.

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YOU WAIT UNTIL THERE’S A VACANCY You can’t afford to wait for turnover to trigger your search for new employees. You need to build a pipeline of talented candidates and constantly be on the lookout for top talent— everywhere. How to fix it: The people you want are most likely happily employed somewhere else: they’re what we in the HR business call passive candidates. Look for them at networking events or on social-networking sites such as Facebook or LinkedIn. Create a relationship with them and engage with them until future needs arise. Tell passive candidates they’re the kind of talented people your firm is looking to hire. Offer to put them on your career-opportunity mailing list, send them company newsletters, invite them to speaking engagements and send them press releases. You can also turn all your employees into talent scouts. Create a referral program, offering your staff a finder’s fee of $250 to $500 or a gift certificate to their favourite store if they refer a candidate who is hired and passes the probation period. And develop referral tools, such as business cards saying “We Want You” to give to potential candidates when you find them. YOU FAIL TO CREATE SOME BUZZ Is your HR team in the dark ages of administrivia, pushing paper and policies? Or are they a polished sales and marketing machine that can sell your company to attract top talent? How to fix it: Be honest. Would you apply to your own job postings? You need to sell the opportunity, and these days a posting that’s merely a standard job description just won’t cut it. You need to create postings that highlight the opportunities at your firm and key career achievements for the applicant. As well, you should have a polished career page on your website where you can educate potential job candidates about what your firm can offer them and what you expect from them, as well as helping convert clients into employees. Applicants who are happily employed elsewhere, need to be convinced to join your team. Ask yourself, “What do we have to


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offer candidates that differentiates us from other employers?” Ask your current employees to write down the top five reasons why they joined your team and why they stay. Examples might include a great team environment, learning and development opportunities, a top-notch boss, challenging work and opportunities for career advancement. Pull together a list of the five reasons cited most often and include it in your job postings and, most importantly, your website. Even better, profile current employees on your career page or post video testimonials on YouTube. YOU DON’T TEACH YOUR MANAGERS HOW TO HIRE Let’s face it: not all great managers are great interviewers. While your HR people might be sourcing and screening candidates, it’s the manager who does the final interview and chooses who to hire. To avoid bad hiring decisions, you need to ensure that your managers follow a standard process. How to fix it: Create a checklist outlining the steps in the recruitment and selection process, including how to set clear expectations for candidates and actions required to wow them. This list should include interview etiquette, post-interview guidelines and the minimum time to call applicants back—say, individual calls within five days if there are a limited number of applicants or a templated e-mail or form letter if there are a large number. As well, you should develop a list of standard interview questions about company fit and desired answers with your team. (Visit www.jobinterviewquestions. org as a resource to get started.) This will get everyone on the same page, looking for the same talents and talking the same talk.

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ARTICLE ONLINE

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NAMO Semi-Annual Membership Meeting in Los Angeles, February 2014 during UMA EXPO

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CERTIFIED MEDICAL EXAMINER drivers will soon be required to have their medical examinations performed by a Certified Medical Examiner

Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Attention Commercial Motor Vehicle (CMV) Drivers and Carriers:

You can find certified medical examiners in your area—or anywhere in the country— easily by following

Did you know an important law affecting you goes into effect May 21, 2014?

1. Visit the National Registry Web site and search by Zip Code, State, or examiner name.

To keep America’s interstate CMV drivers healthy and our roads safer, all interstate CMV drivers will soon be required to have their medical examinations performed by a Certified Medical Examiner listed on the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s National Registry of Certified Medical Examiners.

2. Choose a certified medical examiner from the list and call to make an appointment.

If you’re an interstate CMV driver, you already need a valid medical certificate signed by a medical examiner. The only change is that after May 21, 2014, you’ll need to go to a certified medical examiner for your medical certificate. If you’ve already had an exam and have a current certificate that certificate will be valid until its regular expiration date.

Please spread the word and encourage your fellow CMV drivers to find a Certified Medical Examiner by May 21st. They can find more information in the Fact Sheet for Drivers or by going to the National Registry Web site, so pass it along!

3. If your preferred health care professional isn’t on the list, simply refer him or her to the Certified Medical Examiners page to learn more about getting certified.

Thank you for keeping America moving and for your commitment to safer roadways. www.greenazine.com

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NAMO May 2014 Newsletter