We created this short exercise to stimulate your thinking about the importance of professionalism in the truck driving industry.
Let’s begin with a scenario: You have just won the truck of your choice in a contest and a contract for 50 over the road payloads. You must provide a driver for the truck, but sorry, the driver cannot be you. Now you are on the search for a qualified truck driver that can reasonably meet professional requirements. It could be your co-worker or just someone you picture in your head as the right person for the job. All you have to do is give them a realistic score of their professional attributes, listed below.
For each attribute, assign a score between 1 for low and 10 for high. Then after you score a driver that you would hire for your trucking team, go over the list again. How well do you apply these attributes to yourself when driving? How well do you meet the standards asked of your ideal truck driver? Are you an ideal truck driver, or could you stand to undergo some improvement?
1. Safe: A driver is the captain of the ship. They know where they are all the time, forwards and backwards. They always maneuver the truck in a thoughtful and safe manner.
2. Skilled: They have control of the truck at all times and understand the mechanics of operating the equipment. They know their strengths and weaknesses and continuously work on improving them.
3. Experienced: This driver has taken the time to think their way through the segment of the industry they have entered and methodically worked to a high level of proficiency.
4. Knowledgeable: They take the time to educate themselves on the industry through every source available. They don’t just take the test to get through it, but want to understand the content of the information and how it applies to the career.
5. Clean – Inside and Out: They keep themselves clean and maintain good personal hygiene. A person who takes good care of himself and his environment is more likely to take care of you as well.
6. Qualified: Meets and exceeds the requirements of the industry. They have endorsements for qualifications, maintains them and understands the need for them. This driver protects a CDL license like a surgeon protects the tools of the trade.
7. Courteous: Treats people with professional respect and understanding, sometimes in spite of the person being dealt with. Most anyone can be courteous under normal circumstances but true professionals can maintain their control in adverse situations.
8. Patient: A true professional must be a patient person. Patience is thoughtful. Being patient is being in control.
9. Dependable: Say what you do and do what you say. You ALWAYS know where this person is because they are always where they say they will be.
10. Honest: Again, say what you do and do what you say. When you can trust someone, your life just got much easier.
11. Caring: In order to care about family and the industry you MUST care about yourself.
12. Professional: All of the above.
How did you do? Did you find any areas in which you would improve? If something in your recent professional past puts your score a bit low, it may be time to write down a list of goals based on professionalism that you can work to improve. It may sound dumb or ineffective, but any HR person will tell you that it really can work!