Browse Tag

career development

Transitioning Into the Unknown

Steve Goodman BlueGrace Logistics FranchiseeRead the incredible story of BlueGrace® Logistics franchisee and Detroit native businessman, Steve Goodman featured in the Huffington Post Detroit blog. Goodman overcame obstacles caused by a declining economy and made changes in his life so that he and his family could be happy and successful. Goodman’s advice to the millions of others experiencing similar challenges in their life are:

  • Live outside your comfort zone
  • Be coachable
  • Have an open mind to creativity
  • Do things better

BlueGrace Logistics is proud have Steve Goodman aboard the franchising program and part of our family. His experience is a testimony of success and one’s drive to greatness. If you would like to learn about how BlueGrace franchise opportunities can unlock your potential, contact us or visit the BlueGrace franchise website today.

Read the complete story of Steve Goodman, “Transitioning Into the Unknown,” in the Huffington Post.

SportsFest Teaches Lessons in Teamwork

Where’s one place you can catch employees and executives battling side-by-side in the sandy trenches of a beautiful Florida beach? Why America II Corporate SportsFest of course!

Once a year 150+ companies from across Tampa Bay compete for the esteemed title of SportsFest Champions… a position that we at BlueGrace® Logistics do not take lightly. This year brought our 3rd go-round at the event and our team of 41 players was pumped full of excitement and eager to compete! Never before have you seen such camaraderie covered in tanning oil; just bring your team spirit and game-face… no athletic skills necessary!

With five events to participate in, co-workers certainly get a chance to bond. Considering our staff has nearly doubled in size since last year’s fest, it was a perfect opportunity to get to know some of the new faces. Heather Anderson, our Culture Coordinator and Team Captain raves how beneficial the games are for team building,

A lot of our employees are die hard competitors, so it’s nice to have to depend on each other to beat the other teams.

Mudwars 2011 St. Petersburg, FL
BlueGrace team demonstrates what they're made of at Mudwars 2011.

Though BlueGrace employees make it look easy to function as team in the workplace, it does not happen automatically. Ideas for team building activities come from all employees and are supported by the leadership staff. BlueGrace schedules group activities including company softball and bowling league, Mudwars, and monthly themed office days such as barbeques, potlucks, corn hole tournaments, and #FreeBeerFriday (after 4pm). Each event allows employees to engage with one another to build stronger relationships and contribute more effectively in a team environment. In 2011 and 2012, BlueGrace Logistics was honored to be recognized as a Tampa Bay Business Journal’s Best Places to Work finalist.

Effective teamwork can yield incredible results, in the sand or the workplace. Listed below are just some reasons to participate in team-building activities within your company:

  • Creates unity where everyone is focused on a common goal
  • Encourages employees take ownership in the company’s success
  • Keeps everyone on a level playing field promoting a leaner business model
  • Increases the ability to adapt by fostering flexibility
  • Boosts morale by encouraging achievement

Though we didn’t come home with a win from SportsFest, we consistently win at providing the best service to our customers thanks to our stellar employees and impeccable teamwork. Babe Ruth said it best,

The way a team plays as a whole determines its success.  You may have the greatest bunch of individual stars in the world, but if they don’t play together, the club won’t be worth a dime.”

To join our team of MVPs, contact our recruiting team via email or follow them on Twitter @BGCareers to learn more about career opportunities. Did you participate in SportsFest this year? Does your company conduct regular team building activities? Tell us about it!

 

-Jennifer Masters, Business Information Analyst
Twitter: @BG_JennyD 

Behind the Wheel of a Big Rig

If you follow our CEO Bobby Harris @BobbyBG_CEO on Twitter, you’ll see that he continually warns of capacity overload and driver shortages looming. I don’t understand why people that are stuck in “dead-end jobs” do not want to become truck drivers! According to Indeed.com the average salary of a truck driver in Florida is $53,000/year and the salary index is on an upward trend.

I believe that most people typically think of drivers as long haul and that is a huge misnomer. Many drivers that work for LTL carriers go in to their home terminal in the morning, help load their van, take deliveries out in the morning, enjoy lunch, do pickups in the afternoon, unload back at terminal and then go home. These routes are very structured and the pay tends to be as well. Independent owner operators that do the long haul driving across the country have more freedom to name their own price and make more money.

These modes, in addition to railroads, have been the backbone of this country for many years and it will remain as such. President Obama spoke about how manufacturing is experiencing an uptick in the United States, which means that more American-made products will need to get from point A to B.

Can you see yourself behind the wheel of a big rig? The opportunity is there to have a career for years to come. Your future is up to you!

– Dustin Snipes, Inbound Sales Supervisor
Follow me on Twitter: @DSnipesNole_BG

Plague of the Millennials

I just finished reading “Millennials Incorporated” by Lisa Orrell, a book dedicated to the newest and most misunderstood generation: the Millennials (also known as Gen Y). As someone responsible for the recruiting, hiring, developing and managing of the most sought after generation of workers, this book was helpful to me in understanding that I am not alone – the issues I face daily are not unique to our business, industry, or positions. The Millennials Incorporated, by Lisa OrrellMillennial Professionals are the generation of people born after 1982, graduated after 2000, and are most recently invading your organizations as we speak. We, as employers, trainers and managers, can foster and develop this invading force of workers, or we can choose to ignore the problems we are facing and allow them to infect our livelihoods. “Millennials Incorporated” puts a ton of emphasis on companies investing time to understand this generation and how best to motivate and develop them as the future leaders of our organizations. The one problem I have with this book is that a number of its suggestions border on coddling and pandering the generation who is already commonly perceived as spoiled, entitled and whiny. Yes, it is the role of a successful leader to inspire the best out of people, but it’s important for you (Millennials) to understand – it’s still the BOOMERS and GEN X’s running the companies and making the decisions that will affect your future. You must also understand the climate and take ownership of your future.

Let’s first understand the background. This generation was raised to feel special. They were the first generation required to wear bike helmets! They were the first generation to have parental controls on their TV’s. The punishments they are dealt in school are so PC that I am not certain if a “stern talking to” is allowed anymore without parental consent and a guidance counselor present. They were raised with more rules and laws than any generation before. They were raised to feel special, protected, and valued. They grow up with social media and know that their voices ring around the world without constraint and they have unfettered access to all of the information that they want. They were raised to have a voice in their family dynamic and led to believe that they really can accomplish anything.

Millennials – you are perceived by the world as spoiled, entitled, lazy, cocky, disloyal, arrogant and deserving. It seems this generation grew up watching too many movies where all the 20-something employees sit in internet think tanks and sip espresso while sitting on bean bags and whining about their personal lives. It is up to you to confound these perceptions. You ask “WHY” a lot. “Why?” is a valuable question but can often be perceived as WHINING. Toe that line carefully. The flip side of this coin that Millennials are confident, achieving, they mature faster and have been raised with a strong sense of community. Which of these two do you think will be your company’s future leaders?

Some paradoxical truths of Millennials:

  • They expect to be treated with respect, yet they feel they are endowed and do not have to earn it.
  • They need to be active. If their task is to press a button all day, they’ll grow bored and seek other means of entertainment.
  • They’re fast thinkers! They grew up with the internet and the world at their finger tips. Everything is faster to this generation. The problem being that they expect their career path to evolve as fast as high speed data.
  • They’re “pack animals.” They are team-orientated and seek to include others. The downside is that they also seek to be included and feel entitled to be so without earning it. Millennials want a seat at the table and feel disenfranchised when they don’t have it.
  • They like “balance.” This really translates that they don’t want to work long hours. The best way to compromise here is for the Millennials to give 130% while at work and for the employer to help create an environment where they can leave work at the door.
  • They are expressive but are new to “consequences” for failing to filter their thoughts when necessary.
  • They want autonomy without having earned it, and are quick to blame lack of supervision for their failures. If you want it, OWN IT!
  • They are goal driven and need to be challenged quickly.
  • They are motivated by advancement and growth. But remember, everything is faster! They expect the promotions in 2 years that took other generations 20. Adapt with new milestones for growth.
  • Praise and praise often. Praise like you’re training a new puppy. But, Millennials, is this really what you want to be equated with? Don’t seek praise without earning it!
  • Millennials do not handle conflict and criticism well. They respond well to positive reinforcement (again with the puppy reference).
  • Abandon old methods of leading with harsh and abrupt communication, negativity, threats and fear. The only numbers this will increase is your turnover!

The most positive thing for all three generations to understand about the Millennials: we ALL want them to be our next leaders. Coach them as such. Reward them with responsibility. Set clear objectives and get to know them personally. Millennials, understand that you must also rise to the occasion. No company wants turnover but there comes a point when you’re resume has more jobs than years on it – you’re stock goes way down! Align our goals and objectives. The #1 thing Millennials look for is a leader that they can learn from!

“The young do not know enough to be prudent, and therefore they attempt the impossible, and achieve it, generation after generation.” – Pearl S. Black

– Nick Klingensmith, Director of Sales and Personnel Development
Twitter: @theBGExperience

The Tim Tebow Dilemma: X-Factor vs. ABCs

The Tim Tebow Dilemma: X-Factor vs. ABCsThere have been quite a few sports stories that have consumed the news outlets and ESPN over the past few months. From lockouts to trade talks and the ever-changing landscape of sports as we know them, there continues to be big news. The story lately that consumes not just sports but all news is the unexpected success of Tim Tebow and the Denver Broncos over the last 2 months.

The former University of Florida quarterback and Heisman Trophy winner has had many doubters throughout his NFL career, myself included. The critics say he lacks the fundamentals and throwing ability of an NFL quarterback, that he is more of a fit at the running back position. He has turned many of those doubters into believers by going 7-1 and leading 4th quarter and overtime comebacks on a consistent basis. While I am still skeptical that he will have a long career as a Quarterback in the current NFL, he may be changing what an NFL quarterback is.

So I have been mulling around a concept and want to pose the following questions: What is more important, having the X-factor or mastering the ABCs? This question can be used throughout life and business as well.

  • In sales, you can read all the books and learn everything there is to know about selling but if you don’t have the X-factor (Ability to close) you will not be successful.
  • In looking for a job, you can have an amazing resumé and job qualifications but if you show up to an interview in a t-shirt and jeans, and lack communication skills you probably won’t get it.
  • In job performance, dressing to impress, having great communication skills and a good relationship with your boss will help you succeed but if you lack the job skills and desire to continue developing yourself you may get passed over for the promotion or lose your job as the company changes course.
  • If you wait until the last minute to finish every project and put a huge strain on your team, will you be looked at as successful for getting every project done or a bad team manager? I guess that depends on the X-factor and your ability to motivate.

So, it may just depend on the situation. Of course everyone would want the best of both worlds, but it is not every day that you can find an Aaron Rodgers. If you had to choose one, what would you prefer?

– Ben Dundas, SEO/SEM Manager
Follow me @ben37dBG

News: He Who Knows Everything Has Much to Learn

Check out this article about a 63-year-old Floridian that held off a robber with a wrestling move he learned in college. I found the article interesting because the man instinctively acted to disarm the robber and save himself by using something he learned throughout his life. It made me think about personal and career development, a popular topic at my office right now.

We are currently competing in a competition called “Battle of the Bulge” to lose body fat and promote a healthier lifestyle at my workplace. This is just one step in the development process though. It is important to continue to develop yourself as a person, employee and leader. I always remember the quote “He who knows everything has much to learn.” It means you should never stop learning new things and finding new areas to excel in. The more you are capable of as a person will help you throughout your life. It could be the promotion you have been hoping for, the girl/guy you have been going after, or the lives saved of you and your family. It could even be just living a longer, healthier, happier life. Continue to teach yourself throughout your life and never stop learning!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
NAFA Urges EPA To Reconsider E15 Waive Decision
Truck Driver Social Media Conference to be Held
Analysis: Infrastructure woes – a roadblock to growth
EPA regulation coming at the wrong time
DOT’s Stimulus Payouts Reach $30.4 Billion

News: Achieve Greatness in Life & Career

I read an article this morning that really inspired me. The story is of a 98-year-old woman that became the first woman ever to earn Judo’s highest-degree black belt. Her story can be found here. The reason this inspires me was because of the obstacles she had to overcome in order to achieve this high honor. She started practicing Judo in 1935 and had the barrier of being a woman that stopped her for 30 years.

Sensei Keiko Fukuda said she approached her life with the intent to “be gentle, kind and beautiful, yet firm and strong both mentally and physically.” This approach helped her to achieve every small goal along the way to her final achievement. So this leads to a few questions. What are your life goals or career goals? Have you set any yet? Why not?

I remember a quote from Vince Vaughn in the movie Dodgeball. He said, “I found that if you have a goal, you might not reach it. But if you don’t have one, then you are never disappointed.” The truth is that you may never be disappointed if you don’t set any goals, but if and hopefully when you grow to the age of 98 years old, do you want to be able to look back at your life and realize you accomplished nothing? Set goals in your life. Set goals in your career. Do what it takes to overcome whatever stands in your way and achieve greatness!

– Ben Dundas, Web Analyst
Follow me @ben37dBG

Today’s Transportation and Logistics News:
Report: Get Out of the Highway-Obsessed Eisenhower Era
The Role of Labor in Transportation
The Heart of U.S. Economic Decline: Our Inability to Raise the Gas Tax
Early Reaction to Truck Efficiency Standards Mostly Positive
Shippers demand creation of “jobs agenda”
Fed Pledges Two Years of Low Interest Rates

Life on Your Own Terms

While waiting on a flight out of Chicago last year I stepped into an airport lounge to pass time. The only available seat was a bar stool next to this old guy who looked as if he had seen a better day some time ago. But I took my chances, sat down, and ordered a beer that arrived only mildly cold and served in a plastic cup.

I had just received a job offer that sounded good enough for me to consider relocating. I had a lot on my mind and wasn’t in the mood for much conversation, but I soon found myself listening to this guy’s story. He didn’t really have much to tell so that wasn’t what captivated me into listening to him – he had been in sales for 30 years, traveled a lot, was divorced but had some kids and grandkids that he saw mostly on holidays. Pretty soon my flight was called and as I got up to leave he said “Hey kid, remember ya’ gotta live life on your own terms” and this is what I have remembered from that day in the Chicago airport.

I have spent some time thinking about what this old guy said to me and how it applies not just to my personal life, but how it applies to my career. I have found that if you are going to be successful, the same principles and values you apply to your personal life also apply to your business life.  I am in sales because I love being with people and if I am somehow able to serve and enrich the lives of the people around me while still attaining some personal and financial success than I am “living life on my own terms.”

At BlueGrace Logistics the mission is “to create an enduring, people-centered culture that drives our ambition to become the most progressive and innovative enterprise in the logistics industry while enriching the lives of our employees, customers and vendors.”  BlueGrace is successful because the mission is people centered for their employees as well as the customers and vendors. This mission has been easy to adopt as my own. It’s a good fit because the principles and values outlined in the BlueGrace mission statement are the same that I hold and that allow me to conduct business “on my own terms”. I am able to focus on the people I serve and supply them with the best tools I can to get the job done and with that I am able to benefit the company and myself included.

– Bryan Byak, Account Manager
Follow me @bryanbyak

How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying

As I was planning a possible long weekend in NYC last month I was pursuing different Broadway shows that were currently playing that I might want to see. I was surprised to find that there was a remake of the Broadway show “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying” starring John Larroquette and Daniel Radcliffe of Harry Potter fame. The story is about a young man that works as a window washer that finds the book “How to Succeed in Business.” He reads the book and believes he would be able to succeed in the corporate world even though he had no training and no skills. Much to everyone’s surprise he follows the suggestions in the book and is able to quickly climb the corporate ladder – but only by stepping over and stepping on everyone in his way. In the end he is forced to look at his life path and realizes that he really has not achieved any success.  This got me to thinking about my own career path and where I am headed.

When I graduated from college I was certain that I was headed on a fast track to the top of the corporate world. I was an honors graduate. I had studied hard planned my career and life goals. I was ready to make my mark in the world! I thought I had what I needed to succeed. Ah, big news – college did NOT teach me all there is to know and did little to prepare me for the challenges I have had to face in the career world – in other words I found that “you cannot succeed in business without really trying.”

Success has been much harder to attain in the business world than it was in college. There are far more variables to contend with, more personalities to pacify and there is a lot less bending of the rules. I have had to rethink what it takes to succeed and the lessons have not all come easily. Much like J. Pierpont Finch in the musical “How to Succeed in Business without Really Trying”, I found that the desire to succeed is not nearly as important as the effort you have to put in to attaining that success. For me, setting goals, study, and the willingness to listen and learn from my colleagues has helped to direct me to my long term goals of personal and financial success. Understanding the mission and vision of the company as well as the expectations of my supervisors have also helped direct me along my career path. However, learning to focus on my customers’ needs has proven to be the most successful and satisfying goal of my short career, and I believe it will ultimately be the key to my success. If I can provide my customers with the absolute best care, instead of having one time run-in’s, a relationship will form and there will always be a chance of repeat business…  Especially in the BlueGrace World.

– Bryan Byak, Account Manager
Follow me @bryanbyak

Want to be someone?

History will typically show that successful companies continue to grow fast and remain special over time, eventually the success stories begin to be told on a daily basis. We’ve all heard these stories and they usually start with the discussion of the company then move into who made it big, who became someone, who helped make that company the success it is today. If you know much about Publix Supermarkets which resides just 50 miles away from us you will know thats it generated many millionaires and provided tremendous resources for it’s people to live great lives, recently it became a Fortune 100 company. The overwhelming majority of these mega success stories all begin with the individual starting as a bagger or a cashier and working their way up over the years, there are endless stories from other companies in virtually every market .

Many success stories include the employee remaining in that position for their career, they just wanted a great place to work and improve their lives but for others they wanted to do something different and they wanted be leaders. The common element in every case is that those individuals CARED THE MOST and WANTED IT THE MOST. It’s not typical that they just do “real good” at their job and wait to be pushed up the ladder, they bring ideas and desire and a tremendous work ethic, they also have the ability to be resilient to criticism and to be empathetic to all. In short, the believers and the doers end up with the great fortunes.

Bobby Harris, President and CEO
Follow me @BobbyBG_CEO