I recently read Live Fast, Die Young – The wild ride of making REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, by Lawrence Frascella and Al Weisel. The book tells the tales of Director Nick Ray, young actress Natalie Wood, newcomer Sal Mineo and real life rebel James Dean. The insight into the original juvenile delinquent was astounding and any fans of Rebel could see just how much James Dean’s real life experiences play a part in the role he played as confused, misunderstood and angry rebel, Jim Stark. Other than being a misguided youth, James Dean was best known for his reckless and hurried lifestyle that ultimately ended with his untimely and tragic death. Dean died in a car crash while driving his brand new Porsche. Despite his death being a shock that had a ripple effect through Hollywood and his fans across America, the cause of his death was not a surprise to anyone.
Dean had a reputation for living fast and living dangerously. He often rode his 1955 Triumph motorcycle throughout Hollywood. He missed the first three days of production of Rebel because he was racing his Porsche Speedster in the desert. He was routinely stopped for speeding in his Porsche on the set of Rebel. Dean certainly had a reputation for living fast. In fact, he went to great lengths to cultivate this reputation. The ironic thing surrounding Dean’s death was that while he indeed died in a terrible car crash, the police report said that Dean was not speeding and was not at fault in the accident. It was a young, local student who couldn’t negotiate a turn who ended up in the wrong lane. But Dean’s iconic reputation and legend lead people to believe that he indirectly killed himself.
Your reputation is important. The things that you do on a daily basis, regardless of how small, forever change the way in which you, your actions, and even your associates are perceived. Working in transportation, the reputation of our freight carriers is our reputation. The reputation of an individual franchise can effect an entire corporation. If you want to be perceived as the experts in expedited shipping, than every member of your organization from the Receptionist to the President, must be an expert in expedited shipping. To be known to have a state-of-the-art Transportation Management System (TMS) than you must employ people who can in fact make your TMS state-of-the-art.
We are all adults. We all understand that the logistics industry is not perfect. LTL shipments do in fact arrive late. Pick-ups are missed. Products get damaged. To make a reputation for yourself as the proven leader in transportation management, it is not about whether or not these mishaps will or will not occur. They will. To be the best, you must prove to be a leader in transportation management by minimizing the amount of mistakes that occur by focusing on the human error and process improvements. Be proactive. To be perceived as the best-in-class, focus on how you handle these issues as they arise. Cultivate your reputation, your legacy, by understanding what’s important to the people you serve. Perception is reality.