A positive environment will breed success.
By John Paglia, III
Happy New Year 2019 to the waste industry! The older you get, I feel like all of us are affected by Father Time even more. We all hear it—where did the previous year go? How do we slow time? Our industry especially seems to blur together and when we reflect on the past we surely can remember the high points. Highpoints can be periods of great success or, unfortunately, great lows. I would encourage that if you already have not, evaluate the year prior and set for yourself attainable goals, your company and your delegates. Make the previous year’s highs, even higher, and turn the low spots into learning examples to make them comeback stories for 2019.
To motivate our staff company-wide, I personally send out an e-mail every Monday morning titled “Motivational Monday”. In the e-mail I try to relate to current times, include a thought-provoking quote or metaphor, and challenge my staff directly and individually. I encourage private responses to myself or their supervisors if they are willing to accept a said challenge and write that down. I find those that take the time to write down a response generally do all they can to achieve the goal. I would much rather have everyone in the company aiming in the right direction, choosing a target and aiming at it specifically. I realize this is basic, but without great people, your company will never be better than average. We maintain and spend money all the time when equipment breaks down, why not maintain and boost the performance of the brains in your operations?
“Finish strong Friday” was born out of one of our supervisors accepting and believing in the power of Motivational Mondays leadership and the effects it had on our operation. We implemented Finish Strong Friday in 3rd quarter of 2018. Similar to “Motivational Monday”, this is a podium for a supervisor to have the responsibility to feel the temperature of the workforce from the week and send out a message that motivates or focuses them to ignore the upcoming weekend and perform their job safely all the way to when they clock out on Friday. The leadership has become contagious, as many sectors of our business (Recycling, Landfill, Sales, Office Staff) have taken their own spin on the weekly motivation. As a further example, our office staff, made up of mostly women, meet every Monday in the AM and share the duties of devotional leadership.
Look at Highs and Lows
If you have read this far, you are probably wondering why I would take the time to share something that seems so basic. Like all of us can relate, I am a firm believer in everything happens for a reason, and numbers never lie in our business. Going back to this principle is not an accident; we send these e-mails at the beginning and end of each week. As I started this article, I encouraged you to look at your highs and lows of previous performance history and make changes accordingly. One low I found and aspired to correct was issues reaching our 0-Accident, 0-Injury, 0-Incident Safety Policy, in which all of our employees participate. I noticed that 84 percent of all Accidents, Injuries, Incidents (Near Misses, Complaints, Bad Reviews) happened on a Monday or Friday.
A Positive Environment
Looking at this basic statistical data I was eager to make a change. I reviewed all the facts and realized all of the mishaps were avoidable with better leadership and an improved culture to the importance of safety. In addition to the thought-provoking Monday and Friday Leadership briefs, we targeted to improve our safety record and get back to 0-0-0. As humans, if we wander aimlessly throughout our day without a goal or target to aim at, we will miss every time. If we track our efforts and hold each other accountable, we will start to hit targets. If you reward individuals for hitting targets, you will further see their efforts increase. No longer should your workforce have the mentality of stumbling through a Monday. They also should not be rushing through a Friday for the weekend. Get them to perform like professionals no matter the day and ignore the outside temptations. It is not as easy as it sounds, but if you can change your culture, you can change your results. A positive environment will breed success, while a negative environment will fail to reach consistent long-term success. I look forward to continuing to hear from you and watching the industry transform in 2019. Let’s all have a great, safe year and do our part to get the waste industry out of the top five most dangerous occupations!
John Paglia, III is a 4th generation garbage man. Before he climbed the ranks to become Florida Express Environmental’s General Manager, he had a successful career in college and professional athletics. John has been around the garbage industry since his car seat days. Currently, John is focused on growing his company and offering the highest level of customer service and prolonging the world we live in today. John wakes up every day knowing the impact professional haulers have on their community is far greater than most realize. He can be reached at (352) 629-4349, e-mail John3@floridaexpress.us or visit www.floridaexpress.us.