By Laura Jozwiak
Ch-ch-changes! If you are around my age, you will instantly hear David Bowie’s voice sing out this phrase inside your head. He was right in 1971, and the message still resonates today. The lyrics say, “Turn and face the strange changes.” Our new world is based on change. Some changes may be strange and challenging, like supply chain volatility, rising costs, immerging technologies, disruptive innovations, hybrid work, and the “Great Resignation.” These topics, and many more, cause uncertainty and impact the world around us. As a result, our nights are less restful, and our days are challenging as we work through what these changes mean and how we need to incorporate the trends and even pivot our plans.
But is it really a new world? Or is it just a faster-paced world? Change has always occurred and thank goodness it has! I recently referenced the famous quote by Henry Ford, “If I had asked people what they wanted they would have said faster horses.” Ford didn’t just solve the problem; he redefined the problem and innovated a better solution. One that has forever changed our lives with the development of the Model T, and he revolutionized the automotive industry. That change took time, but it also took courage and support from many people and industries to drive that change.
Many people believe that it isn’t the change that is new to us, but the speed at which this change is occurring. I would bet that we would all agree with that sentiment. Don’t expect “rest” periods any longer. The “quieter weeks” are long gone when “things slow down a bit.” We see tremendous advancements in the fleet management industry. Let’s be the driver of this change and help it move even faster. We need to move fast to achieve our sustainability missions, integrate our mobility solutions, and transform our companies during an amazing time of positive disruptions. Don’t think of the changes as scary, but rather think of them as creating a thrilling time to be part of our industry. It is time to lean in and adapt to this new pace and be part of the new world.
As an industry, we should encourage each other and seek out the skills and ideas that are absolutely required to be part of our future. Be flexible. Be curious. Have the courage to change. And seek out diversity in new thoughts and ideas. We won’t solve tomorrow’s problems using yesterday’s overused template. Our teams, customers, and companies expect us to think in new ways and come to the table with fresh ideas. And when you develop these new ideas, please share! Let others learn and keep improving those ideas and leverage the group thinking we appreciate about this industry.
The beautiful concept of change is that you don’t have to do it alone. In fact, I would suggest that you can’t do it alone. You risk not truly understanding the issue or uncovering better solutions if you stay within your own thoughts or your closed network. Seek people outside of your usual “go-to” confidants. If you look at your network and realize you haven’t added anyone new, you risk missing out on great ideas or solutions to address the right problem. Think back to the faster horse concept. Go outside of your comfort zone and talk with people you agree with and also disagree with. Talk with people who have been in the industry for years, and those that who just joined it.
I started with a song lyric, so I will end with a song lyric. Diana Ross invited us to “Reach out and touch somebody’s hand, make this world a better place if you can.” I am reaching out my hand to you and encouraging you to do the same to others. Leaning into change together is the better way to go.
About the Author
Laura Jozwiak is the Senior Vice President of Sales and Client Relations at Wheels-Donlen. She oversees the company’s Sales, Account Management, Client Services, Client Relations and Client Analytics teams, which provide strategic guidance and analytic resources to assist Wheels’ clients in making informed decisions that improve the performance of their fleets.