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  • How to Cultivate Growth through Mentorship

    by Charlotte Freed | Nov 30, 2018

    Centerline is a Career CoachThe significance of mentorship shouldn’t be ignored when 75 percent of executives say that mentoring has been a crucial part of their career development. One of a number of surveys by the American Society for Training and Development show that organizations benefit from mentoring, with higher employee engagement and retention along with growth of high-potential employees. Mentoring aids growth in personal scenarios as well: 76 percent of at-risk young adults who have a mentor aspire to enroll and graduate in college, while only 50 percent of those without a mentor have these ambitions. Research and practice also suggest that specific attributes displayed by those in mentoring relationships include the ability to listen and to offer guidance, strengthened empathy and authenticity, and improved flexibility and openness. 

    So how can you implement a mentorship program across your business to drive success, strengthen your team, and develop your own skills?

    The American Society for Training and Development’s report highlights a number of recommendations, including:

    Test the program

    Instead of launching your entire workforce into a formal mentoring program immediately, try testing one among a select number of your team. You can use their feedback to determine the best steps moving forward or what to tweak with a larger group.

    Evaluate results

    While mentorship may seem like a difficult thing to gauge in effectiveness, it’s important to measure its success and evaluate what is and isn’t working. Determine what will be success points for you; checking in frequently allows you to make adjustments where necessary before the program ends.

    Offer guidelines and training

    Program participants should be trained well prior to taking on mentees: communication, listening, and feedback skills all play heavy roles in a mentorship role. If the participants have a clear idea of what is important and expected, they’ll be more likely to meet their goals.

    Find a mentoring program that works for your business needs and your target audience. Not all plans are created equal, so take the time to research what makes sense for you. To reiterate the importance of a mentorship program in your organization, polls show that mentors develop new perspectives, improve leadership skills, and increase insight into their organizations. Just as importantly, mentees reap the benefits of professional development, better understanding of organizational culture, and cultivating new perspectives: all-around wins for everyone.

    Written by Anna Mischke
  • How to use People Analytics in an Intuition-Driven Workplace

    by Charlotte Freed | Oct 26, 2018

    People Analytics help you find the right talentCan we apply Big Data to the human resource and management side of business? We have been, but it may not be a practice that entirely makes sense...yet. People analytics, a data-driven method of hiring and management, seems like the most logical approach: using information from past experience (aka employees) to choose workers who tend to prove more efficient and effective in their roles. In a 2013 Bloomberg Businessweek article, Ben Waber defines people analytics as this: “When we use data to uncover the workplace behaviors that make people effective, happy, creative, experts, leaders, followers, early adopters, and so on, we are using ‘people analytics.’” But some argue that ultimately, people analytics have already been flawed by the influence of human psychology.

    While historical data does set a benchmark for what has and hasn’t worked in the past, personal opinions and perceptions play a large part in ultimate hiring decisions. In short: executives have proven to rely on their gut instincts rather than data they may or may not understand. While executives tend to trust analytics in regards to finance, the idea of relying on data when hiring employees is less palatable.

    The problem does not lie in the actual collection or aggregation of data, but rather the lack of understanding in how to digest the data and apply it to processes. It turns out, the actual people in people analytics can prove to be the biggest roadblock. So how can management use the promise of people analytics in business without dismissing instinct?

    • Identify a problem you want to solve. Work with your data team to help understand what data should be looked at to address the issue. How can that data guide decision-making in the future?
    • Make a point to collect the data that applies specifically to solving the identified problem. Use accurate measurement tools and software to confirm standardized data collection. Software can help pinpoint patterns that need to be addressed.
    • Use said data to make better decisions. Read the story that the data is saying and take action. Whether the issue be efficiency, turnover, or recruitment process – you can determine what needs to change based on collected analytics. 
  • How to Keep Your Top Performers When You Can’t Offer a Raise

    by Charlotte Freed | Sep 28, 2018

    Giving your employees a quick thumbs up could help keep them aroundAs the driver shortage becomes more prevalent and hiring demands increase, it can be terrifying to think about losing your top performing people. While of course you want to retain your best people by offering pay raises and granting bonuses, sometimes a strict budget or tight resources won’t allow for it. How then, are you able to keep your best workers without speaking to them in cold, hard cash?

    It may be surprising, but a study shows that lack of appreciation from managers is the number one employee complaint from 63 percent of those surveyed. Considering engagement levels increase by 60 percent when managers recognize employees’ contribution, it’s in everyone’s best interest to focus attention on showing your appreciation for your team’s hard work.

    When struggling to determine how you can keep the people you want and need when the company isn’t flush with reserves, consider advice from those who have learned to show appreciation in other vital forms.

    Ask for Insights

    Asking your direct reports what is important to them is a reliable way to gain understanding of what will keep them on board with you. While monetary incentive is usually going to top the list, you’ll gain insights into other things you may be able to offer such as more flexibility, time off, or helping them to explore different skill-sets or roles. By learning what they want more of, you’ll be able to offer alternatives to a financial increase that still make them feel valued.

    Be Candid

    It may be uncomfortable not being able to give employees what they want, but being transparent about the situation makes a big positive difference. If a promotion or raise isn’t viable, address this head-on with your team’s high-achievers. A missed opportunity for a raise will not go unnoticed. If you allow for a conversation about it, employees are less likely to feel underappreciated or question their performance. Open conversation promotes trust and your employees will be much more comfortable knowing the bigger picture. 

    Be their Advocate

    If the opportunity for a minor raise is available, fight for your top performers to get it. Many times, even a small increase can satisfy an employee. If there isn’t an opportunity for a financial increase, find out how you can help them work toward their long-term career goals and what they need to make them happen. You may be able to provide professional support or assist in developing a growth plan which will ultimately serve them well in the long-term. When your employees know that you support them, they’re less likely to get too discouraged.

    There is definitely stock in financial incentives, but long-term encouragement and recognition builds a culture that makes people want to stay. Think of the ways you personally like to be acknowledged, listen to what your team wants, and show appreciation in ways that truly last.

  • 3 Data Points that Make an Impact

    by Charlotte Freed | Aug 31, 2018

    Team members using data to make decisionsThe difference between playing a guessing game and investing in successful action items comes down to data. Not just gathering data, but dissecting it and understanding how these numbers apply to each aspect of your business. If you find that your organization is constantly planning and strategizing but rarely seeing how it effects the bottom line, you’re doing something wrong.

    If you were to conduct an employee satisfaction survey, but ignore the responses, what would be the point in sending it in the first place? The same logic applies to data you pull from your teams’ efforts. Look at the numbers and build a plan around them. Technology provides you insights into how your tactics deliver. Use those analytics to improve companywide, and keep an eye on these important data points.


    “Where are our leads coming from?” If you can answer this, you’re paving the road to meeting sales goals. Monitor your customers to determine what marketing tactics capture the most interest and generate the most leads. Whether email, AdWords, events, or social media – you will be able to see what works best for your customers and where and how to reach them.

    Campaign Success

    Determine how each of your campaigns are performing. When you make comparisons of specific campaigns and actions, you’ll better understand exactly what interests your customers. If you send out an email newsletter, look at the data around how many people opened, clicked, and spent time on the content. If you run a paid promotion, keep track of the clicks or engagements and where the promotion lives. Over time, you’ll be able to gauge what types of behaviors are worthwhile in generating sales.

    Predictive Numbers

    Predictive analytics can be extremely useful for long term planning. This technology reviews your current numbers and predetermines what is likely to happen in your business according to historic data. Predictive analytics allow businesses to focus on the approaches that are most likely to result in returns, rather than wasting time on activities with low yield.

    Taking the time to learn about the specific analytics that apply to your business and how to access them can cause a major shift in operations efficiency and ROI. Develop your plans around data that provides a foundation for growth.

  • How to Set Your Team Up for Agility

    by Charlotte Freed | Jul 27, 2018

    Monthly Blog - JulyHow quick is your team to handle problems head on and effectively, as soon as they arise? Agile may have been borne from software development, but it’s become a way of working in many types of collaborative organizations wanting to master constantly changing industries. Agility is key in business, both when adapting to continuous flux and just as importantly, when there is an issue at hand.

    Speed isn’t always equivalent to agility, make sure you and your team are aligned. Rather than executing quick fixes that won’t last, solve problems at their core. The key to making a team truly Agile is to develop proper processes, then ensure they are understood and enacted. With training, a strong handle on potential problems, and the proper responses - your employees will learn how to deliver solutions that reflect your corporate goals. There are some basic steps in establishing an Agile workforce:

    Be Transparent

    For your frontline team to feel empowered, it’s important they understand how their decisions influence the overall organization and impact overall goals. Start by laying the foundation of your mission and vision statements. If they feel their decision is aligned with these statements, they can be more assured that their solution fits the company’s objectives.

    Be Supportive

    You’re not always going to agree with how your team handles problems, but it’s important to back their methods if it solved the problem. If the actions they took were to help the customer, let them know you support their judgement.

    Be Insightful

    Being supportive does not mean you can’t give advice or make suggestions on how you would have resolved an issue. Begin with affirmation, saying something like “Thanks so much for working that problem out so quickly!” and follow with constructive advice: “If something like this happen again, you might consider…”

    Be Proactive

    When problem-solving, combine experimenting tried and true methods with new approaches. Incorporate the feedback you receive both internally and from your customers, then focus on validating each of these solutions with direct experience.
  • Being Authentic In a Filtered World

    by Charlotte Freed | Jun 29, 2018

    shutterstock_734213767_300x240The majority of the next two largest generations of consumers say that an authentic experience, personalized product, and custom service are determining factors in their purchasing decisions. But when conducting business in a world where CGI models influence millions, chatbots serve as the new customer service, and filters effect our political landscape– how do you prove your brand as authentic?

    In a study conducted by Cohn & Wolfe, 14,000 consumers across 14 international markets voted to name 100 of the most authentic brands. Tech titans dominate the list with Amazon, Apple, and Microsoft landing the top three spots. While consumer trust can take years to build, refer to some of the practices that tech companies exercise to maximize authenticity.

    1. Get Personal

    By human nature, we care a lot about ourselves. It’s important to us when others remember us: names, details, likes and dislikes. When we extend that personal touch in the business realm, the customer feels valued. If your product, content, or skills feels personalized for an individual, 78 percent say they would be more likely to buy something.

    2. Be Transparent

    Robots are commonly involved in business, so not only is it okay- but important- to divulge when a robot is part of the customer experience. Sometimes differentiating between AI and a human being can be difficult – so if you implement robotic communication in your business plan, let the person interacting with it know it isn’t a real person. Eventually AI technology will be as commonplace as human workers, but it’s key to respect the trust of your customers while that change happens.

    3. Have Visibility

    CEOs with high visibility across social platforms and online strongly contribute to corporate reputation. 92 percent of leading US public CEOs and 76 percent of private companies take the time to deepen their narratives and communicate online. Research shows that while many CEOs are valued for their online presence, they are neither posting often nor engaging on a prolific level. Thirty eight percent of both public and private company CEOs have posted online in the last year while 22% of public CEOs and 34% of private CEOs have actively interacted with others online. Post thoughtfully, listen to your customers, and stay abreast on your online and social presence: people are watching.

    4. Impress Quickly

    You have three seconds to capture your customer’s attention, which roughly translates to 12 words worth of reading. Interactions make as much, if not more, of a first impression. Those initial moments can stick in a memory for months. Whether sending a marketing email or interacting face-to-face, you have mere seconds to offer a positive experience. Learn what is most important to your target audience: will they appreciate a human on the other end of the line or is efficiency king? Making these determinations will help guide your entire business strategy.

    5. Apologize, well

    All brands make mistakes. What differentiates some from others is how they respond to those blunders. Remember, all apologies are not the same. Addressing the issue with integrity and apologizing swiftly goes a long way, but coming from a sincere place makes all the difference. Following up with how you plan on fixing the mistake is also key in influencing brand perception after the fact. Listen to feedback from the public to craft your apology; remember you are responding to actual people. How they feel directly impacts your bottom line.
  • When Your Entire Team Sells

    by Anna Mischke | Jun 01, 2018

    shutterstock_574544962If you ask who in your organization is in Sales, it’s likely that only your dedicated sales team would confidently raise their hands. However, every single person in your company regardless of their role contributes to your bottom line. While they may not all be dialing potential customers or presenting your services door to door, everyone should understand that their actions and decisions ultimately affect the company’s revenue, profits, and growth.

    Consider your receptionist. When a potential customer calls, will they be confident in your brand if the phone is answered unprofessionally? Or think of the interactions clients have with your customer service representatives. Do they feel valued when receiving assistance or do they sense impatience or annoyance? How will that experience affect their decision of where to place their business next?

    Creating a sales culture where everyone feels that their input and efforts are valuable, even if they may not directly affect finances, will ultimately help the goals of your company overall and generate a stronger sense of belonging within your organization.

    Connect your teams

    Rather than forming siloes around each department, build a sense of collaboration. By encouraging everyone to see their role as an interwoven aspect of overall success, they will be more likely to appreciate different positions and varying skillsets. When the team experiences a business loss, everyone should be working together toward a solution. When achieving a win, everyone should be celebrated for their part in the accomplishment.

    Think outside the role

    Sales opportunities come in all ways, shapes, and forms. Working with people with diverse talents and viewpoints may present fresh approaches when it comes to selling. Why not work with all of your employees to discover new methods to retaining clients, giving a proposal, or marketing your company?

    Share the loudspeaker

    When someone feels empowered to sell the company, the likelihood of them becoming an ambassador of your brand skyrockets. “Sales” doesn’t need to be in someone’s title for them to share the abilities of your product or service; people listen to others who are passionate about their work. By affirming each of your staff that their role is vital and directly influences overall success, you give them the opportunity to be proud of their role and of their importance.

  • When Discomfort Prods Innovation

    by Anna Mischke | May 04, 2018

    Monthly Blog_050418Most people are inclined to stay within their comfort zones: in business and at work, socially, even physically. We’ve learned to focus our attention where our strengths lie and tend to stay in this space, confident that we are meeting the requirements set out for us. While this mindset is understood and accepted in many environments, it is essential to realize that some of the greatest moments of innovation and learning happen when outside of that comfort zone, during a state of unease when pushing our limits.

    This apprehensive aspect of growth may touch on experiences from the past: walking into an unfamiliar classroom full of unknown peers, getting behind the wheel alone for the first time, or starting a new position in a role you haven’t yet mastered. From those moments, lifelong lessons are acquired: from important social behaviors to vital safety behaviors to being open to adaptation and learning quickly. When we explore outside our normal daily parameters, it’s typical to feel nervous, wary, or scared. The possibilities of failure are many and old habits have proven to work well enough thus far. But what might happen if we move into a space less comfortable than our norm and face questionable areas head on?

    Numerous coaches, therapists, and authors champion the importance of discomfort when looking for an innovative mindset.  Uncomfortable scenarios look different for everyone: some may find sharing ideas publically a challenge when others have difficulty properly engaging and listening. Short deadlines can be a motivating push for one individual and an anxiety-ridden timeline for another. Certain personalities like to work as a team and others prefer to function independently. Rather than retreating from a situation that doesn’t feel easy to tackle, focus on why you want to challenge yourself. Gauge where your comfort zone ends and when you begin to feel a stretch.

    Once you know where your discomfort begins, you can work toward finding an area where you can improve. Rather than completely disengaging from your current routine, make small steps in getting comfortable with new situations that can cause unease. As you become more confident and experience successes within this new scope of opportunity, you may find yourself more receptive to change and even begin to seek out challenges that stir creativity and innovation. New skills always feel awkward at first – but trying things differently allows us to perceive things in fresh light and lends the opportunity to approach challenges with unexpected solutions. 

  • Centerline a Perennial Sponsor of National Private Truck Council Expo

    by Anna Mischke | Apr 27, 2018


    Centerline Drivers returns as a Platinum Sponsor for the annual National Private Truck Council (NPTC) Annual Education Management Conference and Exhibition held in Cincinnati, Ohio. From April 29th through May 1st, over 180 exhibitors and 1,200 attendees will join to share industry insights and explore products and services from leaders in the industry.

    Centerline welcomes guests at Booth 110 to explore their five distinct premium driver staffing solutions: Driver Management Service™, Mobile Drivers, Flexible Drivers, Delivery Drivers, and Permanent Search and Placement. Centerline has connected over 50,000 drivers with Fortune 1000 and mid-sized companies since its founding in 1975. Professional drivers rely on us as their coach to find satisfying jobs where they can excel. Each driver we employ knows they will work with a team that is professional, courteous, resourceful and respectful. 

    Centerline is pleased to share that John Trahan, Director of Business Development, DMS, will be awarded the prestigious NPTC Professional Leadership Award.

  • The 6 Behaviors of Inspiring Leaders

    by Anna Mischke | Mar 02, 2018
    Monthly Blog 030518

    In a 360-degree leadership case study from over 87,000 leaders from around the globe, Zenger Folkman, a strengths-based leadership development group, found the top three leadership traits that matter were the ability to focus on customer needs, the ability to collaborate with colleagues, and the ability to inspire. However, it was discovered that inspiring and motivating others is the most difficult competency for leaders to grasp. In studies for over a dozen years, this skill continues to place last in overall leadership effectiveness. Considering that the ability to motivate and encourage is perceived as the strongest influence on the engagement level of direct reports and the behavior that most appreciate in a leader, it is striking that this is where leaders are least effective.

    According to the report, there are two main factors that make inspiring others a difficult competency to embody. Individuals find different techniques effective depending on their personal nature and leaders find what type of behavior to exhibit to inspire difficult to grasp. Of the top 1,000 leaders in the assessment who ranked highest on the competency of inspiring and motivating others, it was found that they shared six common approaches. Some are specific and tangible using highly engaged, extraverted behavior and others leaned more towards emotional connections and close, effective communication. Regardless of the type of approach, the research was palpable: the more of these behaviors a leader demonstrated, the more the leader is seen as inspiring.

    Visionary: Provides a clear, concrete vision of the future. They are strategic and innovative and make future goals appear achievable to the team through effective communication. 

    Enhancing: Creates strong individual relationships along with team relationships by focusing on others and treating them with respect. These leaders show great interest in the ideas and opinions of others’ and connecting on an emotional level.

    Driver: Focuses on achieving company goals: meeting deadlines, fulfilling commitments, and reaching objectives are necessary, not optional.

    Principled: Model integrity and take action that follows rules and procedures, never asking others to compromise their ethics.

    Enthusiast: Display passion and energy surrounding their work and the organization, generating enthusiasm and energy among the organization.

    Expert: Offer expert, important information and use strong technical direction to solve problems.

    Evidence shows that when 310 leaders focused on improving their ability to inspire and motivate by actively refining any one of these leadership approaches, they moved from the 42nd percentile to the 70th percentile. By employing motivating tactics that suited their various personality types, creating a strong development plan, providing and receiving strong feedback, and building awareness- leaders were able to make substantial improvements in their ability to inspire and motivate their teams.
  • Innovators’ Five Obsessions

    by Anna Mischke | Feb 02, 2018

    Monthly Blog 020218For Josh Linkner, “creativity and innovation are the lifeblood of all human progress.” An entrepreneur, author, and keynote speaker, Linkner has founded five tech companies and built his businesses from scratch into a combined value of over $200 million. All this while helping raise $150 million of venture capital for over 100 other companies and playing professional jazz guitar. In Linkner’s keynotes on innovation, creativity, hyper-growth leadership, and reinvention, he aims to help people and organizations hone in on their hardwired creativity to find their ultimate success. In several essential addresses, Linkner shares the top five focuses of innovators who are making a difference in driving growth and setting their businesses apart.

    Rediscover Your Curiosity

    “The more curious you are, the more creative you’ll become.” Ask questions before making decisions, particularly the difficult ones: try the simple “why?”, “what if?”, and “why not?” You may be surprised at the new approaches that you discover by being inquisitive.

    Embrace Change

    While companies may find great success, it’s not necessarily static. Many companies who rest in their complacency find their downfall in their failure to keep striving for what’s next. Businesses must “lean into change, embracing new approaches rather than clinging to old ones.” Innovators have a desire to constantly explore the newest trends, tech, concepts, and products; letting go of old ways can make all the difference.

    Challenge Tradition

    “Blindly doing things in a traditional way has been the downfall of far too many companies and careers.” Observe the traditions your company follows and see how you can transform the norm. Question what the contrary action would achieve and assess the potential outcome. While changing for the sake of it isn’t ideal, understanding whether your traditions are outdated or relevant is key. “This is the point where breakthroughs occur.” 

    Find Your Grit

    Getting into the weeds can make all the difference. Our ability to innovate comes from within, not from outside resources like money, headcount, or raw materials. Resilience and tenacity make for valuable qualities when finding the best way to do things, creatively; “instead of blindly throwing money at a problem, try throwing your imagination at it instead.” 

    Experiment, Learn, Adapt
    True innovation takes time: “only through a series of setbacks and mistakes, failures and pivots, tweaks and micro-innovations, does an idea gain any real merit.” You’re unlikely to find a concept that makes the biggest, strongest impression right out of the gate. Working creatively in small, fast bursts as a daily habit can produce the most bracing impact.

  • Industry-Wide Change in 2018

    by Anna Mischke | Jan 05, 2018

    With the New Year comes new challenges and while trucking faced a difficult time in 2017, 2018 will present unique trials. 2017 was a year boasting the creation of close to 2 million new jobs, stock markets reaching an all-time record high, and unemployment hitting a 17-year low. However, even with the strength of the nation’s tech, e-commerce and professional services- the driver shortage proved to be a hurdle difficult to overcome.

    The U.S. economy continues to heat up and with that comes better-paying jobs that don’t require work away from home for long periods of time or specific licensing such as a CDL. It is more important than ever to adapt to the current market and take action to proactively search for, recruit, and retain strong drivers.

    Andrew Chamberlain, chief economist for Glassdoor, explains that trucking isn’t the only industry going head-to-head with these challenges: a larger sect of industries will experience difficulties in 2018. Chamberlain’s recent forecast What’s Ahead for Jobs? Five Disruptions to Watch in 2018 touches on artificial intelligence (AI) and mobile technology and its influence on job seekers.

    What are five movements to expect in the coming year?

    Automation and AI are changing the Worker’s Landscape

    As technology’s impact greatens, automation and AI will effect every single industry in some facet. Whether viewed as positive or negative, AI tools may complement workers in HR and finance. In the trucking industry this movement means we will see the driver role evolve as old burdening tasks are eliminated and open up opportunity for drivers to provide other value-added service.

    Transparency is Key

    Transparency in the workplace has increased, but job seekers are asking for more insight into the mobile application process and status of their application in real time.

    Mobile Job Apps Need an Overhaul

    Applying for jobs from your mobile phone should be a user-friendly experience- something that isn’t necessarily available now.

    Labor-Intensive Roles, Health Care, and Tech Growth

    An aging population and advances in tech will increase the industry’s labor-intensive positions such as restaurant waiters and truck drivers: jobs that cannot easily be automated. Technology will also begin to touch trades not previously so tech-centric.

    Employee Role Experimentation to Support Goals

    Businesses are creating ways for employees to experiment with their roles to find positions that stoke their strengths, skills, and passions. By allowing staff members to work in different areas, companies may be able to better match talent with the roles they support best. By doing this, companies are able to retain their teams much better by generating internal lateral job moves.

    For the full report, download here on Glassdoor.

  • Our Duty

    by Anna Mischke | Dec 08, 2017

    Monthly Blog 120817As we enter the final month of the year, safety is at the forefront of our minds. With the holidays in full swing and balancing work and life is a frenzy, doing all we can to ensure our employees’ safety is paramount.

    Big shifts happen this month with the implementation of the ELD mandate. No matter your stance on the issue, things are moving ahead and it is our duty to safeguard our drivers and prepare them for this new season of regulation. Compliance has increased among small fleets to 75% according to a CarrierList survey released last week. While many small fleets have delayed compliance, we are all realizing that the time is now and being progressive about change is imperative.

    Let’s do our valued drivers a favor and equip them with the tools for success on the road. Providing them with FMCSA compliant ELDs is only a step. How can we further our driver’s knowledge and commitment to safety on the road? How can we promote education and protect well-being? We can be the frontrunners in demonstrating safety and leading by example. We can show that we take our drivers’ protection seriously by promoting safety – particularly during the inclement winter months. Equipping our drivers with the understanding of how they can improve safety measures and protect themselves and those around them only adds value to everyone in the picture.

    It is our responsibility to do all we can to give assurance to our drivers and their families that they’ll be home, safe and sound, and I hope that you’ll join me in not only caring for the success of our business, but the welfare of those who literally drive it.  

  • Emotional Intelligence – the Other Factor of Success

    by Anna Mischke | Nov 06, 2017

    Monthly Blog 110617In the workplace, there are two types of people: those who crumble under pressure, and those who tackle the challenge and succeed. The main difference between these people is not just their background, education or experience. While all of these factors play a role in defining success, emotional intelligence may be the most important factor of all.

    What is emotional intelligence?

    Emotional intelligence allows us to perceive and manage our emotions. More importantly, it allows us act on these emotions. These skills are a key indicator as to how we will react to stress, confrontation, success, and failure. As all of these situations are inevitable in the workplace, it’s no wonder why professional success is closely linked to high emotional intelligence.

    Improving Emotional Intelligence to Improve Success

    Unlike IQ or personality, emotional intelligence is flexible, and can be developed over time. Learning to manage emotions in the workplace can drastically increase performance. In fact, a TalentSmart study shows that 90% of top performers are skilled at managing their emotions – especially when under pressure. When work gets to be too much, it’s important to handle stress in a positive way, before it becomes detrimental. Coping mechanisms typically fall into two buckets: emotional and physical.

    • Emotional: These coping mechanisms typically involve staying positive and avoiding the “what ifs.” By focusing on the positives, roadblocks become smaller and easier to manage.
    • Physical: These coping mechanisms typically involve improving self-care through increased hours of sleep and disconnecting from the stressor. It’s important to remember that taking a step back does not mean stepping back completely – it’s just another way to refocus energy.

    Everyone handles stress differently. Understanding which method works best for you is the key to improving emotional intelligence, and professional performance.

  • Learning Personalities to Improve Holistically

    by Anna Mischke | Oct 20, 2017

    CL Monthly Blog 101317While there are those who may be resistant to the ever-evolving world of technology, many new innovations can improve the workplace, business, and the experience of your staff. There are countless tools which can help aid retention rates and boost company influence and desirability through employee satisfaction, clear understanding from the executive and leadership teams, and stronger communication from all sides.

    Socrates knew the importance of self-knowledge, teaching that “the unexamined life is not worth living.” While drastic, the understanding that people should “know thyself” holds extreme value. Personality tests may seem trivial, but research shows that some are very worthwhile: they can help balance a team and support individual workers in considering how to best interact with each other. Getting to know how your frontline people and drivers operate allows you to gauge how to best partner them in day-to-day duties, engage in a meaningful way, and communicate successfully for all parties. 

    An online search for “truck driver personality tests” displays results of aptitude tests profiling whether a career in truck driving suits their disposition, to assessments describing a person’s driving style. While these may prove to be helpful, there are general personality tests that have been proven to lend strong insights such as the popular DISC Profile, Myers Briggs Type Indicator, Big Five, Social Styles, Wilson Learning, and The Birkman First Look Assessment Test.

    With the resources available to better assess each of your team members, it is highly worthwhile to utilize these tools to get everyone working together, stronger. 

  • How to Increase Employee Engagement

    by Anna Mischke | Sep 21, 2017

    Monthly Blog 092117A company with engaged employees reaps numerous benefits: such as reduced employee turnover, increase productivity, improved customer retention, and an increase in profits. All vital elements to a successful business. So it is particularly unsatisfactory to find that only 33 percent of employees in the United States are engaged with a whopping 17 percent actively disengaged, according to Gallup. What exactly does engagement mean when it comes to your staff? An engaged employee is truly committed to the company’s vision, mission, and goals and willing to put forth their best to care for customers, clients, and associates.

    How do you ensure that you are promoting engagement within the workplace? Of course there are programs, consultants, and product-driven methods to increase employee engagement- but there are plenty of things you can authentically and organically do as an employer to encourage your workforce to think and act as a team.


    Go directly to the source: ask your employees what would help them feel more engaged. Start from day one: when bringing an employee on board, show your own enthusiasm for the company. Help your associate get right to work by providing them with the proper tools they need: someone to turn to when they have questions, and resources to help them succeed. For more seasoned employees, conduct a ‘Stay Interview’. They don’t have to be time consuming, you can learn what you need with 5 simple questions:

    • What do you look forward to in your work?
    • What are you learning?
    • Why do you stay with us?
    • When did you last think of leaving?
    • What can we do to make your job better?

    Consider the answers you receive to help determine what you can do to improve the work environment ultimately boosting employee happiness, production, and profit. Each valued employee may have a different engagement plan, focus on what may be done for each staff member to hone in on their particular skills and strengths.

    Walk the Walk

    The people who work with and for you will turn to you as an example of leadership. When you demonstrate behaviors that you expect to see, it is more likely that others will follow suit. 55 percent of workers are more engaged, and 53 percent are more focused and likely to stay at companies where leaders exhibit the desired behaviors themselves.

    Show appreciation

    Two little words can go a long way. “Thank you” seems like such an ordinary thing to say, but is often times overlooked. Show your gratitude by publicly thanking your associates when they do a great job; it builds relationships, energizes the workplace, and increases engagement. A public opportunity to uplift someone for their hard work encourages all employees and imparts a sense of camaraderie.


    Be Clear

    Communicate why an employee’s role is vital in meeting your goals as a company. Understanding the importance of their job is a major factor in employee engagement. When someone feels that their role in the overall picture (of the company, economy, and life in general) is important- they are much more likely to put forth true effort and care towards their duties.

    Stay Open

    Employees are much more likely to share ideas and recommendations in a workplace where they feel comfortable and respected. Create a space for open dialogue by continuing to ask questions about their experience and how you can help and just as importantly, accept their feedback as constructive criticism and truly consider their insight.


    When employees find joy in their work and among their coworkers, engagement comes easily. Whether participating in a friendly contest, rubbing elbows at a fun work function, or volunteering together to make a positive difference. People are naturally more inclined to engage during the day-to-day after positive experiences with their team.

    There is no universal solution to improve employee engagement. In the particularly tough transportation industry keeping strong employees is paramount. You can aim to improve productivity, increase customer satisfaction, and escalate profit by sharpening your own daily habits as a leader, consistently reach out to work on improving the workplace, and strengthening relationships within the company. 

  • The ATA Forecasts Continued Growth for Trucking

    by Anna Mischke | Aug 21, 2017

    CL Blog_August InfographICThe American Trucking Associations (ATA) has released their newest edition of the ATA American Trucking Trends, a yearly collection of trucking industry data. ATA President and CEO, Chris Spear said, “The information in Trends highlights exactly what I tell elected officials, regulators and key decision-makers every day: trucking is literally the driving force behind our great economy.”

    Trends finds that trucking industry revenues in 2016 amounted to $676.2 billion and Spear iterated that “safe, reliable and efficient motor carriers enable businesses throughout the supply chain to maintain lean inventories, thereby saving the economy billions of dollars each year.”

    The ATA projects sustained growth for the trucking industry in their U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast, and that 15.18 billion tons of freight will be moved by all modes this year. It is expected that by 2028 that number will rise to 20.73 billion tons. Spear explained, “As we look ahead at the rest of the 21st Century, the projections found in U.S. Freight Transportation Forecast are invaluable to decision makers in the board room and the hearing room alike” and “having good accurate, data is critical to making sure businesses are making appropriate investments in their companies and that our government is making the proper investments in our nation’s infrastructure.”

  • The Era of Social Media Recruiting

    by Anna Mischke | Jul 26, 2017

    shutterstock_570069328cropped-tmb-mediumWhile the world spends time trying to understand Millennials, the trucking industry continues to struggle to find drivers in a thinning workforce. As many seasoned drivers retire, transportation companies are turning to a younger, more tech-oriented generation and tweaking their recruitment strategies to attract new hires.

    This year HireRight, an employee background check firm, reported that trucking companies are leaning towards new tactics that appeal to an audience very different from their previous employees. Trucking companies are implementing benefits that speak to Millennials’ desire for freedom and flexibility in the workplace alongside the need for stability. With online connectivity proving to be of highest importance, rollout of social networking has increased by 13 percent with 60 percent of trucking companies participating in social media campaigns to increase candidate engagement. Although referrals remain the strongest recruiting strategy within the industry traditional job boards and trade publications are beginning to take a back seat.

    According to Randall Reilly, Facebook is currently the most responsive social media platform in the trucking industry, with 60% of drivers having an account. In addition to Facebook, some companies are exploring other image-focused networks like Instagram and Snapchat to engage with potential hires. And overall there is a push for mobile-friendly applications and screening processes to offer a more seamless hiring experience.

    What does all this mean? The trucking industry has a new potential workforce with a new personality. From social media centric behaviors to wellness in the workplace, recruiting tactics are set to change. Learning to tap into the needs and wants of the largest pool of potential candidates is paramount: utilizing our social accounts can be the first step towards that.

  • How to Evoke Foresight for the Future State of Your Company

    by User Not Found | Jun 19, 2017

    shutterstock_284040746When making business decisions one must always consider the future impact. If you focus only on the immediate state you’ll ultimately create a reactive culture that will force you to spend your days putting out fires. When faced with a problem take the opportunity to develop a solution that will improve your operations; make them run faster, more precise, more profitable. This mindset cannot be achieved alone. To successfully build an innovative mindset for your company you must shape the culture. George E.L. Barbee, one of the original Batten fellows at the University of Virginia Darden Graduate School of Business and former PwC partner, elaborates on two steps to help you do exactly that.

    1. Build your “foresight network.”
    Look for individuals on your team who think creatively as well as long-term. Start out with a small group and center discussions around where the company could go. When you feel it’s time to expand this circle, have the team invite one to two others they feel could contribute to the conversation. As your group grows you will have slowly made your foresight network. A network of people who can brainstorm and talk powerfully about the future state of the company.

    2. Improve your imagining practice.
    In meetings use the phrase “Imagine if…” to help move the conversation from internal, immediate concerns to a long-term, customer mindset. When you can start to focus on the customer and outward implications, your internal environment will shift to support the initiative.

    Barbee provides further explanation and examples of each step in his article, “Two Simple Concepts for Thinking about the Future.”

  • The Best Way to Be Safe: Lead By Example

    by Anna Mischke | May 17, 2017

    leadApril is Distracted Driving Awareness Month. A reminder that when it comes to safety, you should always address negative habits otherwise the consequences could be fatal. Deborah Lockridge, Editor-in-chief of, recently published an article titled, When Safety Comes From the Top. The article resonated with us here at Centerline because we continuously strive to create a culture of safety that reaches our entire organization. This includes our president, recruiters, drivers and everyone in between.

    New technology emerges each week promising to be the next leap in safety and productivity innovation. While technology is constantly reviewed, purchased and upgraded, a safety first attitude is not something you can buy, it is something that must be taught.

    As a large player in the transportation industry, it is our responsibility to do our due diligence to protect the motoring public, a responsibility we take very seriously. No matter what the new tech tool is or does, the decision for safety will always fall to each individual. This means if something doesn’t pass a safety check or a driver is just slightly out of compliance, there is a hard line and decision to not deploy until everything is in order. The lives of our drivers and everyone out on the road are too important to us. When this philosophy starts at the top of an organization, your employees will know they are backed by their leaders to always choose safety first no matter the cost.