Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Trust Your Trainer


I was at a horse show Sunday watching my daughter practice her skills at cutting a cow.  Her job is to go into a herd, separate a cow from the group, and then keep it from getting past her and back to the herd.  This is a new sport for me to understand, so I can’t describe it in detail.  All I know is that it is amazing to watch a horse ‘work the cow.’  It’s almost like the horse is dancing as it mirrors the movements of the cow.  


As we waited for Ella’s turn, I watched other riders prepare for their moment in the pen.  Some people had trainers helping them, and others were out there trying to do it on their own.  I believe in trainers.  My kids have all had their turn at showing their horses, in different equine disciplines.  They have managed a few rounds without help, but rarely did that situation work out for the best.


Ella trains on her horse about four days a week.  Her trainer uses this practice to prepare Ella for her show days.  The two of them have a shared ‘end goal’ for Ella’s training on her horse Rowdy, and all the schooling that goes into those practice days is focused on improving and perfecting skills that will be tested on show days.  


As I watched the two of them work together getting Ella’s horse warmed up and her mind on her work, it struck me that there were many similarities between what a trainer does with her students and what I do with our carriers.  


First of all, the best trainer is the expert trainer.  After all, why pay someone who cannot train a rider properly to do the things they need to do to win?  What is interesting, the most qualified experts are always the ones who don’t ask you to assume they are the best.  Instead, they work hard to show you that they know what they are doing and that they can give you the most beneficial help.  That is exactly what a broker should be doing for the carriers.  Understanding what the carrier needs, knowing how to meet that need, and having the right attitude to be as helpful as possible are the things that put a broker above all the others.


A good broker takes the time to know what business goals are the most important for their carriers.  It may be keeping their teams moving, or one of their singles on uncomplicated loads, or having their trucks in position for a customer’s load on the other end of the run.  


The expert broker knows how to manage the details that lead to a successful delivery.  Watching Ella’s trainer on Sunday, I saw her manage time (when to warm up, when to put chaps on, when to be ready at the gate) and she managed the details of the warm up.  No detail escaped her attention.  


A qualified trainer not only is valuable for what she knows, but also how she uses that knowledge, in addition to arranging all the details of the show day.  Just like a great broker, handle the details, use her knowledge to best handle her carrier’s business.


Sometimes Ella focuses on non-issues that have the potential to ruin her ride.  For instance, about 60 seconds into her ride, her chaps started falling down around her knees.  Very funny...in fact I was laughing so hard I had to stop recording the video.  Ella was, well...having a cow!  She couldn’t think straight, so HER cow got the best of her.  As this started happening, her trainer saw it and knew it would distract Ella. I could hear her telling Ella to ignore the problem, keep riding.  It wasn’t a perfect ride, but the trainer’s being present, calmly offering advice, reassured Ella and helped her finish her round.


See, an expert not only manages the details, but also helps see potential distractions and knows how and when to offer advice.  Getting a load picked up and delivered always has things pop up that can create unnecessary side issues.  An expert broker can help a carrier and its drivers navigate through these times.  


Last, the best trainers realize that they have skin in the game.  A trainer’s fee helps them pay for their expenses, but the one of the greater benefits is the opportunity to showcase their abilities as a trainer.  People start to notice the horses and riders that win consistently.  Before long, a trainer’s expertise is in demand.  


A good broker who understands that loading a truck and making a good delivery is not just about financial gain.  She also recognizes that she has skin in the game. Long term growth and solid relationships take time, diligence and lots of effort.  A strong positive reputation is its own reward, and there are no short cuts on the path to achieving status as being the best in the business.


I wish you the best in finding an expert broker who you can trust.  And of course if you don’t have one, call us...and experience the Pam Young Difference!