When You Want Results—What Kind of Driver are You?

Driving for Results without Terrifying Your Passengers

Every day at work, you attempt to go from Point A to Point B. And you need others to go along with you.

What kind of driver are you?

8:30 am. My wife and I park our car, carry our bikes onto a "bike bus," and hang them from ceiling hooks. The bus goes to the Martha's Vineyard ferry—leaving at 9:30.

The bus driver looks unhappy about having actual passengers. "I won't be departing till 9:10," she says. Her tone implies, "Don't get your hopes up. Life is disappointing."

Steering wheel
Anne Rippy | Photographer's Choice | Getty Images
Steering wheel

By 8:50 the bus is full of restless passengers and dangling bikes.

"Why are we leaving so late?" asks a passenger.

"Because I've been doing this job for 8 years and that's when we're leaving," the driver says.

"How long does it take to get to the dock?" I ask.

The bus driver looks at my wife: "Tell your husband to relax. We'll be there by 9:17—trust me."

Ok. That leaves 13 minutes to remove a busload of bikes and luggage, buy ferry tickets and board the boat.

I wonder if there's any way, in the next few minutes, for each of the passengers to drink at least 10 cups of coffee.

The bus gets quiet as we wait. "I'm surprised there's not more conversation," the bus driver says.

"We're afraid of you," says a passenger.

"To get from Point A to Point B, you sometimes need to make unpopular, unilateral decisions." -Consultant, Paul Hellman

9:10 a.m. We're off! The bus barrels down the narrow road at breakneck speed. The bikes swing recklessly from above, luggage flies off the rack, passengers cling to their seats.

It's the most exciting bus ride I've ever been on!

"Don't they have any speed limits in the U.S.?" gasps a Canadian woman who's bouncing up and down next to us.

"This whole trip is stupid," says her friend. "I just want to go home."

At 9:17 am, we arrive at the dock. 13 minutes later, we're on the ferry. The bus driver, it turns out, was right about the math. But wrong about trust.

"I'll never get on a bus with that driver again," says the Canadian woman.

"I just want to go home," says her friend.

Tip: To get from Point A to Point B, you sometimes need to make unpopular, unilateral decisions. That requires toughness.

But to build trust, it's not enough to announce what you're doing. Explain why. That requires respect.

Consultant, author, speaker, and founder of express potential® (www.expresspotential.com), Paul Hellman has worked with CEOs, executives, and managers at leading companies for over 25 years to improve performance and productivity at work. His latest book is “Naked at Work: How to Stay Sane When Your Job Drives You Crazy,” and his columns have appeared in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post and other leading papers.

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