Same Stick – Different Carrot

It is easy for a fleet manager to identify with the image of a donkey with a carrot dangled in front of him while a rider in his cart beats him with a stick. It is said that this “motivational image” is meant to keep us in a perpetual state of motion. In fleet management the first identifiable image of the cartoon is the cart, it represents the weight of all the equipment in your fleet while you (the donkey), try to pull your payload all the way to the end and most times beyond the end of the equipments lifecycle. Inevitably the cart gets heavier as more equipment is added, funding is cut or equipment is not replaced on time, hence the carrot of better days is dangled just out of reach.The all too familiar stick represents the dangers of slowing down or becoming complacent.

As fleet managers we all have the awesome responsibility of providing our customers with the safest, most efficient, most dependable and best looking equipment we possibly can, anything less and you will feel the strike of the stick on your back. This penalty can come in many forms; a loss of availability as equipment piles up in your lot, the threat of outsourcing if repair costs rise or the down ward spiral of fleet image brought on by an indolent drone of excuses.

Always better to keep moving in the direction of the proverbial carrot, but what is this sought after prize? In my interpretation of this image the objective that tends to stay just out of reach should be the fleet manager’s pursuit of excellence because when viewed correctly it can never be quite realized. As the carrot dangles from the string in most cases the direction is determined by the rider of the cart. The direction of excellence should be determined by the needs of our customers and our leadership. We must stay in tune with their needs to the point that we are able to give the best advice about the assets they need to perform their functions. We must execute our functions in a way that moves ever forward toward the dream of excellence not toward the path of least resistance.

Although the pursuit of excellence may waver at times and tend to steer us away from conventional wisdoms we should strive to be better, champion industry benchmarks and showcase best practices…

About the author
Gary Lykins

Gary Lykins

Fleet Manager

Gary Lykins serves as the fleet manager, shop supervisor, and lead mechanic for the Town of Jonesborough. Although he has 20 years of experience in various roles in the automotive and equipment industry, his tenure with the Town of Jonesborough has been the most challenging and fulfilling position of his career.

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