Comment: Success deserves celebrating

By: Meryn Morrison, WiRT chairperson

Meryn Morrison Health Safety Comp Man 0094 Meryn Morrison Health Safety Comp Man Meryn Morrison Health Safety Comp Man 0094

Kiwis are known for being bad at receiving compliments, yet establishing a culture of achievement and recognition in the road transport industry should be made a better job

Recently, I was congratulated about something I’d done at work and it made me realise that I had slipped back into the bad old New Zealand habit of not properly acknowledging other people’s achievements in the workplace.

My sheepish reaction to the praise given to me was, "Oh yeah, that’s good. Move on. We are all too busy." Unfortunately, my response in this instance seems to prevail throughout
the road transport industry and across large swathes of New Zealand society. We Kiwis are not good at either giving or receiving compliments.

A wee while back, I presented a 40-year long service recognition award to a driver and some weeks later, his wife said to me that it was hanging on the lounge wall because it was the first certificate he’d ever received.

It was a bittersweet moment, as I was glad that it meant so much to him but it was rather sad that it took 40 years to get recognised for the hard work he had put into his job.

As road transport professionals, we must do a better job at establishing a culture of achievement and recognition in our industry. RTF and its associations have a number of ways in which they try to promote individual success within the industry, including the New Zealand Road Transport Industry Awards, the Outstanding Contribution to Road Transport Industry long service awards, and the New Zealand Truck Driving Championships. 

How to enforce achievement and recognition

While I strongly encourage operators to put their staff forward for these initiatives, I also think it’s important that people in our industry are better recognised by their peers and managers in their workplace.

We can inspire people to have more confidence in themselves and value what they are doing, be it for themselves or for the company. It’s well-proven that this will lead to better outcomes and productivity. It helps to develop a success-based mindset that makes people focus on an outcome, both for themselves and the organisation. For instance, we might have individual goals of earning money, advancing our careers, or even as modest as just having an enjoyable day.

These goals are important, as they contribute greatly to a person having a positive mindset at work and helps them react to the external issues and pressures that are inevitable in our industry. Personal success motivates a person to achieve more from themselves when given the opportunity. Small goals turn into small wins that eventually turn into a large body of success. 

Recognising their own achievements makes a person feel good and sharing success is a great way to extend that celebration and helps others enjoy in that success as well. On a more holistic level, the people I meet in the industry are extremely good at sharing the successes of their kids or their local rugby team, as they are justifiably proud of them.

However, isn’t it time to say to the rest of New Zealand that we’re proud to represent the Road Transport Industry and the contribution it makes to Kiwis’ lives? 

My challenge to the drivers, operators, and staff in road transport companies all over the country is to help change the perception of our industry by celebrating our own successes. Let’s lift our game and tell people we’re good at what we do.

If you want to share and celebrate a colleague’s good work, please get in touch through the WiRT Facebook page and we will make a bit of a fuss over them. Encouraging and supporting each other to celebrate our achievements is a bit of a Pantene moment—it won’t happen overnight but it will happen! 

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