Helping change and understanding success

In News7 MinutesBy Dom KalasihNovember 3, 2023

A week ago, the country was awaiting the Rugby World Cup final with eager anticipation. We all know what happened, so I won’t go into any more in-depth sporting analysis here or discuss the role played by TMOs, the rules of the game, and what-ifs.

The fact is, South Africa won and both teams played well – something that the All Blacks, the Springboks, and fair-minded commentators all acknowledged.

However, the world of sports, especially at the top level, can serve up some interesting lessons, which I believe are relevant for businesses and those of us in the road transport industry. This was highlighted for me at last week’s highly successful Diversity Toolbox launch, held at the Alexander Group’s base in Hamilton.

The keynote speaker at the launch was former Black Sticks hockey star and Olympian Brooke Neal, who knows a thing or two about competition. Brooke spoke about success and being focused on the goal. That’s all very important, she said, but what if you become too focused on a single goal – winning one particular premier event, for example, and then it doesn’t happen?

Brooke said the obsession – that this is the only thing that matters – can consume you, and that can be unhelpful. The consequences for mental health can be massive. The big question that we should all consider is this: What does success look like? Brooke called for all of us to spend some more time reflecting on this question. What are your goals? What does matter? What are the things that define you?

(Hint: Success, like life, isn’t a straight line; there are ups and downs, it’s par for the course.)

Brooke’s words were ringing in my ears when I saw the looks of disappointment, despair, and devastation on the faces of the All Blacks following the final whistle. How much should a one-point game loss really define each of those individuals given all the other things they’ve achieved in their careers? Putting things in that context is important.

It also made me reflect on what success looks like in my role. BHAG or “Big hairy audacious goal” was a buzzword that grew in prominence over the last decade or so, and I know in our sector we are trying to achieve things that have been talked about for the last 30 years but, for a variety of reasons, have never got over the line. As much as I dearly want those changes to happen, how will I feel if that change doesn’t happen during my tenure? Whether that overshadows all the good stuff that we have achieved, time will tell, and that judgement will likely be different for various individuals.

Speaking of good things, brings me to the highlight of last week which was the Diversity Toolbox launch. The Diversity Toolbox is the latest element of the Driving Change Diversity Programme, part of the road freight industry’s Te ara ki tua Road to success programme, and it is supported by Teletrac Navman. It is freely available to any transport operators and supported by all three transport advocacy groups.

Attracting talent is one of our five strategic pillars and, regardless of some recent softening in workforce demand, there is no doubt that like many other sectors, the needs and wants of our future workforce have changed over time.

The Diversity Toolbox is one way of helping welcome and manage not only new people, but also existing people in the industry. The toolbox is made to support and assist operators and businesses manage the change with what matters to modern workers.

Younger job seekers, who are the future of the industry, value aspects like: How well does your business do on goals like employee satisfaction, sustainability, and contributing to the wider community?

Immigration law changes are also resulting in a significant influx of migrants from countries like China, India, and the Philippines. Introducing people into your team with a very different culture in a well-considered way can only help, whereas not giving any consideration to those differences will come with increased risk.

The Diversity Toolbox is a set of practical resources designed to make the sector even more welcoming to people wanting to work in the road freight sector, and it is loaded with useful tools and resources which are free for everyone to use.

We were also delighted to have some of our Road Freight Diversity Champions attending last week’s launch. The 10 Diversity Champions were nominated from across the road transport sector to attend a two-day Diversity Workshop last year. They shared their stories with the transport industry and wider community, and provided some great feedback that helped shape the Diversity Toolbox resources.

The Diversity Toolbox resources can be ordered or downloaded at

It was no surprise to hear that businesses that are managing a more diverse workforce well don’t appear to be having a problem attracting drivers, and in some cases they have a waiting list. My challenge to our team now is what’s the next thing we can deliver or do to help make our future workforce more successful? We’d also like to hear your ideas so please don’t hesitate to let us know.

Next week I shall be reporting from across the Tasman from the HVTT17 transport conference in Brisbane discussing some of the big issues affecting the industry.

By Dom Kalasih, acting chief executive, Ia Ara Aotearoa Transporting New Zealand.