Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Map Out Your Warm Mix Asphalt Plan

(from the January 2009 Editor's Note in AsphaltPro Magazine)

It’s that time of year when people hand you champagne and ask, “What’s your new year’s resolution?” I typically dread the question because I avoid making resolutions. But if you’re going to make a goal for 2009, you should also make a plan to achieve that goal with rollicking success.

I have a two-part system for achieving long-term goals, even though I don’t call them resolutions or generally set them around Jan. 1. I start with a blank piece of paper on which I write the goal in a simple two- or three-word phrase. I then surround this phrase with a hodge-podge of random actions I’ll need to take to meet the central goal. For stage two, I organize all those actions into manageable lists. I don’t remember where I learned this, but I’ve been doing it since I got out of high school and it’s served me well. Let’s see if we can make it make sense to serve you, too.

Let’s say you want to jump into the warm mix asphalt (WMA) arena. Write “Run WMA” or something to that effect in the middle of your piece of blank paper. Now what are the actions you’ll need to take to achieve that goal? Hopefully, the ideas will come at you quickly and you’ll start writing like mad. Pay no attention to penmanship and margins. Start writing things such as “educate ground crew” or “check flighting” or “get new technology” or “bid WMA job” or “attend state seminar.” You see, at this stage of planning, it doesn’t matter in what order you write your ideas—it matters that you write them. You just want to splatter your action items on the page as quickly as you can.

Come back to the page often to read off the ideas and add more that come to you.

Once you feel you’ve exhausted your action ideas and have as many written down as you’re going to come up with, it’s time to organize them. Take a good look at which ones should go first, and which ones are going to involve secondary lists. For instance, if you’ve written “get new technology” as part of your plan to facilitate bringing your operation into the WMA revolution, you need to do some research.

Write that down and figure out where you want your research to start. Online? With fellow state association members who have already begun WMA projects? There are plant equipment manufacturers in the magazine you’re holding who employ experts in the area of WMA, additives and foaming, installation of new components, and modification of existing equipment. It’s in their best interest to guide you gently into this realm and to help you in the most cost-efficient manner possible, not to pressure you with a hard sell that leaves you winded and wondering, so don’t overlook what they can do to help you.

Let’s say you’ve written down something as easy as “attend state seminar” but your state’s annual meeting, complete with seminars on WMA, isn’t until November. Don’t wait until then to start. Use that seminar as a refresher after you’ve attended the NAPA mid-year meeting this July, or after you’ve attended World of Asphalt’s conference sessions in March, or after you’ve attended a state DOT’s continuing education program earlier in the year. The opportunities to learn about WMA abound, and you’ll be seeing more application stories right here in AsphaltPro as producers learn and share their stories with each other. Maybe you’ll be sharing your story by the time your state meeting rolls around.

The secret of the lists is to follow them. As with any new thing, having a partner who holds you accountable is a great way to stay on task, but, considering this is your business and WMA is the wave of the future, I don’t think you’ll have much trouble staying motivated if this is a resolution you’ve made.

Whatever your goals and plans for 2009, may you have a prosperous and blessed new year. It’s not supposed to be an easy one, we’ve all been told, but we have a transportation bill to come together on and plenty of business tips and strategies to help each other with. As the year progresses, I’m sure we’ll see ways to maximize our strengths while we work on our goals. I look forward to working on them with you.

Stay Safe,
Sandy Lender, Editor (sandy at theasphaltpro dot com)

Tags: , , , , ,

No comments:

Add to Technorati Favorites