What behavioral predictions might you make if you knew that an employee had (a) an external locus of control? (b) low self-esteem?
Schneider National is a Green Bay, Wisconsin-based transportation and logistics firm. Begun in 1935, the private company now operates 14,000 trucks and 40,000 trailers that haul freight 5 million miles per day. Revenues are approximately $2.4 billion a year.
The company has only had three leaders. The first was the founder; second was his son, Donald; and in August 2002, the first non-family member took the helm when Chris Lofgren was made CEO, replacing Schneider who was 67 years old. But it wasn’t as if the company wasn’t making preparations for executive leadership. Don Schneider told his board of director in 1988 that their primary task was finding a successor. Lofgren joined the company in 1994 as a vice president and became chief operating officer in 2000. After being appointed COO, Lofgren began to lay the framework for the six-person executive group that today shares many of the company’s strategic responsibilities.
Everyone who knows Don Schneider concedes that he’s a tough act to follow. “Don is an icon,” says another top Schneider executive. “He probably commands more respect in transportation and logistics than anybody in the industry.” Says Lofgren, “Our approach has been to put together an executive team that has a set of skills, perspectives and experiences that, when you put that team together, is broader and bigger than Don Schneider.” The idea, according to Lofgren, is to have individuals with product-line or functional focus, while maintaining their oversight of those areas, who develop a sense of responsibility for the financial performance of the whole company. “If you have people who aren’t taking an enterprise solution, their only role is their function or their business, then ultimately it has to go to someone who’s going to referee the points of tension,” says Lofgren. And Lofgren has no intention of...