The Back View episode 8 – David Somers

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SPECIAL EXTENDED EDITION: Here’s the hook – you can improve profits fast, by talking to your drivers. In a lively and entertaining specially-extended podcast, Ian Jones chats with David Somers who’s been running the driver professional development firm Road Skills since the 1990s.

In a lively podcast that’s full of amusing anecdotes, David looks back over his career as a commissioned officer who reached the rank of major, and about the skills required for leading men.

Recalling how he went from a salesman with a company car and good package to being on the front line, he talks about his training at Sandhurst, how leadership develops, how to instil discipline and leading a unit

There are clear parallels with the transport industry – getting people to do what you want them to do.

“It is not about enforcing discipline as a regular management technique – that’s the difference with leadership,” he says.

“When you enforce discipline it doesn’t work,” he adds.

They chat about great leaders – and why they had a ‘great right-hand man’.

Asked who he admires – the answer is perhaps surprising, before the conversation moves onto current politicians and leaders

We also learn what it’s like to drive a Chieftain tank and why he left the army as an infantry officer to go into road transport, at a time when there wasn’t the recognition that military training and skills could be transferred.

He spills the beans on how he ‘sneaked in’ to the army, and got away with a ‘sleight of hand’ for his medicals… and how he got his HGV driver licence – a story in itself – then ran a haulage business.

Since the 1990s David has been running training, developed in-house when he owned the haulage business.

He explains how it started from looking at how to reduce the number of collisions his drivers were having, using a simple but effective solution.

He also talks about the different between right and wrong, ‘avoidability’ and how effective coaching makes a genuine difference for companies.

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