Brad Jacobs, serial entrepreneur and chairman of XPO Logistics, shares key lessons from his new book “How to Make a Few Billion Dollars” that can benefit the logistics industry. He provides insights into leveraging technology, building strong teams, and leading with empathy even in stressful environments.
Invest Significantly in Technology to Drive Transformation
Jacobs strongly advises logistics companies to actively seek customer input on desired tech capabilities and process improvements. By removing internal assumptions about feasibility and cost constraints, this approach yields valuable insights into innovation opportunities.
Firms should then thoroughly evaluate the expected costs and returns for each idea to strategically budget for major tech investments based on profit potential. XPO’s early prioritization of automation, advanced algorithms, machine learning, and other data science capabilities exemplifies this forward-looking approach.
While adopting new technologies inevitably involves challenges, Jacobs warns that ignoring major tech trends puts companies at risk of rapidly falling behind the competition. He sees automation, artificial intelligence, machine learning and other innovations as an accelerating megatrend that will substantially disrupt a wide range of industries.
Logistics providers that proactively redesign processes to maximize tech capabilities will gain efficiency, service quality and decision-making advantages over slow adopters. However, firms that delay tech investments until forced by necessity often end up with expensive patchwork systems that fail to deliver the hoped-for benefits.
Assemble a Cohesive Yet Diverse Team Aligned to Company Goals
Jacobs emphasizes that achieving ambitious growth requires assembling an executive team and workforce combining grit, wisdom and diverse perspectives united by a common purpose. He values hiring self-confident go-getters driven to make their mark but also screens for genuine respect for others and the ability to consider multiple viewpoints.
In addition, he stresses the importance of compensation structures and incentive programs aligned to company goals to avoid disconnected behaviors or actions by individuals that undermine group objectives. Providing competitive pay helps attract and retain top talent that propels growth.
Jacobs applied these team-building principles across XPO, GXO and RXO – creating integrated business units with aligned objectives rather than isolated silos. He also replicated his successful operating model across units by balancing centralized oversight that ensures consistency with local empowerment that harnesses direct customer insights.
Lead With Empathy in Times of Stress
Despite the competitive intensity of his firm, Jacobs advocates expressing gratitude and appreciation to both internal team members and external partners during good times and bad. He sees this empathy-building approach as essential for leaders to neutralize interpersonal conflicts that arise in stressful fast-growth environments common to ambitious companies.
While problems inevitably crop up, Jacobs says reframing discomfort as an opportunity for improvement allows accomplishment rather than impeding progress. With the right growth mindset, teams can utilize challenges to emerge smarter and stronger on the other side.
By leveraging their expertise and resources, Lading Logistics aims to provide efficient and reliable international shipping and logistics solutions for their clients.