If you have spent any time in the military around vehicles, tanks, helicopters, ships or subs, you know the importance of proper periodic maintenance. Not sure why but I can still remember a term called Preventive Maintenance Checks and Services (a.k.a. PMCS); something called the “Deadline Report,” and forms 2404 and 2406. Oh, the memories!
As a civilian who has slowly weaned himself from using the term “top off” to refer to filling up my gas tank, I can appreciate the lessons learned from military life that creep in unexpectedly. Those eureka or “Ah-Ha!” moments still make me smile today. It will happen to you, too.
The importance of one specific vehicle maintenance item can teach us a lot about the civilian work world. I’m referring to a Front-End Alignment. Understanding this concept can help you set yourself up for success at your new company.
By basic, non-technical, definition a front-end alignment is essentially the car repair that makes sure your tires line up evenly on the road and don’t pull your car from side to side. This process keeps the car moving in a straight line, reduces tire wear and helps improve gas mileage.
In this article, we’ll take a look at 5 things a poor Front-End Alignment can do to you and how to apply those insights into creating positive alliances in your position.
When you start any new job you need to align yourself correctly on the front end. Here’s why:
In a motor vehicle, poor alignment may result in your vehicle drifting off the straight path.
If you happen to take your hands off the steering wheel for a quick moment, you’ll notice the vehicle moves left or right on its own. This is not only annoying, it can be unsafe too! An example of a bad alignment at work: Remember those days in uniform when you had to tackle the Land Navigation Course? Remember that wild goose chase you went on because somebody could not read a map?
Getting the proper alignment at your new company is critical. Not only do you need to know how to get around, you need to know how to get around the right people. Failing to get aligned may result in drifting off the intended path and winding up in a place you don’t wish to be.
Just like with map reading, if you have the wrong azimuth, then good luck getting to your destination. Think about the importance of declination when you use a magnetic compass. Imagine you’re driving in Texas where the declination is 6’ East. You look at your map and see that your destination is located at 115’. Do you know what to do?
You need to know what to do in your new workplace. Learn how to navigate by getting properly aligned in all aspects of the job.
In a motor vehicle, poor alignment may result in uneven wear on tires.
You’re moving forward, but this ain’t a smooth ride!
You know the scenario. You’re driving down a freshly-paved freeway, yet it feels like you’re in a M981A3 FIST-V at Hohenfels! (Ask an Army Veteran!) Needless to say, since your car or truck had poor alignment the road is extremely bumpy due to uneven tire wear.
At work, you can have a smooth ride if you’re properly aligned. Team up with the right people and your career will be smooth. Team up with the wrong crowd and expect turbulence. By avoiding proper alignment, you can expect a tough time at work. This can result in a higher “hassle factor” in getting things done as opposed to a sense of mission accomplishment.
In a motor vehicle, poor alignment may result in a flat tire.
Imagine you’re on your way to work, a dinner date, or a vacation and it happens…POP! Now you’re not sure if you’ll make it on time. You don’t know if the jack, spare and lug wrench are in working order (there’s that PMCS thing again!). And, did I mention you’re dressed up right now and changing a tire is not gonna help?
Poor alignment at your new job has a similar effect on you. You have to stop what you’re doing in order to get where you’re going. You delay others in the process. You’re ready to go, but you feel deflated because you’re aligned with those who love to create unnecessary delays that could have been prevented. The wind is knocked out of you!
In a motor vehicle, poor alignment may result in reduced gas mileage.
You’ve probably heard by now that correct tire pressure results in better gas mileage -- so does proper alignment.
At work, how you react to pressure is an important part of your job satisfaction. Can you handle the workload? If so, for how long? And not just day-to-day, but year-over-year, too. Look at your new job as a marathon, not a sprint. Proper alignment can improve your gas mileage and make for a long, exciting journey.
And finally, in a motor vehicle, poor alignment may result in increased costs.
We’ve all seen crazy drivers but we don’t want our vehicles to drive us crazy. I recall a road trip on the 24th of December that resulted in getting an unexpected present -- a set of 2 new tires! I recall yet another road trip to my daughter’s graduation that resulted in another unexpected present -- you guessed it: 2 new tires!
I should have checked the alignment. And it cost me.
At work or with gift-wrapped tires, poor alignment will cost you, too. You cannot afford to overlook the task of aligning yourself with the right people, places and programs at your new job. Failure to do so might cost you and force you to have to find a new position -- or worse yet, a new company to work for!
I hope this post helps you appreciate the importance of proper alignment -- while in your motor vehicle or in your new company. Get aligned on the Front End!
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