Scheduling Conundrum: Quality service delivery begins with a quality team

Dec. 21, 2021
The scheduling position is not a place for a ‘seat warmer,’ but a prime slot for ‘A’ level employees.

I recently finished a Business Master Class with Darren Hardy, which was enlightening and energizing. There is a vast difference between the public and private sectors’ approaches to managing a business and its culture. One of the many takeaways was how to assemble an “A” team and not to accept lesser players. If there were ever a position that needed “A” level employees, it would be the schedule maker position that fits the agency’s goals and not just a warm body to fill an open position. Until the class, I had not considered how much that dictates the culture you are trying to develop, and accepting someone who does not meet your criteria impacts the team. I always believed you could get someone to come around with enough work (including myself), but the truth of the matter is while they might be great somewhere, they are not with you and will only drain you and the rest of the team while trying to produce that result.

The term “team” is relative to your situation, of course. You might be a one-person shop, work with a large group or operate somewhere between this spectrum. Maybe you are a union shop with little control over your team makeup or you lead a management-level team of schedulers where you can pick who works for you. The key is leadership and who sets the tone for everyone else. I have also been taking a leadership class with the Darren Hardy group and met six exceptional entrepreneurs I have worked with during the past year. It has been a journey to understand outstanding leadership, be a better person and get to the root of the problems you encounter. Not surprisingly, the problem is who you see when you look in the mirror.

The transit industry does not generally develop an uplifting attitude and different ways of understanding our roles. We are the hard-charging blue-collar team and accept that nothing changes or will change. It gets into our psyche and identifies us even when we leave the job. As frustrated as I was at the agency level at times, I still loved my job and the satisfaction of contributing to the greater good.

So let me take you down a slightly different path that I picked up in the class. Imagine a commercial on social media or television. Picture people going to various social events (forget about COVID for a moment) and add anything else you enjoy. People are just reveling in life, and we pan to a worker or two in the background as everyone has fun. Hold that pleasant picture as we fade into the evening sky. Then the tagline comes up as we go to a beautiful dawn sky with the words “Transit Scheduler’s, The Driving Force of Your Community,” and you see the world coming to life again with food shopping, grabbing a coffee, etc.

I have been asked what I envision Transit Schedulers University (TSU) would look like more than once. In a nutshell, I can give you all the classes and certificates and mentoring that need to occur. What was missing was how to find the right fit for your team. Imagine igniting someone’s passion for learning and helping others. The desire to enable the riding public, operators, agency and community to succeed and prosper.

“Transit Scheduler’s, The Driving Force of Your Community."

About the Author

Ed Dornheim | Consultant

Ed Dornheim is expert transit scheduler with decades of experience beginning with the Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) as a part-time Traffic Checker. He worked in various roles at SEPTA along with two stints in scheduling ending as a Chief Schedule Maker, as well as working as the Scheduling Manager at Hampton Roads Transit (HRT) and Scheduling and Planning Manager at Lehigh and Northampton Transit Authority (LANTA). 

He began consulting in 2015 with various transit agencies across the United States and Canada.