Leadership Lessons from a UPS Driver

Leadership Lessons from a UPS Driver

Delivering a Culture of We, Not Me

Berrett-Koehler, 2016 more...

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Ron Wallace was six years old when his father abandoned him and his mother had to fend for themselves in Lewiston, Idaho. Hard work, drive and chance brought him to United Parcel Service (UPS) as a package car driver. He felt an immediate sense of belonging. Now retired, Wallace advanced from truck driver to president of UPS International, becoming a leader who eventually directed 60,000 people. Wallace fills his memoir with great stories and stellar leadership advice. His appendix, “Study Guide for Leaders and Their Teams,” offers the information in a teachable format. getAbstract recommends Wallace’s biography and leadership lessons to leaders and to students of leadership.


Rising Through the Ranks

Ron Wallace, the retired president of the United Parcel Service (UPS), began at the company as a delivery truck driver and climbed to the top of its management ranks. Along the way, he came to understand and embrace some basic leadership principles in 11 critical areas:

1. “Delivering a Culture”

In 1907, teenagers Jim Casey and Claude Ryan founded the American Messenger Company. Today, at the beginning of staff meetings at that same company, now known as UPS, people read the mission statement the boys wrote. That “policy book” gave birth to a culture of equality, responsibility and respect that manifests in the smallest ways, including addressing people by their first name, never hiring friends or family, and promoting from within.

Wallace began at UPS as a delivery truck driver. He recalls the day early in his career when he was repairing a battery in the maintenance shop. An older man approached, introduced himself as “Jim” and started helping. It was the founder himself, Jim Casey, who took the time to talk with Wallace and ask his opinions. To reflect this behavior in your current practices, hold a pre-work “communication...

About the Author

Ron Wallace rose from delivery driver to president of UPS International. He chaired or co-chaired 33 boards of major companies. He also co-founded the Olde Blind Dog Irish Pub in Milton, Georgia, named in 2015 as the best Irish pub in the world.

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