This article is from my business partner, Terry Keller, who owns Keller Bros. Auto Repair in Littleton, CO. For more information about Terry, you can check out his free ebook on our website, "Is My Story Your Story?" Click here to get it!
I can just imagine some of you thinking, “Why waste time reading this when I’ve already tried everything to train my people to act right and perform well AND IT CAN’T BE DONE?! Why keep beating my head against the wall?”
Or, maybe you’re not so cynical and would like a couple of tips on how to improve. Either way, I believe that your investment of the next couple of minutes will be well worth it!
For the first 25 years in my career as a shop owner I tried every kind of training for myself and for my employees I could find. Of course there was a lot of technical training out there and we pretty much did it all. We could fix cars well, but the rest of the operation was not performing as I would have liked. In fact, it was in chaos most of the time.
Why Training Didn’t Work!
It seemed that every management or sales class we went to created some hope and motivated us to change. However, after a few weeks, things had drifted back the way they were except everyone was even more frustrated. I was angry because my team couldn’t or wouldn’t make the new ideas and systems stick. And they were upset because I expected them to do things they were incapable of doing – because of their lack of aptitude, or because of my poor communication/teaching skills or my inability to manage or lead them properly.
It was the little things that drove me nuts: parts returns and credits, parts not billed, customers not taken care of, things forgotten, and many other broken rules or procedures. I didn’t know it at the time, but I was not fit to lead. Yes, I got very upset every few months and threatened everyone in a fit of anger, but that only produced a momentary improvement in performance. They all understood my routine and knew within a few days they could slack off again...AND I LET THEM!
On the surface, it appeared I was the only one who understood what I wanted. However, the truth was that no one was committed to making new training knowledge stick. I repeatedly stated I did not want it this way, but the proof of my actions (or should I say inaction?) and those of my staff overpowered any thoughts, feelings, or vision of sticking to a better way of doing things.
Why couldn’t we pull this off? What was missing? Stay tuned...I'll post the missing piece of the puzzle next time!