This is part two of an article 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!
The Missing Piece of the Puzzle
It wasn’t until I discovered a way to measure performance that the light went on. Let me caution that measurement by itself will not ensure sustained improvement. However, I found that just by measuring, improvement occurred in every part of the business we tried it in.
The next task was to figure out exactly what to measure and how. We worked for years at perfecting this process using reports, spreadsheets, management checklists and duties checklists. It was many years later I found that replacing myself with a strong manager/leader in my shop and establishing a solid chain of command were the last missing pieces to this puzzle of sustaining improvement.
Today, we have established a firm baseline of performance in every aspect of our shop. Each manager, supervisor and service writer operates from a set of metrics every day. Even the techs know what is expected of them and that management is measuring their daily performance and will hold them accountable for any under-performance trend. Everyone on the team clearly knows the duties, processes and policies for their job position through the use of forms and checklists that must be turned in with each job or, as the case may be, daily.
This is absolutely necessary in each area you wish to apply a training program. Unless you know where your current level of performance is in that area, you cannot measure improvement after training. Any evaluation of improvement you attempt is meaningless without honest, objective measurement...unless you like to guess or continue to lie to yourself like I did for years!
The Bottom Line
The bottom line is you have to lead, or you must find a leader who has the strengths you lack (either by promoting within your organization or by hiring one). No one is perfect. We all have strengths and weaknesses. Do you know yours? Have you honestly thought about it? There is no shame in recognizing your weaknesses – only in continuing to ignore them!
There are dozens of necessary traits in the overall leadership team of any successful organization. It’s impossible for one human being to have them all. The smartest and best leaders out there know this and hire and delegate around their own weaknesses.
Once you begin to address this issue and implement a good set of measurement systems, your training programs can be elevated and improved.
If you want to know more about how we do this in our shop, contact us at [email protected].