Whether or not we realize it, each shop has a similar workflow process. Like many areas of life, we think that we are all unique in our business strategy. However, reality is we are all very similar, our differences lie in management styles. Our attitude and approach, from employees and customers, defines how we achieve success.
Check In Inspection Estimate Building Customer Authorization Work In Progress Completion Follow Up The process, is often hijacked by two elements. The first element is service center employee(s) and their attitude(s) and the second element is the software your business uses.
Your employees are your team, and that’s exactly the best way to approach your business. When you look at employees as team members and not as just “the new guy/girl” or “Jack the mechanic who never combs his hair”... everyone’s attitude begins to change.
Being a part of a team is a mindset that everyone ‘shares in the responsibility’, everyone is accountable for their role and if one person fails… everyone has failed. This mindset is used to build all types of companies, some of which end up being valued into the billions of dollars. Teams help each other pick up the slack and work with one another to get through personal and professional barriers.
The most important thing to remember about the team, is that everyone can have a bad day, week, month or even months. We are all human and too often we forget everyone is going through something. The team element opens the door to communication among the facility and if people are comfortable enough to communicate, they are open to moving past whatever ails them. We are all too quick to give up on someone we have invested an immense amount of time and energy training to our standards. With the right team, dedication is matched on all ends, resulting in happy customers that not only return... they refer. Which lowers acquisition costs and keeps business growth healthy.
You can read more about team building here and we also encourage you to search for ideas on team building and how to achieve the optimal team at your auto repair facility.
This article originally published in CAR's News Section
View full article
By Elite Worldwide Inc.
All successful companies need a leader that has a vision of the future, clearly defined long-term goals and a deep appreciation for people. These leaders also need the ability to bring out the best in others, have a deep-rooted commitment to ethics, and be able to withstand the challenges of leadership. When it comes to small businesses, even the best leaders often have difficulty finding others in their organization that are not only capable of becoming a successor, but that can also effectively lead others. I realize that there are countless books that have been written on developing leaders within, and the amount of information available on the web really is endless. Accordingly, I felt I could best help you by distilling this subject down to a step-by-step guide to creating leaders within your company.
Step #1. Communicate your values, mission and culture early and often - Individuals in leadership positions must realize that others will most willingly follow when they feel the leader shares their values. By having a deep commitment to ethics, by never putting money ahead of people, and by creating a culture that others want to be a part of, people will have a natural propensity to not only follow you, but emulate you as well. These are the principles of leadership that can’t be faked, or only applied when the time is right, because people will inevitably be able to tell if you aren’t genuine.
You may want to consider what we do at Elite, and have all new hires memorize your Mission Statement as soon as they come aboard. This will help them achieve a deeper relationship with your values. Then throughout their tenure with your company, make sure that you continually reinforce those values and the things that are most important to your brand. For example, since ethics are important to our culture at Elite, we provide every new employee with a copy of Ethics 101 by John Maxwell, and they are asked to share what they feel are the most important takeaways. Reinforcing your shop’s culture early and often will help ensure that you have buy-in from everyone that works with you.
Step #2. Start with the Right People - Regardless of how good your leadership skills may be, in order to create leaders within your business you need to start with people that have the right attitude, the aptitude to grow within your organization (or into the position), and the right ethics. Bear in mind that regardless of whether or not you are looking to fill a specific leadership role in management, each and every one of your employees will take on a leadership role to some degree. This is why you need to consider two different leadership paths; One for the individuals who will be assuming greater management/business leadership roles, and one for those who will less directly serve as role models for others.
Step #3. Identify the Candidates for Leadership Roles in Management Positions – In identifying the right candidates, you will need to ensure you are confident that they have the capacity to grow into the leadership position you are looking to fill. You will also need to assess their natural talent for engaging and dealing with people (including the management of others), their temperament, their ability to operate under pressure, and their ability to inspire others. These are all personality characteristics (not skills), so you will need to carefully evaluate not only the candidate’s strengths, but equally as important, any noteworthy weaknesses. In making your decisions, you may also want to consider having the candidates undergo professional assessments that are available through organizations like the Berke Group.
Step #4. Create a Path to Leadership – Once someone has been identified as a good candidate for a leadership role in management, you will need to provide them with them a list of the skills they will need to develop, a timeline for their completion, and the method you will use to judge their knowledge and ability to apply what they’ve learned. You will also need to have a clear understanding with the candidate regarding what will occur if for whatever reason either of you feel it is inappropriate to continue moving forward.
When it comes to the skills they will need, first and foremost, they will need to develop (or further develop) their people skills. One of the best ways of accomplishing this goal is by asking them to read How to Win Friend and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. I would strongly encourage you to have them read one section at a time, and then provide you with an oral report. During their reporting session they should tell you what they have learned, how they will apply it to their personal life, and how they will apply it to their role in your company. Always be sure to ask for their reasoning as well. This exercise will help you better understand how your employees process information, and will give you valuable insights into how they view their roles.
This learning path should help the candidate understand the value of having goals in place, the goal setting process you use, your key performance indicators, your financial statements (when applicable), how to effectively manage their time, and how to delegate. You will find John Maxwell has written many extraordinary books on a number of these subjects, which can be valuable tools for you.
Lastly, they will need to learn how to effectively manage your single greatest asset: the people that you employ. Although there are many books that have been published on managing people, I believe that the all-time best is The One-Minute Manager series by Kenneth Blanchard.
Step #5. Application of Leadership Skills – As you are developing your business management leader, you will need to provide them with opportunities along the way to practice what they have learned. Although there are many strategies available, here is a simple one that you can use: Start by having the management leader-in-training create a simple 3-5 page mini-business plan for any part of your business. For example, it could be for driving up sales, controlling costs, or bringing in more new customers. The plan needs to include the goals (ideally relative to your KPI’s), the strategy that will be used, the opportunities and the potential risks.
Additionally, they should be put in a position where they can take on a leadership role in your team meetings, and begin handling employee issues that are relative to the role they will be filling.
While creating leaders is by no means an easy task, I hope that you find these 5 steps helpful in building a company comprised of leaders that not only embrace your shop’s mission and values, but that serve as role models for every life they touch.
Since 1990, Bob Cooper has been the president of Elite (www.EliteWorldwide.com), a company that strives to help shop owners reach their goals and live happier lives, while elevating the industry at the same time. The company offers the industry’s #1 peer group of 90 successful shop owners, training and coaching from top shop owners, service advisor training, along with online and in-class sales, marketing and shop management courses. You can contact Elite at [email protected], or by calling 800-204-3548.
View full article
Curious how others are keeping track of technician productivity. Is it something built into your shop management software that you are able to run a report on? Do you have a simple equation you run at the end of the week or month? Are you having guys punch a time clock? Do you even track productivity? If you do, do you mind sharing what your productivity numbers are? And do the fluctuate much?
By Joe Marconi
With over 40 years in the auto repair industry, I can write a book on shop production, and I would title it: "The reason why production suffers, and ways to improve it" But, perhaps the first step in getting production to where you want it is to promote team spirit. Yes, I know about training, workflow processes, making sales, the right tools, quality equipment, shop layout and correct labor billing. All that counts too. But, none of that means anything if your techs and service advisors work in an workplace with poor morale.
As a shop owner, recognize the performance of your employees. Set the right tone and encourage them to exceed their limitations, and also say thank you once in a while. Raise team spirit, and you will raise production.
I know this is a wide-open field for discussion; so what are your thoughts.