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Focus on People, not Numbers

Legendary UCLA Basket Coach, John Wooden, never focused on the score of a game. John Wooden believed that success is achieved by paying attention to the details of the game, not concentrating on the score. He also knew that well-trained players, executing a plan and paying attention to personal performance and team work, will ultimately lead to success. Under his leadership, the UCLA Bruins holds the record with 11 Division 1 NCAA Championships, 10 national titles in 12 seasons, including 7 straight wins from 1967 to 1973. His strategy, a focus on people and team spirit, brings out the very best someone has to offer to the team. His record is a testament to his strategy.

 

As business owners, we often get caught up in the numbers of the business. I am not suggesting the numbers are not important. Shop owners need to understand all the financial aspects of business. But a business, just like any team, will reach high levels of success if the organization has the right people in place, that pays attention to all the details, and are in an environment where the focus is on team spirit and achieving the personal best of each individual.

 

With this strategy, the numbers, the score, will take care of itself.

 

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      Nick is a recent graduate of a well known tech school. He comes to work on time, works hard, and learns every day. His production improves each month. He has a lot of raw talent and a great attitude. At 21, how in the world could he know what I know at 63?
      I often forget how young some of my employees are. I also need to remember that people will make mistakes and they need the time to hone their skills through years of experience. They don’t have the gray hair of knowledge that often comes with decades of experience.
      Allowing people to grow will mean making mistakes. A tech will make the wrong diagnosis. A service advisor will lose a sale or forget to sell the tire rotation. But, did you or I diagnosis every car correctly? Did we make every sale? Were we absolutely perfect in everything we did? Of course not. So let’s be a little more understanding. I am not suggesting we settle for mediocrity. People need to strive for excellence. But even the best home run hitter will strike out at times.
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      When you feel yourself losing your temper or getting upset over the mistakes or lack of knowledge from one of your employees, just think back and view your own past. Don’t look back with a skewed memory of your greatness, but with an honest recollection of your struggles and mistakes. And you never know, you just might help others avoid some of the mistakes you made.
      Oh, by the way, my approach with the way I handled the situation with Nick and the seized u-joint? Another mistake on my part. So even at 63, I am still making mistakes. Kind of humbling, right?
       
      This story was originally published by Joe Marconi in Ratchet+Wrench on July 6, 2018

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