Last month, I wrote about the importance of establishing a team of happy, hardworking and motivated employees and leaders. HR specialist and consultant Patty McCord, during a TED talk podcast, broke down happiness within a company into eight simple lessons. This month, we’ll tackle lessons four through eight that can give us an excellent guide to follow as owners and managers in the collision repair industry.
Lesson 5: Everyone in the company should be able to handle the truth.
In our industry there is a lot of opportunity for mistakes. Some of them can be costly to the business or even deadly to the customer. We repair cars. We must repair them safely in accordance to the manufacturer recommendations. When I think of how this lesson applies to our industry, I think of how we must provide an environment where employees don’t feel offended if they have repaired a vehicle wrong, but rather learn the correct way to repair it. I am a firm believer in feedback, but I like how Mrs. McCord states, “Let’s rethink ‘feedback,’ and think about it as telling people the truth, the honest truth, about what they’re doing right and what they are doing wrong, in the moment when they’re doing it.”
Lesson 6: Your company needs to live out its own values.
Practice what you preach. As a manager you need to show your team that you are willing to work beside them. That you are willing to advocate for them when needed. Listen to their ideas. That you value them as employees. As a leader show what you expect from your team by demonstrating customer satisfaction. This will have a trickle-down effect with all your employees. This then translates to your customers. Set the example, that is the reason you are the manager or owner. If you do this, then I guarantee you will have motivated employees willing to follow your example and provide exceptional service.
Lesson 7: All start-up ideas are stupid.
When you read the above statement, I know what you are thinking. How does this pertain to our business? Think of it as an analogy to the idea that you need to think outside the box. We must do this to be relevant in our businesses. I have had the pleasure of working with a lot of great individuals and shops in this industry and the ones that are successful know that by creating a unique environment that values employees, customers, and others have a culture that may look different but works because of the previous lessons.
Lesson 8: Every company needs to be excited for change.
This is probably the hardest lesson to implement. The collision repair industry is nostalgic. There are a lot of old technicians still in the industry that are tied to remembering how we used to do this or remember how this was. McCord talked of a shift in thinking and to “think about the way its going to be.” I am currently working at my shop to make some necessary changes to improve our business to make it more efficient and modern. The newer technicians in our shop are excited with the upcoming changes. The older technicians seem a bit hesitant. How do we make everyone excited? It takes knowing our employees and understanding what their qualms are. Show your employees how these changes will benefit them. Be upbeat, excited, and positive about change. Here’s the deal folks, if we are not excited for change, then the changes happening in our industry are going to pass us by.