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Take the Mystery Out of Managing for Auto Repair Shop Owners


Take the Mystery Out of Managing by Rick White, President 180BIZ

In this episode, I want to talk to you about managing. I’ve heard so many horror stories about managers, bosses, and owners. And they have one common thread. It’s what you pay attention to. You can either catch people doing things wrong, or you can catch people doing things right. I need to tell you that it’s normal for the brain to look for things that are a danger, things that are wrong. That is how our brains are naturally wired. It's easy to find things wrong. It's the way we're wired socially. Think about it. Every commercial you ever see basically says you’re not good enough unless you have our product. They imply that you have an issue and it's your fault until you get our product.

But you can overcome that. Now you are aware of it. That's the first step. It’s understanding your bias toward negativity. I really work at this and for the most part, I'm pretty good with it. I'm great at it at work, but I'm still working on it at home. Negativity pushes people away. I feel sad when I'm talking to a shop employee, and I ask them if they get any kind of recognition. Time and time again they reply, “Yeah, when I screw up. Then a hundred percent of the time I get recognized for it.” That's a problem.

But there's a better way. And that's to catch them doing things right. Whatever you focus on, you get more of. So, when you focus on the stuff that's wrong, it's almost like your brain turns into this machine that just sniffs out every little problem and makes it worse and worse and bigger and bigger. Whatever you're chasing, whatever you're going after you get more of. Please understand that.

Now, when you start looking for positive things, you will find more and more positive in the shop, in the business, and in your life. This doesn't just go for work. This goes for home too. I’ve heard more guys complain about their spouses. Zig Ziegler once said, “If you treat your wife like a thoroughbred, she'll never become a nag.” And it's all about finding things right.

When we first start a relationship and this happens at work all the time, I ask, “Hey, how's that new hire?” The shop owner replies, “He's the best things in sliced bread.” What happens six months to a year down the road, all of a sudden the shop owner answers, “He can't do anything right.” When we first start a relationship, any relationship, business relationship, partnership, anything like that, a joint venture. It always is amazing in the beginning. But then over time, you stop seeing all the positives and your brain starts catching the negatives. Now, are there negatives we should watch out for? Absolutely. But for the most part 99.99999% of the time, all you need to do is just catch people doing something right. That is where you build loyalty. That is where you build trust. That is where you build a team that'll go above and beyond. That is where you will become a trusted leader. Why? Because they know you have their back.

One of the tricks that I used, and this is an old hack, and some of you have probably heard this a hundred times.  I put five quarters in my left pocket every morning. And then every time I caught someone doing something right, I would take a quarter out of my left pocket and put it in my right pocket. Now don't make this mistake where say, “Hey, John, great job on this. You did a really great job. You found this. Not a lot of people would have. And I'm really glad you're part of the team. Thank you very much.” And then you walk away, shout, “Woohoo,” and move a quarter from one pocket to the other. That will definitely come across as self-serving. Be genuine about it. What we're talking about is training your focus to have a better or different focus. One that's more empowering.

Why does it get empowering? Because when you recognize people for what they did right, the rest of your team around you will want that same recognition. Let's be honest. We're just big kids. We're little kids and big bodies. We still want to be appreciated. We want to be recognized. It's up to you to do that. Don't let the activity of the day or a little problem prevent you from seeing, hearing, and appreciating your team every single day.

So, that's really the message here. I want to challenge you this week to find five things that someone in your shop does right every single day. When you catch them doing something right, there' are specific things to do. 

  1. Do it in public so that everyone else knows what you're looking for.
  2. Do it immediately
  3. Be very specific. Don't just say, “Hey, great job today.” That's not catching someone doing something right. Better is, “Hey John, great job on finding that bent radiator support. There's no one else who would've caught that. And we would've had all kinds of problems putting that car back together and ultimately lost credibility with the client. So, great job keeping your eyes open like that. Awesome. That's why you're a part of our team. Keep up the good work.”  
  4. And do it from your heart.

Business becomes so much more fun when you catch people doing things right.

Thanks for being here. Have a great week. Stay safe, have fun, and go make some money.

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