Running a Shop Leadership

Case Study: Growing Positivity Daily

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premier oil change

Matt Webb, owner and president of Premier Oil Change, was a student of the franchise oil and lube game. 

“I came from a great company that was very positive,” said Webb, “but at the end of the day I wanted to be the one making the decisions.” 

Webb had this mentality for a couple of years before stepping out on his own. 

“When I saw that there was a lot of opportunity to do positive things as an owner, that’s when I knew it was time to go out on my own,” Webb says. 

Ultimately it was this mentality that led Webb and a few friends to start a brand where they could have the freedom to do things on their own terms. Part of his success with the Premier brand is Webb’s attention to attitude and its effects on the operation.

“I learned really quickly that as a leader, everything rises and falls under your leadership,” Webb says. “You need to be positive because no one will be more positive or enthusiastic than you are.”

To Webb, this is where a lot of owners miss the boat: “They don’t take the time to create and support a positive culture.” 


The Challenge


Webb says that the true challenge for owners is to define core values. It’s important because it changes your thinking and allows you to alter the trajectory of your organization. 

“As the leader of the organization, every action that you do will impact the performance of your employees,” Webb says. 

For this reason, Webb says that you need strong core values to align your actions with, then your employees will follow the example you give them. Without them, and this speaks to the true challenge, your organization will lack direction and purpose. 


The Solutions


Set Aside Time

The first step is to formally convey your goals and attitude throughout the chain of command.

“The first step is somewhat easier, getting your entire leadership team together to discuss what your values should be,” Webb says. 

Sync the leadership team’s calendars to make time to have an at length discussion about what the organization’s values need to be. Furthermore, finding the right space for the meeting can also be difficult. 

“You want them to get out for a day, to someplace that is neutral, and removed from the day to day of the shop,” Webb says. 


Establish a Mission Statement and Values

This statement needs to include the goals of the shop, not just business goals, but goals for how you want your company to be, Webb says. 

“This step is important because it enables you to identify what values you want to choose that will help you achieve the future goals of your organization,” he says. 

To define your values, grab a pen and paper and start a conversation on what values support your mission statement. The list will probably be long after this initial conversation, so start whittling the list down until seven or so values remain. 

“We did this two years ago, we defined them as proficiency, respect, enthusiasm, integrity, excellence, and relationships,” Webb says. 

In his shops, Webb says that the core value of relationships has delivered the best impact on the organization. 

“As the leader, driving and focusing on our relationships has brought the most change, whether it be with vendors, guests, eachother, or our facility neighbors,” Webb says. 

Ultimately, he wants to do right through these relationships so they do right by him and his shops. 


Adjust Your Attitude 

The final step in the process is adjusting your organization’s attitude, culture, and atmosphere to the values.

“Following this process allows the values to become a road map leading you to achieve your future goals,” Webb says. 

Webb says that you accomplish this by being the standard bearer for your organization and by training your employees to live up to the values. Once you get that buy-in from your team, the transition can be dramatic for the business—in positive ways. 


The Aftermath


Webb says this organization went through this transition in recent years, and it made a huge impact. He’s a strong believer in the idea that your company culture is being created, whether you recognize it or not, and whether you want it to or not. 

If the culture is being created regardless, why not control it to be positive? 

“We do this by putting our values on the walls, on shirts, and sweatshirts,” Webb says. “It really gets buy-in from our employees.” 

These concrete cultural changes have made Premier a more positive place to work. Webb cites statistics showing that retention has increased by 20 to 30 percent. 

Webb has noticed a trend across the industry, the stores that constantly try to create a positive culture always have less bay time. 


The Takeaway 


Above all else, one takeaway stands out above the rest. Change must start at the top. As the operator, it’s your responsibility to set the tone and make sure that managers follow through. 

Webb firmly believes that everything rises or falls under that leadership component. If you set attitude goals, make sure you’re living it.

“Whether you want your employees to or not, they will follow your lead, and you cannot expect others to have a positive attitude when you don’t,” Webb says. 


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