Shop Life Columnists

Consider the Vantage Point

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You’ve likely heard oft-repeated phrases like “perception is reality” or “life is what you make it.” Whether or not you believe in the power of attitude, I invite you to read this month’s magazine and think about how each shop owner’s attitude shows through in their successes—and how you can do the same.

I bring all this up mainly due to the intriguing conversation I had with Mike Agugliaro over the course of reporting this month’s feature story.  Years ago, Agugliaro and a partner ran a small electrical contracting outfit. It was tough, scrambling work.

During our interview, he told me about a few moments that gave him the “a-ha” realization, changing his perspective and putting him on a surer track toward growth. One such moment came when someone asked what he did for a living. Agugliaro started with the auto-response: “Oh, I own a small electrical contracting company…”

That person snapped back at Agugliaro.

“He said, ‘Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. No you dont. You own a progressively growing electrical contracting company,’” he recalled.

That was a moment when everything clicked. He went from maintaining the standard of a small company to reaching toward the potential of a bigger operation. He and his partner did just that, growing into a business with 200 employees. Nowadays, Agugliaro co-owns a coaching outfit called CEO Warrior.

Think about those shifts in attitudes, and how it can permeate every small decision and interaction you have throughout the workday. Everyone has heard the attitude adjustment speech, but you have to be willing to do it. Again, from my interview with Agugliaro:

“What do you believe?” he asked. “And what are you willing to do to change that belief?”

This month’s cover story features Agugliaro and two operators who have excellent attitudes, and I think that they’ve benefited greatly from those characteristics. Their love for their work was apparent in our interviews, and it showed in the story. Perhaps most importantly, it shows in shops every day. The operator sets the tone, the staff is having fun and getting work done, and the customers pick up on that atmosphere. It makes them want to take part.

Be sure to catch this month’s Pit Stop article on improving communication within a shop, because attitude plays a huge part there. The same goes for our story on identifying talent in the hiring pool, because as they say, it takes one to know one.

Great minds think alike, because Adam Tatum wrote a column this month expanding upon that very idea of identifying and cultivating those talented techs for management opportunities. As always, he speaks from experience and offers a guidebook to taking someone from the initial interview to a successful manager position.

You want that new hire to have a positive outlook on the new job, right? Even if they’re doing little more than airing tires and cleaning windows, it’s important to the service process that it’s done with a smile, and that smile is much easier to come by when the attitude is properly adjusted.

I’ll leave you with a brief anecdote of my own. I’m from a smaller town, but I now live in a city. I have a strong distaste for traffic jams and may at times be vulnerable to a little on-road frustration.

When that happens, I try to look around and identify another driver who’s looking calm and collected. I don’t know exactly what they’re going through, but to my eye, they’re showing good attitude, just getting through this traffic heap like everybody else. 

It reminds me that I don’t have to be bent out of shape; there’s a better way. Thinking about it like that, attitude really is everything.

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