Lather, Rinse, Repeat

Oct. 1, 2019

In professional development, practice makes perfect. Columnist Lenny Saucier lays it all out in this month's installment.

The generations to come will never understand the abundance of boredom sitting upon the throne with nothing to do. We didn’t have smartphones or handheld games, but we did have the back of the shampoo bottle to entertain us while we waited for things like draining the rear differential. 

If you take a gander, there are directions of how to clean the imperfections of your hair. And just to be sure you cleaned your hair right, lather, rinse and repeat as necessary. You would think that old Johnson and Johnson would produce such a product that it does the job the first time. It may, but not all hair is the same, you need to look at your situation and go through it again if necessary.

When looking at the development and growth of your team and company, you may also have a great plan that should do the trick. Just like that bottle of shampoo, you may have to go back and apply it again or consider that you don’t have the right tools in place to begin with.

Lathering it Up

Just like applying shampoo to a head, you must get in there and work the system. This means getting your hands dirty to get them clean. For you, it means getting on your floor to understand what is working and what is not. You must dive into your policies, procedures and training plans so you can start uncovering things that are not supposed to be in there or are just outdated. Once you do this, you will be able to identify and remove impurities of your plan.

This is a crucial part of any small business as cookie cutter plans are designed to work generically and not specifically to your business. Consider that Dove currently offers 22 different shampoo products and you only have one plan for your business available. Perhaps you need a custom plan.

Rinsing Away the Impurities

Now that you are in the shop working through all the obstacles, you will have a collection of impurities that should be removed to ensure a healthy system. These impurities can range from broken equipment and broken procedures to broken employees and broken leadership. Rinsing is the time for you to flush these out so you can have a healthy base to begin with.

As a warning, the impurities that you choose to keep in your system will speak volumes to your employee and customer base. Be very careful how you proceed and make sure that you are not violating your core values to save time, money and frustration. If something will take time to remove, make sure you develop a plan to remove it and follow through.

Repeat as Necessary

It’s just as ridiculous to think that doing something one time is going to cure anything than thinking that one cookie-cutter program is all you ever need. Just in these few short years we have seen an abundance of changes (record low unemployment, changing oil specifications and a ton of labor and business laws). In your own shop you have seen different employees, changing customer demographics and products to offer.

Immediately go back and evaluate the changes you have made and compare them to the baseline that you had previously set. If the changes did not meet your current objectives, you either have not put enough time into the change or have put the wrong application into your system. There are some objectives such as car count that may not have immediate comparison points. 

If you feel the time has been put in and you don’t have what you need, you will have to repeat as necessary. It may not be the ideal “short-term economical” investment, but you must consider that your wallet needs to be filled with long term solutions from fixing short term problems.

Doing Your Homework

There is no doubt your shop and procedures can use a little cleaning up. Your business will never achieve greatness when you are out there accepting “good.” Take a moment to look at your business and how a good cleaning will benefit you and your team. 

Understand that you have to dive in, remove the impurities and repeat as necessary. Decide that you can really make a difference in your team, and then read my next few articles. Or think your people skills are top notch and watch your people go to the competitors and succeed. It’s your wallet after all. Until then, be great!

About the Author

Lenny Saucier

LENNY SAUCIER has been serving the automotive aftermarket and its future leaders since 2000. He serves as director of retail training at Fullspeed Automotive. He can be reached at [email protected].

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