Shop Cultures Thrive on Values

Nov. 16, 2021

Two industry veterans share their strategies for excellent shop culture.

LAS  VEGAS Nov. 16, 2021—Two industry veterans laid out a blueprint for winning shop cultures as part of the second day of education at iFLEX 2021.

The strategies were based in communication, integrity, and empowerment for your team.

“The example we set as a leader, as an owner, it matters. But we need to ask ourselves, what type of example are we setting for our team?” said Amber Kossak, CEO of Solid Start.

It’s not only important to set an example, but operators should be effective in spreading good values and habits. It’s crucial not only to grow a positive culture throughout the operation, but it is the way that an owner’s values get to the customer level.

Oil Changers President Eric Frankenberger put it like this: As an owner, operator, or manager, who is your most direct customer? It’s the team members who serve drivers.

“If you want them to exceed expectations when a guest comes into the store, then you have to exceed their expectations,” Frankenberger said.

Spread Values

Frankenberger and Kossak told stories about how they try to uphold and spread culture values in their organizations. It’s not an easy task; there’s a lot of practice involved, and operators need to put in the time, even when their management duties are pressing, Kossak said.

“No matter the stress that you're going through as an owner, a leader, a manger, you have to take yourself out of the equation and spend time on your people,” she said.

8 Key Traits of Great Company Culture

  • Listening
  • Communication
  • Kindness
  • Empathy
  • Patience
  • Understanding
  • Perception
  • Proactivity

That means taking special care for employees in times of need. Frankenberger recalled a story from years ago, when he was working through a serious injury that required him to re-learn how to walk. The company stood behind him, offering resources and helping him to succeed all the way up to his position as company president.

Through that kind of effort put into communication, a strong shop culture can permeate throughout large and small operations. Kossak repeated a truism that her father often said that underscores the strive toward excellence.

“If better is possible, good is simply not enough,” she said.

About the Author

Matt Hudson | Content Director

Matt Hudson is the former content director for National Oil and Lube News.