Most shop owners can attest to this truth: Success doesn’t happen overnight or by accident. When you plan, strategize, and maintain the right mindset, it creates sustained performance. Pablo Picasso said, “Our goals can only be reached through the vehicle of a plan. There is no other route to success.”
Unfortunately, most shop owners ignore this sound advice. Instead, they jump from one year to the next without much thought to strategy or planning. According to research leaders spend less than one hour per month discussing strategy, and over 50% spend no time at all.
New Shop Strategy
The best shop owners spent dedicated time on a strategy to create focused execution. A strategy, by definition, is a plan of action intended to accomplish a specific goal. While most shops registered on MotorSupplyCo, take the advice of their Automotive Training Institute Coach and create a plan of action to accomplish specific goals in the new year, some don’t.
Instead, they roll into the new year by raising their cars per week goal and hope the shop achieves the new target. The problem is “hope is not a strategy.” So, whether you’ve spent a lot of time on strategy and planning yet or not, here are three key moves to boost your shop’s performance in the new year.
1. Define New Goals
One of the most popular excuses we hear from shop owners who fail to meet their goals is, “my employees aren’t good enough.” While talent could be lacking, employees are never the only problem. Edward Deming, the father of change management, said it well, “Employees are not the problem. The problem is the system and leaders are responsible for the system.”
If your shop isn’t meeting your shop goals, there is a good chance it’s for one of four reasons:
– Clarity about the goals
– Commitment to the goals
– Agreement to the goals
– Coaching to achieve the goals
Now is the time to avoid these pitfalls, get crystal clear on what your shop will achieve in the new year.
2. Evaluate Shop Costs
Unfortunately, rarely do shop owners stop and consider the costs of the products that help them run their shop. With the supply shortages facing the auto industry, costs have skyrocketed in the last 12 months.
Take motor oil as an example. In 2021, the average price increase was 90% across major brands like Castrol, Exxon, Chevron, and Citgo among others. These increases are attributed to the rising costs of raw materials, manufacturing, and transportation. However, each of these providers have been impacted in different ways, which means evaluating the costs of quality products such as oil is an excellent strategy to maximize profitability for your shop.
3. Set the Crossbars, Standards, and Shelters
After speaking with over 500 auto shop owners this year, it’s clear world class shops are a “Center of Excellence.” The shop owner and techicians are bought into the idea of excellence and the behaviors required to surpass ordinary standards year in and year out.
To emulate these shops, focus on crossbars, standards, and shelters. If you aren’t familiar with the idea, it comes for the sport of High Jumping. The crossbar is the height in which the athlete must clear. The standards adjust the height of the crossbar. The shelter provides a safe place to land.
Your job as a shop owner is to set inspirational crossbars (goals), define clear standards of behavior that are required to achieve those goals (standards), then create a psychologically safe environment for people to perform at their best (shelters).
At the end of each year, I often reflect on the wise words of the late Colin Powell to prepare myself for success in the new year, “If you are going to achieve excellence in big things, you develop the habit in the little matters. Excellence is not an exception; it’s a prevailing attitude.”
There has never been a better time to focus on the little things in your shop than the present. I hope you will make dedicated time to strategize and plan around some of these ideas to help set your shop up for success in the new year.