By: MWACA President Tim Davison
DO YOU KNOW THE OLD SAYING “RIGHT PERSON… WRONG SEAT”? This topic was brought up in two separate but recent conversations I had. And since it was “top of mind,” this compelled me to make it the topic of this president’s message.
I feel we have all seen issues like this happen. “Jimmy,” an excellent tech who wants to become a service advisor, but lacks the skills to work with people. Or “Steve,” a people person and great service advisor, but lacks the skill set to be a good tech. No one wants to break the news to Jimmy or Steve. Remember watching American Idol and that individual that would sing their heart out in front of the whole world? Then we all sit back and wonder, does this person not have any friends to give them the courtesy of warning them they cannot sing?
Twenty years ago, I found myself in a similar position. I thought I was a good tech and that after buying an existing operation, I could learn how to run the business while working in it. Boy, was I wrong! That learning curve cost me as much as a four-year college degree. After that awakening, I shifted my hat to the owner and let someone else pull the wrenches. (Another option could have been to hire a manager or an advisor to cover for me as a tech. This option has worked for some of my friends.) Looking back, I know that I made the right choice in hiring expert technicians to work in the shop while I focused on becoming a better shop owner and worked on my business.
As I talk with shop owners that have admitted to having “switched hats” from the focus on fixing cars to focusing on people, numbers, and all the things that owners and managers do, I find our stories similar. Somewhere between years 5 and 10, we all realize it is time to stop “working in the business” and begin to “work on the business.” We were in the wrong seat, and we changed to be in the correct seat, so to speak.
Do you know your strengths and weaknesses? Get training, take a personality test, read books, listen to podcasts, and connect with fellow shop owners. It’s time to focus on YOU and grow yourself. I have faith that you can do this!