Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Can You Change the Channel?

“Hey, can you change the channel?” Some of us have asked this question at one point in time or another or may have been the one who was asked. In either circumstance, we’re well versed in the wonderful feeling or plight of holding or not holding the remote control. One person in this scenario possesses the power of what is being watched. The other person has to either plead their side or accept that they won’t get their way this time around. How does this relate to how we carry our business, and on a bigger scale our lives? It reveals that we should concentrate on things we can control, and at the same time recognize sometimes things don’t go our way.

Outside Factors and Controls

There are outside factors in our lives that for some, have thrown us into an unnecessary frenzy or made us lose focus of what’s important. Regardless of what transpired in 2020, an election, covid-19, or any other tribulations, even if you tried to ignore them, these topics tried their best to bleed into our lives. But now, we need to recognize that we’re more than halfway through 2021. We’re the ones that have the choice to either take the best step forward or not. What does this mean? It’s our call to get caught up with things that we can’t control and may unnecessarily consume our time and efforts.

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Then there are guardrails that we have to work within. Multiple places we visit have ropes to tell us where to stand, ushers to guide us in the right direction and into our seats, arrows painted on the ground so we know where to drive when picking up our kids at school. You shouldn’t be jumping the curb and parking in front of the main door. We may have our parking lots painted advising of where not to park, what’s reserved for the handicapped, maybe a quick-lane for air pressure checks. What are all of these? Controls. Without them, cars will be parked crooked, a mosh pit of people won’t deduce on their own which direction to go, and time wasted by all. These same tried and true controls will make us give non-compliers crooked looks wondering “where do you think you’re going?”

Set an Example

Our employees are going to mimic how we carry ourselves for the better or for the worse. If we find them caught up in a trend from social media, talking in a fever about politics and things of the sort, we can’t hold them accountable if we perpetuate the same habits. We have to show them what a great example is by carrying ourselves professionally. This includes but isn’t limited to work ethic, how we treat others, and the ability to resolve problems, not create them. Do we get hot-headed sometimes? Sure, who doesn’t? But we’re in a position that how we conduct ourselves influences the environment everyone has to work in.

There are rules in place that we all need to conserve peace and order between all of us. What is an example of a tried and true control? A current trip to the airport involves a security process where shoes have to come off, laptops in their own container, and we may go through a body scan. Now masks have crept into the flying experience, and it’s up to us if we “go with the flow” or let it interrupt our lives. You can’t walk up to a vehicle registration window at the DMV and expect them to take a picture for your license. There are different people performing different jobs and we have to work within that structure.

Effective Leadership

It’s up to us to be effective leaders and come up with productive ways of carrying ourselves professionally within limitations bestowed upon us. Sure we can challenge them, but we have to objectively evaluate if it’s time well spent or are there “bigger fish to fry?” Based on the community we’re in, there are local rules we may encounter that may not uniformly apply in other areas. Some of us feel we need to devote our time and energy to question why things are so instead of looking at why car count is dropping, why are margins thinning, and why employees are leaving. Hey! Those are things you can control!

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Koole Bolina is a Performance Coach at ATI and has been in the automotive industry since 1998. Starting with a personal interest in automotive repairs, he continues to be part of car clubs, drag racing and keeping up with industry trends. Koole loves to positively influence those who want to do better, be better. If the industry we happen to do business in is the automotive field, that makes it all the better.