Auto Shop Coaching Blog

Fresh Perspective is Already Within Your Shop

When you need a fresh perspective, look to your left and your right. Quite a few ATI members signup for our coaching program so they can be made aware of where their business stands and, more importantly, get a new perspective on how to run things. It’s understood that more heads in the game will produce better results because we all have different backgrounds, experiences, and personalities. However, we need to ensure that we do our best to be objective while giving the personnel that makes up our business the ability to chime in.

Honest Feedback is Key

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Best business habits have shown that a high-level onboarding process, daily huddles, and shop meetings where our people can freely give feedback on what is transpiring are concrete ways for the business to do well. Suppose during these get-togethers we monopolize the speaking time and don’t allow our people ample ability to explain their thought process or voice what they see should be made better. Why ask anyone else to evaluate the problem if the solution may reside in our four walls? The solution — make sure we mean it when we ask for feedback.

Try 1-on-1 Sessions

Some people may have personalities that keep them from being open in a group environment. Some may feel they don’t want to ruffle feathers and keep things status quo. In either case, it’s on us to get our people involved and allow them to help resolve issues that affect all of us. 1-on-1 meetings can help close the gap for those who are not comfortable in a group environment.

Proper 1-on-1 structure dictates it should be scheduled for a specific day and time per person, and occur at a known frequency, ideally weekly. The nature of 1-on-1s is to blend personal connections and business talk, so don’t lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. Take notes of what was discussed and ensure agendas are put in place. That way, in future get-togethers, you know to take over where you left off.

Individual Sessions Create a No Judgement Zone

When trying to resolve a shop or company-wide issue that impacts many, this is a perfect environment where a person will feel free to talk and not have judgment as an anxiety issue. For a new employees, this conversation holds a lot of weight as they may naturally make comparisons of a prior employer to where they are now. Examples would be, “So why do you do it this way?” “That’s inefficient and has too many steps. Have you tried this?” As leaders, we must ask the right questions to get valuable feedback and understand that their perspective is fresh compared to ours, which is tainted by time.

Different Perspectives Allow Efficient Workflows

An example of perspectives making a difference would be where different positions were confronted with the same issue. Let’s try workflow that is causing productivity to be capped at a less-than-ideal level. It is possible advisors see that dispatch isn’t assigning vehicles to the correct technician based on experience. Maybe dispatch doesn’t know when a vehicle is due back to the customer because the work-in-progress screen isn’t updated as it should be.

The technician may not know their parts are in because they haven’t been handed to them, or an electronic notification process isn’t being used. In this scenario, each position has its gripe and most likely lives the mistakes every day, which leads to the important question — what’s being done to change it? They all need a way to convey a change is needed, what is suggested, all can weigh in, and voila! A new, more efficient way to handle workflow.

What other examples could we use where our people can be sourced to resolve a known problem? I don’t know — ask in your next meeting and sit back and listen.

Non-ATI Members: Want to learn more about tracking labor and other strategies to improve your business? Start with a shop owner event at We offer virtual and in-person events, fee-based and free, for both auto repair and collision repair shop owners. Find one near you today!

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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.