Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Get More Buy-In at Your Shop

“When a team takes ownership of the problem, the problem gets solved.”Jocko Willink

Think back on all your extended vacations. How many times did you take the rental car to the car wash? I conducted an official survey of a select group of leaders who have high attention to detail.

I added their combined total of lifetime rental car washes and placed their numbers into my special spreadsheet. The total came to zero!

You have never washed the rental car! Why? It’s because you didn’t own it, and you place a higher value on things that you own.

Why aren’t your technicians buying into the courtesy check process? Why aren’t your advisors buying into exit scheduling?

Your processes are like that rental car: They don’t value it, because they don’t own it!

Keep reading to discover two steps you can take to get more buy-in at your shop.

Ideas to grow your businessDiscover valuable tips and strategies for how to get more buy-in at your shop, improve your bottom-line, and grow your business. Register for ATI’s free webinar.

1. The Debrief

The ATI Fundamental number 15 says to, “Speak the Unvarnished Truth.” I believe that most shops are failing at this fundamental.

You aren’t failing to “tell it like it is” when you observe your advisor ignoring the exit appointment.

You’re not failing at being brutally honest when you notice the courtesy check has been completed using invisible ink!

But have you created a shop culture where your people can speak the unvarnished truth to you?

The reason most shops fail at this is that most employees come from cultures where telling the boss the truth is considered a “Career Limiting Move.” (CLM)

Do you have a CLM culture at your shop? The solution is to implement the debrief.

The military is famous for conducting debrief sessions. During the meeting, everyone removes the rank from their shoulders and gives an honest assessment of the mission.

It’s an environment where people can speak the unvarnished truth. The low ranking private can provide honest feedback to the high-ranking captain without fearing the consequences.

The good news is that you don’t have to be in the military to have a debrief session. You can get everyone together to provide an honest assessment of the shop.

I challenge you to follow the eating the elephant process by providing your people with notebooks and having them list what’s going well, and what needs to be improved.

After celebrating the wins, take the time to agree on the top two items to be improved.

2. The Follow-Up

Back when I was a district manager, we would have these great shop meetings, get great ideas from the team, but still struggled to get them to buy in and own the processes.

The employees had experienced many meetings in the past where ideas were communicated on the front end, without any follow-up on the back end.

Since there was no follow-up, they perceived the ideas as just being “the flavor of the month.”

For example, instead of implementing the new courtesy check process, the more experienced techs would ignore it, believing that this “flavor of the month” would eventually pass, just like last time.

This makes a follow-up a critical step. Once you have identified the top two areas for improvement, be sure to document who is going to do what and by when. From there you would schedule the next meeting around the established deadlines.

By following up, you are saying: “This is not going away!” The combination of employee-generated ideas and owner-initiated follow-up will lead to more buy-in.


So, there you have it. Your technician may share an idea that improves your courtesy checks. Your advisor may share an idea to enhance your exit appointments.

By implementing the debrief and the follow-up, you will get more buy-in from them. They will stop treating your process like their rental car!

For more tips on how to get more buy-in and run a productive, profitable shop, check out our free webinar.

Print Friendly
Related Articles:
Eric, the Accountability Coach, is an Executive Coach at ATI and has coached since 2009. Eric came to ATI having managed over 60 different automotive repair facilities and having supervised over 500 employees at a given time. He loves seeing members progress beyond what they thought was possible and improve their shop to the point where they can leave for weeks at a time and come back to a business that's better than when they left.