Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Achieve Relentless Success at Your Shop

The biggest room in the world is the room for improvement. Helmut Schmidt

In his book, Relentless, From Good To Great To Unstoppable, Tim Grover tells the story of how he became the personal trainer of choice for professional basketball players in the NBA.

Back in the late 1980s, Tim was a 25-year-old, with no prior experience working with pro athletes. He was hoping to get his big break.

He picked up the phone and contacted the local team offering his performance improvement services.  He called all twelve players on the roster leaving messages for them to get back with him. Eleven of the twelve ignored the call.

The local team he reached out to was the Chicago Bulls. The only player who returned his phone call was Michael Jordan.

By now you may be thinking; “Great Story Twiggs, but why was Jordan, the Top NBA player, the most interested in performance improvement?”

It’s the same reason that the Top Shop Owners are the most active in their 20 Groups, watch the most training webinars, and attend the most SuperConferences.

Michael Jordan and the Top Shop owners recognize the following truth:  You don’t have to be bad to get better!  

Once you embrace this idea, you can achieve relentless success at your shop.

The Biggest Barrier to Relentless Success

Several years ago, I was assigned a new shop. The owners sent their service advisor named “Sam” to the service advisors class in Baltimore.

I noticed that Sam was sitting in the back of the room with his arms folded. He was wearing a frown on his face.

Before I could say “hello,” he interrupted me with the following statement, “I don’t know why they sent me here! I don’t need training! I’ve been doing this for 20 years and could teach this class!

Later I spoke with his Shop Owner and was “shocked” to discover that Sam ranked third out of the shop’s three service advisors in EVERY measurable performance category!

My experience with Sam brought the following trend to my attention: Those who are the most resistant to training, are also the least likely to become successful.

They never get better because they mistake the need for improvement as a sign of weakness. Do you know anyone who has this problem? Do they work at your shop? Did you see them in your mirror this morning?

The belief that the need for improvement is a sign of weakness is the barrier that will keep you from experiencing relentless success. As you read on you will uncover the critical step, that can break down this barrier, and allow you to experience the success you desire.

Start with Yourself

Years ago, I was taking a leadership class, and the instructor had us do an interesting exercise.  He asked everyone to stand and stretch our arms pointing our index fingers to our opposite sides. As he was speaking, he demonstrated this behavior in front of us so that we could see his example.

Next, he asked us to take both index fingers and touch our chin. But this time, while he was telling us to touch our chin, he intentionally demonstrated a different behavior by touching his nose. 

About 90% of the class ignored his verbal instruction and touched their noses even though he said to do otherwise. In other words, his demonstration spoke louder than his words.

When it comes to continuous personal improvement, what behaviors are you demonstrating in front of your team?

If you’re always reading self-improvement books, your people are more likely to become readers as well.

However, if you tell your technician to get current with his ASE certifications, but you aren’t current with your ATI classes, he may pay closer attention to what you do, than what you say! Your demonstration is speaking louder than your words. 

If you mistake the need for improvement, as a sign of weakness, then so will he. The critical step to achieving relentless success at your shop is for YOU to do at least one personal improvement activity every day.

The following are examples of personal improvement activities to get you started.  I have included links to help you access additional information.


So, there you have it. Michael Jordan is arguably the greatest ever to play the game. He never viewed the need for improvement as a sign of weakness. Instead, he led by example and demonstrated the right behaviors.

If you commit to doing the same, you can be like Mike, and achieve relentless success at your shop!

P.S. Looking to provide training for your technicians, but don’t know where to start? Email to receive my Top 5 Technician Training Sites.

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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.