Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How to Get the Jump on Your Competition

"Average leaders raise the bar on themselves; good leaders raise the bar for others; great leaders inspire others to raise their own bar."Orrin Woodward

Have you ever wondered what you could do to get the jump on your competition? The answer came to me as I was watching a video presentation that was conducted by motivational speaker Gary Ryan Blair where he provided the following detailed data on the sporting event known as the competitive high jump.

During the competition, a bar is placed between two poles and the athlete is challenged to jump over it to the other side.

Once the competitor clears the initial height, the bar is raised. Whoever can clear the highest level is the winner.

During the first recorded high jump, the winner cleared a height of 5 feet, 6 inches. Several years later the bar was raised to a world record 6 feet, 5.5 inches. To clear that height, the jumpers used a method known as “the scissor kick.”

The athlete would approach the bar backward, jumping over it while kicking the first leg over and then the second. The first athlete to do the scissor kick was able to set a new world record.

The scissor kick worked fine until it was time to raise the bar. Competitors developed what’s known as the western roll, where the jumper approached the bar facing forward, kicking the inside leg up and clearing the bar belly first. The first user of the western roll technique established a new world record.

The western roll worked fine until it was time to raise the bar. In 1967, an athlete named Dick Fosbury invented “the Fosbury Flop” where the jumper twists his body and goes over the bar on his back. This technique caused the world record to be raised three different times!

Raise the Bar

Now, I know what you’re thinking: “Great info Twiggs, but what does this have to do with me?” 

Well, in the competitive climate of automotive service, the bar is constantly being raised. If you’re still doing “the scissor kick,” your attempts to clear the new height will “flop.” 

You’ve heard of “always be hiring” right? Sounds great, but your competition has signs and ads everywhere, just like you do.

You’re familiar with the phrase “always be marketing!” Well, so is the shop down the road. They use blimps, banners, and billboards just like you do.

Here’s the big takeaway from the high jump Illustration: the best way to get the jump on your competition is to “always be improving.”

Committing to consistent improvement is an uncomfortable journey. It requires choosing to play the long game, instead of seeking immediate gratification.

Since most people are unwilling to do what’s uncomfortable, this level of commitment will differentiate you in your market.

Stay with me to learn how you can embrace the “always be improving” mindset so that you get the jump on your competition. 

Own Your Results

“Eric, there aren’t any good technicians out here anymore!” This is what a shop owner named “John” said to me a few weeks ago.

He would spend 80% of his time working IN his business as the “A” technician. John and I agreed that finding the right technician was his biggest problem.

So, I asked: “John, how many candidates did you interview during the month of June?” I could hear the crickets on his side of the phone.

To which I replied, “Ok, how many interviews did you conduct in May?” All I heard was the sound of silence.

Since John didn’t believe the results were his fault, he didn’t make any attempts to improve is methods.

After our conversation, John took full ownership of his situation, by admitting that HE was responsible for his staffing levels. As a result, he was able to commit to interview a minimum of two candidates per week.

We agreed that if he couldn’t find two people to interview, he would continue to improve his advertising and networking methods until he cleared the “two interviews per week” bar.  

Before you laugh at John, please answer the following question: What specific results in YOUR business do YOU need to start owning?


So, there you have it. If Dick Fosbury had blamed the weather, the stadium, and the bar height, for his failures, he would have never invented a new method to succeed.

Likewise, if you commit to owning your results, you can always be improving, and get the jump on your competition. Your accountant will need to raise the bar on your next profit forecast!

P.S.  Email me at to receive a checklist to help you create new methods to clear the car count bar.

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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.