Auto Shop Coaching Blog

How To Profit From Your Biggest Problem

Don't be upset by the results you didn't get from the work you didn't do.

The San Antonio Spurs are one of the most successful franchises in professional basketball.  They’ve won five NBA Championships and have the highest regular season winning percentage in league history.

With all their success, the Spurs still have the same big problem as you.

Their Coach, Greg Poppovich, has instilled a culture and a mindset with the players that inspires them to profit from this problem.

Hanging in their locker room is the following quote from a social reformer named Jacob Riis:

“When nothing seems to help, I go and look at a stone cutter hammering away at his rock, perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it.  Yet at the hundred and first blow, it will split in two, and I know it was not that last blow that did it-but all that had gone before it.

Here’s your biggest problem: Everything you do counts for something, but nothing counts for everything.  

If you were to interview Coach Poppovich, and ask him to tell you the one thing he did, to win the championship, his initial response would be to laugh at your question!

After he finished laughing, he would explain that there isn’t “just one thing” that can be done to accomplish a major goal. 

Certain shop owners have gotten upset with me over the years, because they think I’m hiding a secret.  They think I have that one thing in my back pocket that will instantly grow their car count, attract the best ‘A’ technician, and improve their business to the point where they no longer need to come in!

Their current situation developed over 30 years, but they expect an instant solution from me within 30 days. Are you like “certain shop owners?”

I challenge you to become like the stone cutter and keep hammering away. But first, let’s get a better understanding as to where your expectation of instant results comes from.

The Microwave Philosophy

I remember my first computer back in the mid-1990s.  To access the internet, I had to go through dial up on my desktop. But that wasn’t fast enough.

Later, technology improved to where I could access hi speed internet by connecting an Ethernet cable to my laptop. Still, that wasn’t fast enough.

Today, I don’t need an Ethernet cable, a desktop computer, or a laptop.  I can touch my phone and instantly access the internet. This advancing technology has created the following microwave philosophy: “It’s not better unless it’s faster. ”  

The problem with this philosophy is that success is a process and not an event. If you’re conditioned to expect instant results, you will be less likely to commit to the long game.

Coach Popovich recognized how easy it was for his players to expect instant results. That’s why he positioned the stone cutters quote by the locker-room exit, forcing each player to view it on their way to the court.

Now that you know why you expect instant results, you are ready to profit from your biggest problem!

Get 1% Better

As I mentioned earlier, your biggest problem is that everything you do counts for something, but nothing counts for everything.  The key to profiting from this problem is to focus on getting 1% better every day. 

In his book Atomic Habits, James Clear tells the story of the British Cycling Team that had a 110 year history of losing.

They had only won a single gold medal in the Olympics and had never won the Tour De France.  But everything changed when they hired Dave Brailsford in 2003 to take over as the performance director.

He broke down all the details that went into bike riding and focused on a daily goal of getting 1% better.  He made small, daily improvements to things like the bike seats, tire traction, and the racing suits.   Each improvement felt insignificant at the time.

After 5 years of making daily 1% improvements, this racing team that had only won a single gold medal in 110 years, won 60% of the gold medals available at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games.  

What’s possible for your shop, if you get 1% better every day?    

According to Clear’s research, if you get 1% better every day, you will be 37 times better this time next year.    

For example, watching a sales training video for 5 minutes a day can make you 37 times better at the art of selling. 

Reading a marketing book for 10 minutes a day can make you 37 times better at improving your car count.  Listening to a webinar on effective communication for 15 minutes a day can make you 37 time better at communicating with your people. 

When YOU get better, you will attract better employees.  When you attract better employees, they will attract better customers. The end result of everyone getting better, is you profiting from your biggest problem!


So, there you have it.  During the post-game interviews, the most commonly heard phrase in the San Antonio Spurs locker room is, “we have to keep pounding the rock!”

Pounding the rock won’t result in you winning a championship, but it can get more of your customers to “give you a ring!”

P.S. Looking to get better but don’t know where to start?  Email to receive a checklist of The 5 Key Processes That Lead to More Profit.
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.