Auto Shop Coaching Blog

The Difference Between Success & Failure at Your Shop

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

What’s the difference between success and failure at your shop? As I wrestle with this question, I’m reminded of two stories. First, there’s the story of Kano Jigoro who was considered to be the father of Judo.

He’s credited with creating the belt system to measure martial arts rank and skill level. He was a highly skilled black belt master. On his death bed, Kano had one request of his students:

“Bury me in my white belt!”

Next, there’s the story of “Sam,” a service manager who works for a shop near you. (Not yours, of course!)

Upon review of the portal dashboard rankings, you’ll find that Sam’s location ranks at the bottom of the nation in Average Repair Order, Parts Margin, and Gross Profit Margin.

If automotive service were a martial art, Sam would be the equivalent of a white belt! When Sam returned after attending Randy’s service advisor class, he had one request:

“Don’t send me back to ATI! It was a waste of time because I already knew all that stuff!

Kano and Sam give us the answer to my opening question. Keep reading to discover the details.

Ideas to grow your businessAre you struggling with success at your shop? Discover tips and strategies in ATI’s shop owner events that will help you find the edge you need to move from failure to success and elevate your business. Register today at

Your Mindset

Do you have a growth or a fixed mindset? I decided to bring in a famous psychologist to help you decide!

In her groundbreaking book Mindset: The New Psychology of Success, Dr. Carol Dweck helps us to determine the difference.

According to Dweck, if you have a growth mindset, you believe your abilities can develop through dedication, determination, and discipline.

You love learning new things and tend to view failure as feedback. In other words, you see your setback as a setup for a comeback.

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe your abilities are fixed traits that can’t be changed. You’re less likely to complete your classes and more likely to quit in the face of adversity. You tend to view failure as fatal.

Embracing the right mindset will determine the difference between success and failure at your shop.

ATI Fundamental #9 teaches us that strong processes are the foundation of success.

If you have a growth mindset, you will be more likely to adopt and adhere to the right processes.

If you have a fixed mindset, you believe that you already know everything and that getting better doesn’t matter.

By now, you may be thinking: “Thanks for sharing Twiggs, but I already knew this! I’m looking for that new magic pill that will instantly fix my shop!”

I will respond with both good news and bad news. The bad news is that this is a classic example of a fixed mindset!

The good news is that you can get your black belt in the martial art of mindset if you embrace what I’m about to share!

The Little Nuggets

Whenever I pop my head into one of the ATI Shop Owners classes, I notice an interesting trend: I will see one of the shop owners recognized on stage as a member of the Top 12 sitting towards the front of the room.

I used to wonder why someone at “the black belt level” of our program felt the need to go back and review the basics.

And then it hit me.

It’s the little nuggets that lead to large numbers!

The typical new ATI member attending a class for the first time is looking for the big chunk of content that will change their business.

Whenever you attend a class the second time, you’re looking for the little nugget of information that was covered initially, but you either missed or forgot about it.

The Top Shop Owners are always looking for the little nuggets that will give them the necessary edge. It could be one thing that Randy says during class, one comment made by another attendee, or one role-play exercise that makes their trip to Baltimore worthwhile.

You may be one little nugget away from getting to your next level! Embracing this idea can help you to adopt a growth mindset. Below are some ideas to help you gain the edge you seek:

  • Watch at least one training webinar per week
  • Read at least one book per month
  • Attend SuperConference every year
  • Attend your 20 Group meetings
  • Stay current with your ATI class requirements
  • Listen to audiobooks and podcasts during your commute


So, there you have it. Your mindset will determine whether you succeed or fail. The top shop owners attend classes in search of the little nuggets that will give them an edge.

Kano, the father of Judo, wanted to be remembered as a lifelong learner with a growth mindset.

How do you want to be remembered?

At ATI, we focus on teaching and coaching shop owners on best practices to get the most out of your automotive repair business. Want to learn more? Find an ATI shop owner event near you.

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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.