Groundhog Day
Remember the movie Groundhog Day where everyday was the same? You know, we work long hours and spend a lot of our time in the shop. After a while it can seem like we are living the movie. Working in a transmission shop can get boring when you do it day after day, year after year. So, what can we do to break up the monotony?
I remember when I first got in the business. I was glad to have a shop to sell out of. I was selling home improvement and driving to five different appointments every day. The customer came to me in this business. I loved it. It was like getting to stay home all day. I wasn’t on the run all the time now. I would cook breakfast every day. We had a TV out in the lobby and all of us had fun with each other and the customers.
Going to work was fun and challenging. I had a new business to learn and I had a great team that I liked to work with. They were always messing with me and taking advantage of me being green. They taught me the nuts and bolts of the business and made it fun.
As time went on things changed. The team slowly broke up. I stopped learning and it wasn’t fun anymore. The new had worn off. The new employees were taking advantage of my good nature. The customers started to get on my nerves and I wasn’t any fun to be around anymore. I didn’t even like myself. I wasn’t learning anything because I thought I knew everything. I was bored. How did this happen?
When I was growing up, my Mom used to say “If you are bored it might be because you are just being lazy.” There is a lot of truth to that. We all get complacent sometimes in our life. It can come after we have reached a goal or after we have suffered a loss. Sometimes we just get beat down and burned out. We can get complacent and not even know it. When it gets like that, It becomes Groundhog Day. If you are lazy it will stay Groundhog Day. In order to break the monotony we have to keep work fun and challenging. That requires effort. What can we do to break the monotony?
Hire the right people
You have to go to work and deal with people all day. Why not get people around you who you like? Back when I was a manager I went to work for an owner who had a shop that was losing money. His builder was an amateur with an attitude. He had been there five years and was friends with the owner. So, I asked the owner to hire a real builder who I could work with. I told him about a builder who could carry the mail, but he also was a ball to work with and kept everybody laughing all day. Once he was on board the atmosphere in the shop totally changed. He could actually fix something instead of just working on it, which made everybody’s job easier, and his good attitude all day, every day was contagious.  He was a real team player and the rest of the team liked to work with him too. Now, I looked forward to going to work.  All because I got rid of the builder with the bad attitude and replaced him with a builder that was a team player.
Keep it challenging
We all need to be challenged. It is healthy to try to get better at what we do. Without the challenge we become complacent and bored. So, how do we challenge ourselves? Some shop owners take the whole shop to the training available at the trade shows, seminars and trade associations. Training is a priority to these shops and helps to keep everybody challenged to learn more and get better at their profession.
Other shop owners use contests to keep it challenging. This comes in the form of a performance-based contest that rewards individual employees and the team as a whole. They set up bonus numbers for each employee and for the team. When they reach their goals they are rewarded. The rewards range from cash money to tickets to major sporting events. The challenges change and the rewards change to keep things interesting and challenging.
Make work fun
Keep a good sense of humor. I think this is the most important thing you can do to keep from getting bored. It kind of ties in with hiring the right people. If you hire people who have a good attitude and a good sense of humor, you have people around to have fun with. Things happen and when they do, you can either laugh or cry. Making a joke or laughing about problems and issues helps keep things fun when things are at their worst. Misery loves company.
Bottom line, complacency in the shop costs us money. So, we should have a plan to keep it under control. Here it is in a nutshell. Never put yourself in a position to have to work with people who are not team players. Learn everything you can and get better at your job every day no matter what. Work hard to achieve production goals and, above all, keep your sense of humor and positive attitude. This plan will make Mom proud of you and chances are, you will also avoid those money-draining Groundhog Days.
Art Little is the founder of TransTeam, a management support company that provides transmission shop owners with employees, training and leads. The popular TransTeam website has served as the National Employment Headquarters for the transmission industry since 1997. Online training and certification testing for transmission shop center managers are also available at the site. The Nationwide TransTeam Wholesale Club is generating low-cost internet leads for TransTeam shop owner members nationwide now. If you need help with recruiting employees, training or lead generation, visit the website or call Art at 888-859-0994.
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