Auto Service World
News   November 1, 2023   by Adam Malik

Key advice from these industry leaders

When Bill Long, Larry Pavey and John Washbish are offering you advice, it’s a good idea to listen.

The three automotive aftermarket veterans took part in a webinar where, apart from sharing some good stories, gave their thoughts on where the industry is headed and what up-and-coming professionals need to do to advance their careers.

If you’re looking to promote yourself, don’t wait to get noticed by your boss, said Washbish, president and CEO of the Aftermarket Auto Parts Alliance. Go to them and ask where you can help.

“What do you need me to do? What do you want me to do for you? Where do you need me to go?” are what you need to ask your boss.

That was echoed by Pavey, CEO of the Automotive Parts Services Group (also known as The Group). Being willing to move around and take on new tasks shows your commitment to the company.

And if you have a great idea that you think would help the company, make sure you do your homework before taking it to a higher level. What’s the needed investment? What needs to change for it to happen?

When people walk through the doors and just have an idea, the boss is usually too distracted and too busy to weigh the pros and cons.

“If you’re going to bring your boss one, let’s have some numbers behind,” Washbish recommended.

Long, president and CEO of MEMA, which includes OEM and aftermarket supplier members, agreed with this.

“I found along the way to try to put myself in my boss’ shoes,” he said. What is he or she thinking? What’s keeping them up at night?”

How many times have you as an employee wondered why a certain decision was made? When you put yourself in their shoes, you start to understand why things were done in a particular manner.

“So it helped me really have a better understanding and insight of, what are the key issues that the organization is trying to tackle? I found it helped ease some of the frustrations about decisions that were being made because I’ve always kind of taken the approach [of], ‘If it was my decision, what would I do?’ Long said. “And for young people in the industry, and really anybody in their career journey, just trying to have that perspective, I think, helps go a long, long way.”

Pavey’s additional advice to anyone came from an old mentor who once told him that when you don’t know what to do, always do what’s right.

“And I think that’s the best advice I could give anybody pretty much about anything,” he said.

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