Auto Service World
News   February 7, 2023   by Adam Malik

The importance of culture in your shop

Image credit:

Shops that scoff at the importance of culture likely won’t make it very far these days, warned an executive coach.

If your team isn’t getting things done to your standards, the problem lies in your culture, not strategy, explained Brandon Smith, an executive coach and ‘workplace therapist.’

“You can set the greatest strategy in the world. But if you don’t separate culture to support it, you’re going to get really frustrated,” he told shop owners at NAPA Expo 2022.

In an age where shops are struggling to attract qualified talent and technicians can jump from one shop to another with ease if they don’t like their current environment, having a strong culture is as important as it has ever been.

Smith said culture answers two questions: “Who are we?” and “How do we choose to operate?”

For the former, that means creating a business where everyone working there is proud to work there; they’ll wear a company shirt on their day off, for example. The latter focuses on operational excellence and execution. Culture isn’t about being touchy-feely, Smith explained. It’s about getting results.

Culture is also what happens when you’re not around — have you, as the owner, set the culture in your shop so that it can operate as a well-oiled machine when you leave for the day or take a vacation? Parents of teenagers can relate — what happens at home when the parents aren’t there? The culture of your home will dictate what happens. Same as your business.

The goal of every business should be to create a culture where it can operate independently of the leader, Smith explained.

He also encouraged owners to have five positive interactions with staff to build positivity in the shop. An older version of this term may have been known as positive feedback but Smith prefers “interactions” because it can be anything from a funny joke to a story about the weekend — anything that is positive. It’s not simply cheerleading and patting them on the back after a job well done.

“Those positive interactions are really, really important as we’re trying to not only increase engagement, but also help to reinforce what folks are doing and doing well,” Smith said.

Print this page


Have your say:

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *