Auto Service World
News   August 17, 2023   by Adam Malik

Why being an accountable shop owner is so important

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As a shop owner, do you judge your staff based on the results of what they promise you? But are you holding yourself to the same standards?

It’s something Rick White, founder and president of 180Biz, calls the accountability mirror. You will hold someone accountable for failing to keep their promise to get something done by a certain time. But if you fail to complete a task by an expected time, you don’t hold yourself accountable.

Oftentimes, White said during his session Trust is the Real Currency at the Midwest Auto Care Alliance’s Vision Hi-Tech Training & Expo 2023, the shop owner will rationalize and excuse their tardiness away. They’ll say they got busy or distracted by other things that came up, for example.

“How many have done that? We all have,” White said. “So what I want you to start to do is hold yourself to the same standard as you do other people.”

Every time you don’t hold yourself to the same standard, you’re taking what White called a withdrawal from the other person’s trust account. You can only withdraw so many times before the account is empty and you’ve lost all of other people’s trust.

What sometimes happens is a person will beat themselves up over not completing a task in the time they intended. Shop owners are busy. They may have promised their service advisor they’d do something by the end of the day but something else got in the way. White recommended forgiving yourself for making a mistake and then learning from it.

“Don’t linger with it. Learn from it and then let it go,” he said. “After you’ve forgiven yourself, take your boot off your own neck.”

By that, he meant so many shop owners will talk to him about how busy they are. They feel like they can’t breathe. Well, White tells them, it’s your own boot — take it off your neck.

“Be kind to yourself,” White stressed. “The reality is you’re going to make mistakes. We are human beings, right. That’s part of our job; we screw up. And then we figure out how to get out of it. the first thing is forgive yourself, take your foot off your throat and be kind.”

A key: Promise less. If you’re saying yes to something, make sure you mean it and can back it up.

He’s seen shop owners come up with a huge list of their plans. They say they’re going to get so much done. But at the end of the day, they hang their head because they got nothing off that list done or barely made a dent.

“The reality is there’s going to be crap going on in your day. Make room for it,” White said.

He doesn’t make more than three commitments a day. Those commitments centre around deliverables, like ensuring a document is completed, not meeting with clients.

“I can’t do everything my mind thinks I can. It doesn’t work that way,” White said. “So promise less, don’t over commit and then keep your word — keep your word to yourself and keep it to others. If you make a commitment, stay with that commitment.”

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