There are a lot of different types of people in the world, from those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wondered “what just happened?” I like to think of myself as someone who makes things happen whether that is in work or in life. One of the things my journey in life has taught me is that this world moves at an unforgiving pace sometimes. While my core value is family—being in the moment with my loved ones and making a meaningful life, I also have to continually maintain, train and grow to keep up with the ever changing needs and demands that I will face every day. Not only do I practice that philosophy personally, I share it with my team too. My goodness, these guys are awesome!
Recently, I sent my Shop Foreman to leadership training. To build and lead a successful team, there are key skills every leader should learn and practice. Today’s workforce has different needs than when my foreman and I first joined the workforce xxx years ago and we have to be able to understand what that looks like—“Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” (Stephen Covey). I knew that in order to help him become more successful, I had to give him access to as many tools as I could for him to accomplish his job. After two full days of intense training, instruction, and peer-to-peer discussion he came back pumped! I had no doubt in my mind that would be the result. However, what surprised me was that he also returned with a reading list—books he wanted to read independently that his instructor recommended which also focused on improving leadership and interpersonal skills. Mind blown.
Considering I am a leader, this is a habit that I had already created for myself. I never thought to ask my team to join me. I ask them to go to training for technical knowledge (I will get to that hot topic in just a second), but a book? A non-automotive based book? Huh. Since TRAINING IS WHAT WE DO, I offered to join him in his reading list and provided chapter take-away work sheets so we could have active discussions and we invited the rest of the team to voluntarily join. We have 3 out of 5 joining us for round one. I think we have just launched our first ever A. Anthony’s book club. Look out Oprah.
Last night from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm, after a full day at the shop, my entire team and I attended Advanced Engine Mechanical Diagnostics. Auto mechanics and technicians are not born with a wrench in their hands and have to learn this trade like a lawyer or a doctor would have to learn their trade (more on that topic in another blog). Engineers are always creating newer, better, faster, more efficient vehicles and technology and therefore TRAINING IS WHAT WE DO. This class was absolutely amazing—for instance diagnosing a vehicle that has lack of power using specific scan data. We were able to compare Engine Speed, Throttle Position, Mass Air Flow grams per second, Volumetric Efficiency and Oxygen Sensor voltages to pin down the base engine fault…have to calm myself down for a second! It is amazing what our cars are equipped to do today. What is even more amazing is the technical knowledge my team and I continue to amass to stay on the cutting edge of this technology. I will not even start on the equipment and tools it takes to perform these levels of diagnosis.
For a world that can be so domineering sometimes, it is refreshing to see it in this stage—one where my personal growth has bled into the culture at the shop. Where picking up a book, or the entire staff going to class is something we all volunteer to do. Here is to being a not just a person but a team that makes things happen and continuing to enjoy the ride!