Culture of Learning

Recently, I-CAR completed a survey. Over a long period they measured the performance of a number of collision shops while the staff went through many I-CAR classes. They were trying to establish the relevance of education to its return on investment. Of course, they want to be able to prove their training is worthwhile.

After a great deal of analysis of the performance data, at first they did not see that there was a direct correlation in all cases that would indicate a conclusion. However, upon further analysis, they discovered a direct and significant relationship. Essentially, those shops that had the best culture, or environment, driven by the attitude of the company’s leadership, saw a significant improvement in performance after receiving training.

In other words, those companies that encouraged and valued education, a culture of learning, made all the difference. When staff was interviewed, they typically understood the direction and values of the leadership and organization. There was a feeling of purpose, striving for excellence, and a care and concern for staff and customers. In the case of those shops on the other end of the spectrum, with a poor culture, both staff and leadership indicated their purpose was to simply make a buck. They did not indicate a concern over much else. Essentially, this indicates that leadership’s attitude makes all the difference. It can be the key to success. Amazing! It should be intuitive, but now I-CAR has the data to prove it.

One dictionary defined attitude as follows: An attitude is an expression of favor or disfavor toward a person, place, thing or event (the attitude object).

Prominent psychologist Gordon Allport once described attitudes as “the most distinctive and indispensable concept in contemporary social psychology.” Attitude can be formed from a person’s past and present. Attitude is also measurable and changeable as well as influencing the person’s emotion and behavior.

This implies that we have control of our attitude. Thus, we can have control over much of the performance of our businesses, not to mention the quality of our lives. I find it amazing that our own beliefs and perceptions that form our attitude have so much power.

What is your attitude on the purpose of your business, including its mission and vision? Do you believe in the value of training and education? Does your staff know your beliefs? Do they share them? If you wrote down the five most important functions of each staff person and asked them to do the same, would they match? Would the staff person know why they are important? This is great food for thought.

In this issue we have some great opportunities for learning, including an article on vehicle safety inspections. We also have one of my favorites, another article in the Dick Cross series on leadership and management. Albert Einstein said, “Intellectual growth should commence at birth and cease only at death.” To me, that sounds like a great attitude!