Refine Your Skills, Helps Others Do the Same

As we put the holidays behind us and enter into a new year, we have the feeling that the calendar change has granted us a new beginning with fresh opportunities. It feels like a time when we put the old behind us and set new goals with aspirations of better things. Edith Lovejoy Pierce said, “We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Year’s Day.”

My wife and I live on an 80-acre farm in rural Minnesota. January can be bitterly cold. Every evening we feed horses and cats in the barn. Often nights are still and quiet. It’s not uncommon to hear owls hooting, as they stake out territories and seek mates. It’s the first sign of spring, even though mild temps and migrating birds won’t be seen for months. Yet there is a feeling of freshness and renewal.

Collision and mechanical shops in Minnesota are typically busy as a result of slippery streets and cold temps. Simple tasks like moving cars into the building take more time. Clearing lots and sidewalks of ice and snow is an ongoing job. Drive times increase. It’s a time when we hunker down and focus on taking advantage of an increased workload, getting our annual sales off to a good start.

In this issue we focus on all the many aspects of management. In my opinion, that is a perfectly fitting way to start the year. After all, how we lead and manage our businesses will determine its performance in this new year and beyond. It is up to us to be in a continual state of analysis of our marketplace, our industry, and be in a continual state of self-improvement. Benjamin Franklin said, “Be at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let every new year find you a better man.”

Our management articles are written by Automotive Management Institute (AMI) instructors. AMI has become an incredible resource for our industry. I can personally testify as to the positive impact it’s had on me and my career. I continue to attend classes when possible, in addition to reading books on management. The business world increases its understanding of the role and importance of management. I’ve recently read that when employees leave a company they will give a number of reasons. However, more often than not, studies reveal that they are leaving because of their management.

I believe as industry and business leaders it is our responsibility to continually refine our management skills. It is also our responsibility to help others, especially those who report to us, to improve and refine their management skills. Studies prove that companies with great management are more profitable, are more inclined to grow, have better employee satisfaction, and are more stable. At least as important is the value of up-and-coming managers who can perpetuate the success of our businesses and improve the quality of life for all of us.