Greenwood: Supplier vs. Partner?

You say your employees no longer believe in your business? Make a plan to change that.

Owners should plan all their management and employee training a year in advance.

There’s too much to do to think it can be handled in a last-minute fashion.

Because proper planning is required to ensure the team continues to develop individually and as a group, this issue must be thought out by management with a comprehensive review of each individual’s talents, strengths, weaknesses and what they must address to improve their productivity. And taking “inventory” of each of your employees means evaluating which levels they’ve achieved in the following job-performance categories:

Attitude. Do they have a positive attitude, and do they have a personal desire to better themselves on an ongoing basis? Does their personal behavior support their expressed desire to improve themselves?

Skill level. Based on their job within the shop (technician, service adviser, administrative, etc.), do they have up-to-date skills to carry out their functions properly, professionally and in a timely manner? Does their behavior support their stated belief in ongoing education?

Team member. Does the employee act as a team player, supporting other members of the team? Does he or she have everyone else’s back?

Business Culture. Does the employee believe in the company – where it’s going and how it’s going to get there? Such a belief brings out the desire to give input and be part of it, and it helps develop their career. Employees then do things because they want to, not just because they want to keep their jobs. A shop cannot develop properly unless the staff believes in the business.

Employees should act like a “partner,” which means they’re reliable and accountable for each day in the shop. When you count on an employee, you trust they will act in the best interests of the business and its clients at all times, especially when management is not present. Does their behavior support this tenet?

Once you’ve determined what is required to move the individuals forward, seek out quality courses and book the training. Don’t expect it to be located in your neighbourhood; assume travel will be involved.

I strongly recommend you and your team consider attending next year’s VISION 2018, from March 1-4 at Overland Park Convention Centre, Kansas City, Kan. This is the most professionally run event I’ve ever attended. The top 5 percent of industry shop owners and their teams will be there, incredible conversations will take place and classes are diverse and professionally arranged.

Also keep informed about AAPEX and SEMA, taking place this fall in Las Vegas. For more info, go to

Planning financial expenditures is important, but it’s also necessary to book the right classes, the right flights and the right hotels, as well as knowing that your business can function while you and some of your team members are away. This should not be a last-minute decision. Do your homework and get the results you want.