Helping Shop Owners grow into the successful entrepreneurs they imagine themselves to be.

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

How To Keep Your "A" Players From Leaving You

How To Keep Your "A" Players From Leaving You


Eric M. Twiggs

"Clients don’t come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients." -Richard Branson 

“Meet The Fockers”, starring Ben Stiller, and Dustin Hoffman, is one of my favorite comedies of all time.  The most memorable scene in the movie was when Hoffman’s character “Bernie” was bragging about his son Gaylord’s past accomplishments.

Bernie was so proud, he created a special trophy case in his honor known as “The Wall of Gaylord”.  

This presentation was different from your traditional trophy case.  Instead of celebrating his victories, it showcased his 9th place trophies and participation ribbons! Gaylord was made to feel special just for showing up!  He grew up “feeling the love”, regardless of how he performed.

This reminds me of the mentality of employees entering the workforce today.  This “everyone gets a trophy “culture has led to an environment of entitlement.   You may disagree with this mindset, but here’s the reality:  In 2016, your people are more likely to leave if they don’t feel the love.  

According to research findings reported in a 2012 Fortune Magazine article , 91% of the surveyed millennials expect to stay in their jobs for less than three years.  That number can drop to one year or less, if they don’t like working for you. 

Allow me to paint the following picture:  You just applied what you learned from the How to Hire “A” player’s webinar, to hire “Ann”, who’s a top performing service manager working for your competitor.  She’s great at customer service and can sell water to a drowning man!

If you don’t have certain practices in place, you may be looking for Ann’s replacement within the year!  So what can you do to keep your “A” player from leaving you?   I’ll explain as you read on. 

Offer Unique Perks

The knee-jerk reaction to this employee retention issue, is to throw money at the problem. After all, if you increase their pay, their guaranteed to stay, right? WRONG!  According to Gallup research, 78% of the reasons employees leave companies are reasons under the managers control that don’t involve pay. 

The research concluded, that factors such as a flexible work schedule, and general work environment, play a key role in the candidate’s decision making process.  Offering unique perks is a good way to increase morale and retention rates.  The following are some real world examples from some of our Top Shops:

·         The opportunity to work a four ten-hour day schedule.
·         Cooking a weekly team breakfast on the grill. Some shops do a weekly catered breakfast.
·         Offer the surviving spouse of a deceased employee 50% of their pay for five years.
·         Gym membership reimbursements (Some are as low as $10 per month!)
·         Offer a $30 per month Kindle Allowance to purchase books

Most shops offer unique perks like free car washes and gift baskets to their paying customers, while doing nothing extra for the employees.  All things being equal, the happy internal customer will work harder to please the external one.

Customized Recognition Program

I agree with the late philosopher and psychologist Dr. William James when he said: “The deepest hunger in humans is the desire to be appreciated.”  This makes having a formal recognition program a critical step to retaining your people.

Since everyone is different, offering the same type of generic recognition to anyone who achieves the desired result, will not satisfy the hunger that Dr. James referenced.   Customizing your program based on your employee’s individual interests, is the way to go.

During your weekly one on ones, ask them about their hobbies and interests.  This will allow you to provide recognition that’s meaningful to the individual.

For example, I know a shop owner named Mark who recognized his service manager Butch’s five-year employment anniversary by buying a dinner and hotel stay for he and his spouse.   Mark did this after Butch mentioned how important family time was to him during their weekly one on one.

Other shop owner provides tickets to the race for NASCAR enthusiasts, Gift cards to hunting supply stores for the hunting fanatics, etc.


Offering unique perks and customizing your recognition programs can motivate your “A” players to stay, regardless of pay.  Your next hire will want to work for you even if he has a “Wall of Gaylord” at home!


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  It takes strong leadership to implement unique perks and a customized recognition program.  Email and I will send you a listing of the top five leadership books that have inspired me.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

The Sound Of Silence

The Sound Of Silence


Eric M. Twiggs

"Owning a business can easily turn into the business owning you."  Larry G. Linne

The Sound of Silence, is my favorite song title of all time.  This #1 hit was written by Paul Simon, and he along with Art Garfunkel completed the recording in 1964. 

The title resonates with me because it’s a reminder of what I was looking to accomplish back in the day as a district manager.  When doing store visits, my main pet peeve was hearing the hissing sound of air leaks throughout the shop.

The most common cause of this noise is either a worn air hose,bad coupling, or a loose connection. The problem with air leaks is they cause the air compressor to waste energy and work harder.

I knew if I could make the noise go away, I would enhance the performance and life span of the unit while saving money on costly repairs.  Therefore, my goal was to hear the sound of silence as I walked through the shop.

In his book, Making The Noise Go Away,  Larry G. Linne considers the following items as noise for most shop owners:  

·         Anxiety and doubt about the business.
·         Lacking trust that things will get done.
·         Having to do everything yourself.
·         Busy doing everything except what you do best.
·         Having to follow up multiple times to get things done.

If this sounds like a typical day in your life, you have something in common with the compressor unit I mentioned earlier.  You were designed to achieve maximum output but If nothing changes, you will waste energy, work harder, and experience a lower quality of life. 

So what can you do to make the noise go away so that all you hear is the sound of silence?  Keep listening and you will learn. 

Don’t Settle For Less

When I wasn’t walking the shops listening for air leaks, I was interviewing service manager candidates.  Sometimes I would interview a prospect who said the right things, possessed the on-paper qualifications, but for some reason I wasn’t impressed.  My gut would tell me to pass and keep looking for someone who “wowed” me. 

Since I only interviewed when I had an opening, I was desperate to fill a void and hired the candidate anyway.   Because I settled, I found myself wasting time and energy at the new manager’s location doing many of the tasks I was paying him to do! 

Within six months I would be looking for his replacement.  These experiences taught me to always look for the best instead of settling for less. 

Having clarity is what will keep you from settling.   The key is to be clear about what you’re looking for before you start searching. For example, It’s the ability to produce the desired results with minimal supervision, that separates the “A” players from the pack.

The best way to gain clarity is to write down the specific outcomes you’re expecting ahead of time.  You may write that an “A” player will maintain a 54% gross profit, sell 60% or more of what the technician estimates, while maintaining a 95% or better CSI score.   You could then compare the candidates track record and interview performance to these standards. 

The good news, is that a true “A” player’s level of performance doesn’t depend on your presence!  The more of these top producers you have, the easier it will be to eliminate the noise.

Play To Your Strengths

In a previous blog post, I mentioned the idea of letting someone else do what you aren’t good at.  You were provided with specific ideas on how to become aware of your blind spots.  Now that you know what to stop doing and are committed to hiring “A” players, you can focus on what you do well.     

The first step is to make a list of all your current duties at the shop. If you’ve already created a job description, feel free to use it.  Next, go item by item highlighting only the duties that line up with your natural talents and abilities.  Lastly, copy and paste what you identified on a separate sheet labeled as your Ideal Position Description. 

According to Larry Linne, you’re playing to your strengths when at least 80% of your daily duties to line up with your natural abilities.

Take a hard look at your team.   Is there someone on your staff who can assume the duties you didn’t highlight?  If not, what do you need to do to attract the necessary talent, so that you can play to your strengths?


So there you have it.  When you decide not to settle, and start playing to your strengths, you will make the noise go away.    Did you hear that? It’s the sound of silence.


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Looking for that “A” player to help make the noise go away?  Email me and I will send you the Power Point Slides from my “How To Hire an A Player” presentation.  

Wednesday, July 6, 2016

Are You Driving Blind?

Are You Driving Blind?


Eric M. Twiggs


"If you don't know where you're going, any road will take you there" Lewis Carroll

My afternoon took a strange turn.    I was talking with a shop owner named “Mark” and our conversation began on a high note. I asked him: “Are you feeling the value of the coaching program?” ‘Absolutely! “he replied. 

“Do you have more money in the bank than before?” “I Sure Do Coach!” And then, things got weird. “Mark, are you on track to achieve your 2016 goals that we agreed to?”  “Umm, what were my goals again?”  Mark was driving blind.   I felt even worse about his condition after reading the following research findings of author & consultant Jon Gordon.

In his book  The Energy Bus,  Gordon writes about a study of two airplane design teams who were placed in separate rooms.  The first team saw a model of the finished product and was given a vision of exactly what they were building.  The second team was told to design each piece without seeing a picture of what the end result would look like. 

The first team with the vision worked twice as hard and finished in half of the time as the second group.  In other words, you will work longer and finish later than someone in a comparable situation who has visible goals.  Driving blind will cost you time. 

July marks the start of the second half of 2016.  Most shop leaders lose sight of their annual goals around March and spend the rest of the year driving blind.  Does this sound like you?  Stay with me and you will learn one big idea to keep your goals in sight:


The first half of 2016 is over.  In sports, the great teams use half time to assess what occurred earlier in the game.  Victory on the scoreboard is their visible goal, and they compare their performance to this objective.  As long as I’ve been watching sports, I’ve never seen a team go into the halftime locker room without knowing the score!  Unfortunately, I see this every day as I interact with shop owners. 

This is why having visibility to your goals is critical.  Your phone is the best visibility tool you have because it’s easily assessable and it’s always with you.  Here are two phone apps to help keep your goals visible


Evernote is a FREE app which is available on both android and IPhone formats.  Its cloud based, so you can update your notes from any computer as long as you know your USER ID and password.   If your phone is lost or damaged, you can sign in on the app from your replacement device.

Evernote allows you to either type or speak your goals into the app.  It has a key word search feature that gives you access to previous notes by typing in key words. 

For example, let’s say you titled your entry “2016 goals”.  Three months later, you could regain access to your goals by typing the title or any of the key words in your entry into the search bar.    

SMS Scheduler

The SMS scheduler app is available in both android and IPhone format.  This FREE app allows you to schedule and send text messages to yourself at whatever time intervals you set.  You can text  your goals to yourself, and schedule a reminder text  to arrive on either a daily, weekly, or monthly basis. 

You can also schedule a reminder text to your accountability partner or coach, encouraging them to check in with you on your progress.   Texting while driving a car is frowned on, but texting your goals while driving your shop is encouraged!


So there you have it.  Keeping your goals on your phone via Evernote and the SMS scheduler will keep you from driving blind.   Are you on track to achieve your 2016 goals that we agreed to?


Eric M. Twiggs
The Accountability Coach

PS.  Are your goals Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time bound? Email  and I will send you a checklist to make sure your goals pass the S.M.A.R.T. test.