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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.  

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