Running a Shop Setting Goals Leadership

Goal Setting to Get Ahead

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SHOP STATS: G&C Tire and Auto Service  Locations: Chantilly and Manassas, Va.  Operator: Gregg & Christina Caldwell  Average Monthly Car Count: 830 combined  Total Staff Size: 28  Total Annual Revenue: ~$4 million combined  

Leading to Level Up

Setting goals at G&C Tire and Auto Service, with locations in Chantilly and Manassas Va., isn’t an occasional action item. It’s a way of life and a team effort. So, when owners Gregg and Christina Caldwell set goals for the business, the success of their staff goes hand in hand.

“The goals we’re setting aren’t just about numbers. They’re based around helping our team perform at their best,” says Gregg.

Based not far from Washington D.C., proximity to government business provided G&C with a steady stream of business, even in the midst of previous economic downturns. But with COVID-19 driving so many government workers off the road to work from home, Gregg and Christina shifted their focus for the year ahead.

“We originally had other plans for 2021 but our priorities are focused on boosting profits, but from a holistic perspective,” says Christina.

“Right now our potential for growth is in revenue, not location or footprint size. So we’re focusing on tapping the talent on our team to hit those benchmarks, says Gregg.

Finding additional quality staff is often a challenge these days, but with a team full of potential, the Caldwells are ramping up their efforts to creatively challenge, guide and support their team.

Embrace the Tech

Well before COVID-19, the Caldwells were already pushing their staff to embrace digital solutions like Zoom and Slack as part of the shop’s daily workflow and as the pandemic set in service advisors were sent home to work remotely.

“Many went kicking and screaming into those changes, but implementing initiatives like that pushes everyone out of their comfort zone to learn and adapt,” says Christina.

Investing From Within

Among marketing and additional customer service solutions, the Caldwells will be investing in their team’s professional development throughout the year.

“We want them setting goals and striving for  their own growth. We want everyone to put their goals down on paper and tape them up to their monitor or on their desk—wherever they’ll be in plain sight. We want them just as focused on their goals as we are,” says Christina.

The Caldwells also plan to use weekly one-on-one meetings and private Slack channels to check in and help keep the team on track.

“Employee goals and progress will be the focus of those meetings but we also want to hear what kind of roadblocks they might hit or challenges they might have trouble overcoming. It’s a time for us to get to know more about them as people  and offer feedback and support to keep them moving forward,” says Gregg.

Pro Tip: Don’t set it and forget it

“If you’re serious about it, your goal’s got to be  top of mind everyday in everything you do. Losing track and getting distracted is easy. Staying focused is the challenge and the key.”—Christina Caldwell

Keeping Engagement High

Ownership and accountability for staff professional development will be key in keeping the team engaged and invested. After launching a team book club, the Caldwells have delegated club leadership positions, encouraging the team to step up and take an active role in the topics covered.

“We’ve picked people to take the lead on certain topics but our last presenter really challenged the group,” says Gregg. “He acknowledged that not everyone loves to read, but he pointed out ‘‘if you can’t find the time to read at least a couple of chapters, then you might want to start looking for a new job because the industry changes all the time and you’re not going to get anywhere if you don’t change with it.’ It’s exercises like that that we want to be driving home this year,” says Gregg.

“We’re pushing for expanded horizons,” Christina says. “Whether they’re listening to a podcast or finding inspiration in something being done in another industry, that connection and  critical thinking can only help them grow and their success is our success.”

Pro Tip: Keep it simple

“Any goal worth working toward will eventually include multiple steps and task, so simplifying the focus of your mission will keep you from getting overwhelmed or putting too much on your plate.”—Gregg Caldwell


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