3 Tips for Building a Culture of Improvement
Although technician Josh Mislick has many awards and achievements, including his recently received master technician status, service manager Daniel Stewart says that Mislick’s growth and value at Old Saybrook, Conn.-based Oceanside Auto goes beyond just his certificates.
In his 2017 Ratchet+Wrench All-Star Award nomination , Stewart says his technician always thinks outside of the box, from problem solving different electrical issues to giving advice to his fellow technicians when they hit a snag, and always works to improve his overall efficiency. And these efforts have paid off for both him and the shop—from month to month, Mislick’s efficiency is always 140 percent and his productivity is 100 percent.
In the seven years Mislick has worked at Oceanside Auto, he says he has consistently tried to improve, through his own education and his own desire to be the best. On a shop level, Stewart says Mislick is always willing to help another technician when in need.
“Wanting to strive, wanting to get better, wanting to learn more ... It’s slowly brought him to the top, to be honest,” Stewart says. “It wasn’t overnight, but he just wants to learn.”
On the management side, both Stewart and Mislick know it’s important to create a strong environment where staff members tap into their passion, and continually want to learn. The two detail three keys to creating and maintaining a culture of improvement in a shop.
When Mislick first joined Oceanside Auto about seven years ago, Stewart says he was already a talented technician, but through constant progression and training, he’s taken his abilities to the next level. He’s received his ASE master technician L1 and L2, is an Automotive Career Development Center hybrid-certified technician, and is certified for emissions repair in Connecticut.
“When I first started, I always wanted to be the best. I realize that’s a huge bar and that’s impossible because a lot of people are better than me, but that’s one thing I always wanted,” Mislick says. “I’ll never stop learning because I want to be the best.”
His training has provided tangible returns on investment for the shop. Recently, Mislick went away for a week to learn everything he could about hybrids. Now, Stewart says, Oceanside Auto is a hybrid-certified shop thanks to him.
While Mislick feels comfortable with gasoline and hybrid vehicles, his next step will be additional training on diesel vehicles.
Always be ready to lend a hand:
While he praises the efforts of all his technicians at Oceanside, Stewart says Mislick is always the “go-to” guy when any of the other technicians have an issue, especially as he’s learned more throughout the years on the diagnostic side.
On that end, Stewart says Mislick has used the training he’s acquired over the years to help the rest of his employees whenever they’re in a bind. Stewart mentions a recent issue where one tech was drilling out a spark plug on a Ford Triton engine. The tech went to Josh and asked for his assistance. Stewart says Mislick didn’t simply do it for him, he instead taught the tech how to prevent the issue going forward.
“There’s a lot of guys in the field that are also very good, but don’t want to pass it on because they think you might take their job,” Mislick says. “I’m just not that way. I’m not scared of that.”
Tap into your passion:
Putting aside all the awards and achievements he has received, Mislick maintains that he has a passion for the auto industry as a whole.
Even outside of his mandated training efforts, Mislick says he takes time outside of work to learn things that didn’t make sense to him at shop, or about which he’s simply curious. Even in his personal time, Mislick says he’s still “working” in one way or another, whether that means working on his personal vehicles, or researching how certain vehicles that previously stumped him in the shop work.
On the management side, Stewart says he tries to create a loose, easy-going environment, so everyone feels good and free to tap into their passions.
“The biggest thing around here is that it’s fun to work here—it’s not stressful,” Stewart says. “We have a lot of fun with each other, and that helps set the mood itself as far as the attitude in the shop.”