Adapting a New Mindset
I hope by the time everyone is reading this that we are back to a world of normalcy (whatever that is) but with a much more appreciative mindset. As I sit here today, we have all entered into a new world of the unknown in everything we do. Most of us have been through some personal and business hard times. Some of the biggest ones were operating after 9/11 and the last great recession. Both of those were hard for different reasons. However, in both cases, it impacted parts of our businesses and lives but it didn’t completely remove all freedoms as we knew them. With both of those, I still was able to go to church, volunteer and work. I still had people to meet with and family and friends to spend time with to relieve the stress. What’s going on right now has made me reflect on what is truly important and these are a few lessons that I’ve learned.
One, now is not the time to have all the answers or have a narrow-minded view. I have learned to listen to others, communicate better and, most of all, be open-minded. At first, I tried to get all the information, do the work, make fast decisions and just move forward. However, things were moving so fast and changed everyday and I was pushing out directives too quickly, which was taking away others ability to be a part of the decision and caused more fear because everyone felt out of control. Also, for every five decisions made at a time, only two were the right ones and the other three would probably change the next day. Lesson learned. The new pathway was to over communicate and include everyone in decisions or brainstorming. I had to admit that I didn’t have all the answers and I realized that nobody expected me to. What resulted was an entire team that showed they had a lot of skill sets that I didn’t even know about—some didn’t even know it themselves. Empowerment took the place of fear. Finally, the new mindset of we are all in this together came to the forefront.
The second lesson I learned was to become much better at prioritizing. In the past, I have always been able to power through by putting in more hours, working fast and getting enormous amounts of new things pushed out and implemented. My biggest mistake was always pushing out too much new stuff before actually perfecting and following-up on what we had already done. By working together more as a cohesive team, I am held back when needed. Others are holding each other accountable to get the new processes pushed through and the team has either new ideas or better ways of doing the things that need to be done.
Third, I have relied on past relationships, vendor relationships and the good of humanity now more than ever. I have been overwhelmed by the mass number of past relationships coming back to talk on the phone, discuss business and sharing ideas. Others have called to share successes in cost-cutting, new marketing ideas, how to handle the ever changing information that is coming out and, most importantly, just helping to do the best each day. Our vendors have truly become the best business partners I have ever had. They have helped to reduce costs, increase business, provide feedback on ideas and so much more.
Finally, I have learned to start each day with a plan of the top three things that must be done that day. If I can get other things done, that is great, but nothing can take me off these other priorities. Because we are all in such crazy times, I would have over 100 things thrown at me weekly, then daily and finally hourly. It caused me to prioritize. If something comes up, then I must push it off or delegate because each day there are really only a few things that will make the biggest impact. Ending my day writing out what was accomplished and planning what must be done for tomorrow helped me do this.
I feel strongly that we will all come out on top of this. Our industry has always performed the best in these times. Recessions help to push automotive repair to the positive and rarely to the negative. Today, I feel so blessed and filled with gratitude that as of now we are still open, considered an essential business and have the opportunity to serve our community at this time. I appreciate the small things in life now more than ever. I never want to forget that we really are all in this together.