Jones: Who's Corner Are You In?

Feb. 9, 2023

The hallmark of a successful industry is linked to its ability to raise up leaders and educate customers.

An unlikely, but familiar figure emerged from within the shadows of the dark gym. “Apollo?” called out a confused Rocky Balboa. Indeed, the fighter from whom he gained his now-lost world championship stood before him in a suit and trench coat. “Right,” Apollo Creed snapped.  

Apollo explained the nature of his visit to Rocky. “Why you?” Rocky asked. “Because I’m the best and you need somebody to teach you differently,” said Apollo with conviction, insinuating that they could win back Rocky's title together.

If you continue watching Rocky III, through the training and mentorship of Apollo, Rocky not only reclaims his title but that aggressive, street-smart style he learned from his former adversary—that eye of the tiger, as Apollo coined it—would be the defining edge Rocky would take into the remainder of the franchise's films and that phrase continues to be the definition of focus and motivation decade later.

What I love about this dialogue is that it shows the cycle of mentorship in living color. From Apollo identifying Rocky’s weaknesses, turning them into strengths and making him into a formidable champion to Rocky doing the same for Apollo's son, Adonis, many films later. It can be like that in the auto care industry, too. The older experienced shop owner takes a young shop owner under his wing and elevates him to success and in turn that young shop owner becomes a coach once he reaches maturity and raises up the next generation of shop leaders who have come after him. In “From Mentee to Mentor," you'll read about one such story. Servando Orozco, owner Orozco’s Auto Service, tells how he fumbled around as a young shop owner, got coached and now returns the favor by mentoring other shop owners.

Another story that surrounds teaching is “Let them Be Customers." This story features a pair of top service advisors sharing strategies for helping customers deal with labor and parts shortages and other discomforts. They encourage other advisors to allow room for customer frustration while using it as a teaching moment to educate customers about how shops operate and are responding to the shortages.

Finally, along the lines of the eye of the tiger, you’ll meet Jesse Jackson of Mango Automotive in Albuquerque, N.M. She’s on a mission this year to acquire 30 shops as part of Mango's mission to become a nationally-recognized automotive brand. She talks about her vision and how other shop owners can approach acquisitions as a business model for growth. 

There’s an old saying that when the student is ready the teacher appears. My hope is that you find a lot of actionable inspiration within the pages of this issue and if you need a shot in the arm, find your Apollo Creed or become someone else’s.  

About the Author

Chris Jones | Editor

Chris Jones is the editor of Ratchet+Wrench magazine and host of its companion podcast, Ratchet+Wrench Radio, a weekly show featuring automotive professionals across the auto care landscape.

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