Jones: Shoring Up the Foundation for Success

April 1, 2022

Stability starts with clearly defined systems.

In James Clear’s New York Times best-selling book “Atomic Habits,” he writes: "You do not rise to the level of your goals. You fall to the level of your systems." 

For me, that’s a reminder that success doesn’t happen haphazardly. We need to pay attention to the small details in order to understand why a thing we implement works—or doesn’t. Without these clearly defined metrics and organized systems and processes, the bottom can fall out.

I recently had this conversation with a shop owner. He told me how he built his business with no real measurable processes. It led to a lot of stress, heartache, and hiring all the wrong people. What he experienced isn’t uncommon in business. When shop owners don’t have proper systems or people they trust to execute processes, they default from entrepreneur to technician running businesses. They get caught in the whirlwind of deciding from the ground and not from a bird's-eye view. 

Learning to rise to your systems is taking a step back to go over all of your documentation—job descriptions, company policies, training protocol, customer service practices, etc. It’s asking yourself, with the input of your staff, if these systems work or if they’re outdated. Whatever you put into place should all influence the goal (think: lead and lag measures).

If you’re looking for a jump off point to get started with refocusing your processes, I encourage you to read “Stagnating? Get back to the basics” by Nolan O’Hara on page XX. In this story, he sat down with T.J. Roberts of Shop Fix Academy to outline six mindsets shop owners should adopt to get maximum results. 

For the shop owner with the systems and processes in place, Aaron Stokes’ column this month challenges you to think long game and focus your spring marketing and outreach efforts on drawing a high volume of customers. Stokes stresses that now is the time for shops to start “grabbing as much market share as we possibly can without concerning ourselves with the ARO.” If your shop needs a shot in the arm, focus on volume now and bottom line later.

In closing, I want to leave you with one last quote from Clear. As you think about your systems and processes and how they relate to your big goals, consider this: “Goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are best for making progress.”

You’ve got this.

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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