Jones: Playground Economics

June 3, 2024
Most of us didn't learn talent scouting in a class, we learned it at recess.

Jay was the biggest kid in Mr. Carder’s fifth-grade class and could kick a playground ball a country mile. There wasn’t a kid in the class, myself included, who didn’t want to be on his team when it was time to play kickball. When named captain, Jay always knew how to assemble the right classmates—boys with big legs and girls who could pitch right across the place to entice greedy kickers who would often kick their teams into an infield trap, or pop out in the outfield. If you were fortunate enough to play on Jay’s team, you usually found yourself on the winning side.

This is where I learned about team building. It’s probably where you learned too—on the baseball diamond of your elementary school booting kickballs into the outfield. You learned early—subconsciously—about disparities in talent (ever get picked last?) and identifying kids with the right abilities to increase your chances of winning, whether you played kickball, dodgeball, or basketball at recess.

It’s no different in business. As a shop owner, you’re the captain, and it’s your job to assemble a team around you who can help you win. This means identifying and elevating some co-captains.

In this issue, we examine how a pair of shop owners identify, train, and turn loose the talented team members within their shop. Jonathan Ortiz, owner of Foreign Affairs Auto, and Ben Duncan, owner of Duncan’s European Automotive, outline their practices for cultivating leaders. One ability you must possess as a shop owner is a keen eye for talent and where in the business to put that talent to work for bigger returns.

Undoubtedly, there are people on your staff who, if given the ability and training, have the potential to take your business to new heights. Find them, promote them, and turn them loose. They’re standing in line. Be sure to pick them before someone else does.

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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