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Quitters Campers and Climbers

by Art Little

Transmission Digest Magazine
This article appeared in the April 2015 issue of Transmission Digest.

Team building is a job that a transmission shop owner has to do well if he is going to have any success now or, in the future. You see, if your employees can't sell it and fix it you are not going to last long in this industry. A transmission shop will pick your pocket quicker than anything you can imagine if you don't know what you are doing. The problem is, employees come and go. That is just a fact of life. Recruiting the right employees is the key to your success now and, the key to any continued success you might hope to have in the future. At the end of the day, we are selling high dollar labor to our customers. It is your number one responsibility to recruit and hire the best employees you can find.

The National Football League has the same problems we do. The players and coaches, the owner recruits, will determine the quality of his team and the amount of money the owner will make. Team owners spend hundreds of thousands of dollars and countless hours to recruit their team. If recruiting wasn't important, do you think they would put that much time and money into it ? How much time and money are you spending on your team ? If the answer is, not enough. I need to recruit more. Maybe, I can give you a little help on that.

Start off by evaluating your existing team. Be honest with yourself. Is this the team that I want representing me at my shop and working on my customer's vehicles. Are they competent, trustworthy, dependable loyal etc.. It is your shop and your team. Look at each individual employee and make a decision who stays and who goes and then start recruiting

Some shop owners try to assemble a young team that has high energy. Others will want to have an "old school" team of older guys with a lot of experience. Some go for a mix of old and young. Some will like to bring a woman into the team. They are all missing the point. Put a team of midgets together , I don't care. What I care about and what is important is, work ethic. Focus on that to find the right employees

I don't want to oversimplify it but, looking back on my years of recruiting transmission specialists, employees will fall into three categories and three categories only. Quitter's, Camper's' and Climber's. Each have a different work ethic. If you can find a climber, that is what you want. It doesn't make any difference how old or what gender or how tall the employee is. Hire the climbers. Let's visit the world of quitters, campers and climbers so you will know how to spot them when you see them.

  • Quitters do right only if they have to, if it is not too hard and if it benefits them. Even then, they will usually find a way to quit. They usually are transient because they quit all the time and can not keep a job. They come in late to work , miss work, they are hard to get along with, not team players, inflexible, and they know it all. They do not need to or want to learn anything. They don't want to climb with you. They don't even want to camp with you.
  • Campers do right if it is not too hard to do and does not take them out of their comfort zone. Campers are pretty dependable and loyal because they like a routine. They come to work everyday and are rarely late. They are good team players unless you ask them to get out of their routine. They are not flexible and are highly resistant to change.They do not want to learn or try anything new. Campers hate change. They like things just the way they are. They don't want to climb with you. They just want to stay at the camp site.
  • Climbers do right every time no matter how hard it is to do.They come to work every day and are rarely late. They are good team players. They are good at their job and they like their job. They have a good attitude and are fun to be around. They are flexible to change and want to learn. They are good leaders and follow established shop policies and procedures. They make other employees better by just being around them. This type of employee is not afraid of heights.They are the climbers in our industry. They want to climb with you.

There have been books written on recruiting. Let me save you some reading time. In the real world, as a shop owner, there are choices you have to make as a team builder. The employees you hire will result in creating a shop of quitters that will run you out of business. Campers that you will break even with but, never make any real money. Or the climbers, that will treat your business like their own and make themselves, and you, a lot of money. Recruiting and hiring will make you or break you as a transmission shop owner. It has always been that way. Spend a little time and money on it and choose your team wisely. Find you some climbers . Your family, your other employees and your customers are all depending on you to make the right choices.

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