I find it interesting how we can learn things from different professions that we can all use in our everyday dealership operations. Today I want to look at what we can learn from pilots. Some of you might know that I am a private pilot with over 2100 experience.
The safe pilot begins every flight with intensive planning. You got to monitor all of the weather conditions along your route. You should check for bulletins to see if the airport has a runway closed or other safety issues. You have to make sure you have enough fuel in the aircraft and that it is safe and passed a preflight inspection. You have to make sure you have the appropriate up-to-date approach charts and other navigation information. Then you can get into the aircraft and can start on your way.
As you approach the airport, you check the weather once again and contact them telling and notify them of your intentions. You plan your time it will take to descend to the runway meeting the navigational points on the way. For a smooth approach a pilot learns to make small corrections on the flight path. If a pilot would make massive corrections the ride in the airplane won’t be smooth.
The same is true with our companies and our lives, we shouldn’t make massive changes. It doesn’t matter what we want to accomplish in life, small corrections will give us the right goal or achievement. Rapid change creates anxiety and disorder, eliminating the smooth ride we all desire to achieve. An example, would be if you want to lose weight so you go down to only one meal a day. You develop a hunger that will have you slamming the next big burger along the way. It would be better to begin an improved diet that tracks calories and has you drink more water, and has exercise plan included in the effort. This is something that can be sustained for a long period of time and reach the desired goal.
If you want to change a key performance indicator in your company, the same template works very well. Then check what obstacles you need to overcome, and develop your flight plan with your team, and then you go for it. If you want to increase your customer pay effective labor rate, and triple the price of your oil changes, then increase your repair rate $20 an hour. You will accomplish an improved rate however, business would fall off dramatically. Everybody wants to improve something wanting to achieve a result. My hope is that you take the pilot approach and understand well-planned small changes are best practice to achieve it and give you a smooth landing.
Rob Gehring, President
Fixed Performance Inc.
Rob is President and Founder of Fixed Performance Inc. which he began over 15 years ago. His passion for customer care and helping others has assisted hundreds of dealerships with their fixed operations performance. His common sense coaching and training lifts people up as individuals and team members. With over 30 years of dealership management experience, he understands and respects the daily challenges of fixed operations. Placing a strong value in people and best practice processes always provide growth. His articles have been published regularly in national publications and weekly newsletters are read by thousands.