Author Archive

mitch

I am a fourth generation, forty-sixy year veteran of the automotive aftermarket: an ASE Certified Master Technician, Service Consultant and Approved Automotive Manager. I grew up in this business with a passion for all things mechanical, particularly those things relating to performance. That passion grew to include all aspects of management, leadership and personal development with a special focus on every day shop operations which resulted in an eight-volume series on automotive shop management published by Cengage Learning and Thomson Publishing. I have been a trade journalist writing to the aftermarket for almost thirty years, devoting my professional life to improving both the image and experience of everyone struggling to succeed in the service industry and I've worked diligently to improve communication and increase understanding between all segments of my industry. This site and everything on it is both an extension and a continuation of those efforts

There! I’ve Gone And Done It…

Written by mitch. Posted in Aftermarket, Blog, Consumer, Distribution, General Community, Manufacturing, Personal, Repair Community, Uncategorized

I’ve taught enough classes on Goals & Objectives to recognize just how important it is to share those Goals & Objectives publically when it’s time to accomplish whatever it is you’ve set out to do.

It should be a ‘No-Brainer,’ as there is nothing less at stake than your dreams. So, it’s only reasonable to assume that having an army of people close to  you constantly asking:

“How you doin’ with those Goals & Objectives you said you would have completed by last Thursday?

Everything goin’ OK?

They done yet?”

would be enough… All the pressure any of us would need to move forward.

Unfortunately, that’s not the case. Not because publicly posting your Goals & Objectives doesn’t work. It does! But, it only works if you do it, and most of us don’t.

In fact, most of us don’t have written goals and objectives at all, and wouldn’t post them publicly if they did! The fear is overwhelming!

I know this from personal experience as I was among the many who could not – Or, would not – bring themselves to share their Goals & Objectives with anyone!

Nevertheless, I’ve decided to post two of my professional Goals here – along with my personal Mission Statement. They are two (2) of the Primary Goals  I shared with my altMBA12 Cohort during my participation in Seth Godin’s altMBA Program, an experience that appeared in the October 2017 issue of Ratchet+Wrench.

 

 

It was an experience that changed my life.

I keep the Mission Statement in my wallet… and these two (2) Goals & Objectives on top of the printer on my desk. I keep them on the printer so I can look at them every time I need to move them in order to print something !

The Mission Statement is a constant reminder of who I am and why I do what I do. It reads:

To benefit, enrich and improve the lives of others by sharing my personal knowledge and experience through my writing, speaking and interactions… 

That’s the bar: the standard I use to evaluate every task, every request, every demand on my time. It’s the standard to which I hold myself accountable. It’s important because of what I’ve been doing with myself over the past four months.

Professional Goal #1

Staying in the game…

To increase my reach as an Industry leader through my writing, blogging, video blogging, speaking, presentations and seminar work.

Professional Goal #2 

Finish Misfire…

Finish Misfire: the management allegory I’ve been “playing with” for years. 

The interesting thing about Goals & Objectives is that they are subject to change depending upon circumstance. At the beginning of the altMBA process I would have told you – as I told all the members of my Cohort – that my Primary Goal, the most important and effective use of my time, the most consistent with my personal Mission, would have been to dive headfirst into filling the pages of this website.

I believed with a perfect faith that’s what I would have to do to best serve my Mission. Then, as I worked my way through the alt process I realized that I had been lying to myself and everyone else. What bubbled to the surface was the realization that the single most important thing I could do: for myself… and, quite possibly everyone else, was complete the book.

As a result of that realization and my commitment to face that fear, I dove headfirst into the cold, lonely, frightening and insecure depths of my imagination and started writing. I approached completing the book with the same obsessive/compulsive energy I bring to just about every project I’m passionate about. And, here’s something I never really thought I’d ever be able to say despite having already completed an 8-Volume Automotive Shop Management series!

With the exception of some “light” technical research and adding a little more depth to one or two of the characters, it’s DONE!

Done to the point I actually allowed two other human beings to read it and tear it apart… But, neither did! Tear it apart, that is!

In fact, they both liked it!

Now, my priorities are to complete the manuscript and then figure out what to do with it: how best to present it to you and the world. That, and move on to Goal #1!

Here’s where you come in…

A goal, written or otherwise, is nothing more than a wish or a dream if it isn’t accompanied by a deadline…

When I finished the altMBA program in late August of this year, my commitment was to have the manuscript completely finished and ready for a professional edit by the end of February 2018. I’ll have the reasearch I need completed by mid-January and then it’s six weeks to the finish line.

I’m writing again… More and more! Writing about the automotive service aftermarket and the repair community, two things I’ve always cared deeply about. But, I’ve also decided that I have things to say about other topics as well, and I’ll be addressing some of those as we move forward.

So, here’s my email address: mitch@mitchschneidersworld.com

If there’s something you have a question about or something you want to vent about: something that’s really bothering you about our industry – where it is and/or where it’s going – Or, anything else… Let me know! Email me!

If you’re interested in what’s happening with the book… Any of my other projects or anything else I’m involved with… Email me!

If you think there is something worthy of praise that needs to be illuminated: something (Or, someone!) that makes you particularly proud of who you are and what you do – Email me!

If you think there is an issue – Something that has nothing to do with the Aftermarket – Something that should be addressed, but hasn’t been – You get it! You know what to do! Email me!

If you feel inspired to write down your own goals and objectives and are willing to be held accountable… Well, then, let me know and I’ll email you!

 

Transformational: Project 13

Written by mitch. Posted in Aftermarket, Consumer, General Community, Personal, Repair Community

There are few things in life that can described as transformative: a single event that clearly changes you and the course of everything likely to follow. Something that redefines you both personally and professionally.

I just experienced such an event and what you are reading is a manifestation of its impact on me as well as my last Project requirement. And, while it does not exactly meet the precise guidelines of what it is I should be doing – – That won’t surprise anyone who knows me – –  it will more than meet its intent.

This started years ago with Seth Godin, a best-selling author, seminar facilitator, teacher and blogger. I started reading Seth more than a decade ago. We start the day together every day.

When I was at the shop and tried to be in the office an hour before we ‘officially’ opened so I could “get things done,” the first thing I would do after I poured myself a cup of coffee was to settle down, fire up the computer, head to my Inbox, and search for Seth’s Blog (http://sethgodin.com).

He’s written that blog every day since before I can remember it and it has never disappointed me. The wisdom is irrefutable. To the point, I would often print a copy of whatever he had to say for that day and then distribute it to my manager and employees, and forward it to a laundry list of close friends and colleagues.

That’s how I got my son Ryan ‘hooked’ on Seth: his blogs and his books.

Godin has created a living, learning experience far different from anything else that’s out there. He calls it the altMBA Program (https://altmba.com) and that’s precisely what it is: a four-week, intense and immersive alternative to a conventional Masters in Business Administration.

it would be foolish to suggest that participating in altMBA is the same as dedicating two years of your life and tens of thousands of dollars to a formal, structured, precisely organized learning experience at one of the nation’s finest universities. It isn’t…

And, yet, by virtue of its unique approach to learning and performance, it is likely to provide the same; or, at least a similar result!

Ryan participated in altMBA as a member of the eighth Cohort: that’s how the program is organized, into Cohorts of approximately 120 participants, broken down into working groups of four or five individuals that rotate over a four-week period. I just graduated from alt12.

But, this is not about the altMBA’s structure. It’s not even about its potential to change the way learning occurs or the impact it can, and should have. It’s about the last Project Requirement, which is to “run a live event to teach others what you’ve learned in altMBA.” It should include ten or twelve individuals: perhaps, more, to show them how what you’ve learned “represents a different posture, a different way of thinking” and the impact that’s likely to have on them and on the work world we are all so much a part of.

I thought about doing that… I did! But, then it occurred to me that you are my closest colleagues, the people I feel most comfortable with, and that sharing this with just a few of you would not be as important or effective as sharing it with all of you.

So, what I’m going to do is pull out a few of the critically important pieces of this program so you can see what a positive impact this could have on you, your business and your personal life.

But, first… This is not a commercial for Seth Godin or the altMBA. You don’t have to participate in the program to be exposed to these principles. They are now an integral part of my DNA and as such, it’s likely you will find yourselves exposed to them as we share the future of our industry together.

However, I would highly recommend you consider it…

Just as it would be impossible to condense two years into four weeks, it’s just as unlikely I can distill my four-week experience into 1,000 words!

Nevertheless, I would like to introduce you to just a few of the altMBA’s core principles, like: Persona, Worldview, Assets, Boundaries, Narratives, the Business Model Canvas, Decision Mapping, the fact We’re All Irrational, the Theory of Constraints and Sunk Costs.

The idea of a Persona is not new. Nor, is it particularly difficult to understand. It is simply the aspect of someone’s character that is either projected or perceived by others. You have a distinct and precisely defined Persona, carefully crafted for your world at the shop. I did…

And, you have another distinct and different Persona reserved for your family and friends. But, how often do you consider the Persona of your customers or clients and how your Persona could and probably should complement theirs?

You have a Worldview, as well. It is the way you see the world. It is, more than likely, a product of your years of experience as a technician, a businessman, a husband, a father and a friend. Your clients bring their own unique concept of the world as they perceive it with them and whether you know or understand it, your success depends upon how your Worldview and the Worldview of your clients coincide.

You have a Narrative: the story you tell yourself, the story you would like those around you to know and understand, just as each of your clients has a Narrative they bring with them each time they visit the shop.

Both, you and your clients have Boundaries – – both, real and imagined – – that constrain you. The real question, of course, is: How real are they? And, how are they holding you back?

You have Assets, probably more than you can see, that are waiting to be utilized. And, every one of us has fallen prey to the lure of chasing Sunk Costs: a cost that has already been experienced and can never be recovered, and the potentially catastrophic decisions that follow.

Every one of these concepts can and often does play a significant, although often hidden role in our professional lives. Understanding them… Making them work for you instead of allowing them to work against you is critical to success and it’s likely we’ll explore all of them over time as we move forward.

For me, this experience was transformational. But, transformational is an interesting concept.

To be transformed, you must ready for the changes that are likely to follow.

I was…

Now, the only question is: Are you?