Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Be Nice…

Written by mitch. Posted in Aftermarket, Blog, Distribution, Manufacturing, Repair Community

My wife was at a Staff Meeting tonight, which basically means I was on my own. Now, for some people that might mean dinner out and a chance to do whatever they want. For me it meant two slices of left over mushroom quesadilla, U-Verse, and a chance to watch Road House… yet again!

MV5BMTU1MTE2Mjk2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTcwMTUzNjYzNA@@._V1._SY317_If Lesley was home and walked into the family room and Road House was on… again: the conversation would go something like this, “How many times are you going to watch that movie? Don’t you have it memorized by now!” and, I’d probably respond with something clever, like: “As many times as it’s on… And, almost, but not quite yet!”

To tell you the truth, I have memorized most, if not all of it. But, there are great lessons to be learned from Sam Elliott’s character and still more to be learned from Patrick Swayze. One of those things is something I learned a long time ago and that’s, “Be nice…”

It comes during a scene at the very beginning of the movie where Swayze’s character, Dalton, is sharing what turns out to be both his operational strategy for the bar he’s supposed to reclaim and resurrect and his own personal philosophy: “Be nice… Be nice no matter what happens: no matter what anyone does, no matter what anyone says. Be nice until it’s time not to be nice.”

It’s an operational strategy and philosophy I’ve tried to adopt, but honestly, my execution is generally something less than perfect. In fact, it’s something I have trouble with just about every day…

Why? Because, it’s hard to be nice when you’re dealing with someone who by nature appears to be anything but nice. It’s hard to be nice to someone who appears to be ‘working you’ every time they show up: nice when in your presence and bordering on malicious when you aren’t there and they’re skulking around in the shadows.

There isn’t enough time or ink to tell the whole story here, but I’d be willing to bet if you’ve been in this business for more than an hour-and-a-half you know this guy or at least, his type. In fact, if you’ve been in this business for more than an hour-and-a-half you’ve probably already had him in your office.

Be nice… “

While he can be absolutely charming when or if he chooses: you can just as quickly and easily find yourself confronted with someone how is condescending, demanding, annoying, confounding, insulting and contradictory – and, as my wife would say, “Those are his GOOD points!”

Be nice…”

My attitude may have been poisoned by the email he sent a few weeks ago implying one of our technicians actually sabotaged his vehicle, creating a problem just because he didn’t like working on his vehicle. Or, it could have been his unwillingness to believe me when I tried to tell him that couldn’t be further from the truth: that our technician actually had no problem working on his car.

What I should have told him, but didn’t – what I couldn’t tell him – was that the problem our technician had was working with the owner, not with the vehicle!

Be nice…”

I’ve tried. But, it’s hard – almost impossible – to be nice to someone who isn’t nice to you. It’s hard to be nice to someone who has insulted you. Or, worse yet, insulted people you respect: people who have earned that respect over a lifetime of service. And, yet, I keep trying.

I keep trying even when the veneer of that effort is worn so thin it’s almost become transparent.

Be nice…”

I’m giving it one last shot… going over the vehicle one last time and at least attempting to knock every last concern off this guy’s list. I’m going to kill him with kindness… Or, maybe, I’ll just kill him? Who knows…

Whatever I do, I’ll be doing it for me and not for him and that’s kind of a shame because he’ll probably read it the wrong way and think it’s all about him and everything is OK.

I’ll be nice because that’s who I am: that’s who we are… It’s how we are with just about everyone who comes here.

It’s the way we do things: the way I was raised, the only way we know.

But, it will be the last time we’ll be nice. Because I think we’ve reached the point it’s finally time not to be so nice!”


Written by mitch. Posted in Aftermarket, Blog, Distribution, Manufacturing, Repair Community








“This is the true joy in life, the being used for a purpose recognized by yourself as a mighty one; the being thoroughly worn out before you are thrown on the scrap heap; the being a force of nature instead of a feverish selfish little clod of ailments and grievances complaining that the world will not devote itself to making you happy…”  

George Bernard Shaw

Have you ever been so captured by an idea it grabs you by the belt and just won’t let you go?

Have you ever had a concept so completely take over your consciousness it bars the door allowing nothing else in: no room for anything else large or small? Something so profound everything you see, everything you do, everything you think about falls into its orbit and is shrouded in its shadow?

I have, and more than once…

In fact, I have a history of ‘big’ ideas, monumental concepts, and epic projects: some I’ve acted upon and others, sadly, I have not. I started an association of qualified automotive repair technicians in the mid-eighties; a group of consummate professionals who believed in this industry and the craft they had been called to. It was one of the most profoundly satisfying things I’ve ever done. It preceded the emergence of the Internet, as we now know it by just a few years: just enough to allow the costs involved in communicating with our members to cripple our growth.

Whatever else it was or could have been it paved the way for others to follow and made the idea of an international network of automotive technicians seem attainable: almost reasonable.

I’ve written about change and growth, respect and pride to an industry in dire need of confidence and reassurance and tried hard to uphold the highest standards of professional performance as an example of what we could achieve if we were willing to do whatever was necessary to stand at the top of that mountain.

I served as the Director of what was at the time the largest network of professional technicians and shop owners in the country and I continue to write, guide, cajole, coerce and lead perhaps the most talented group of entrepreneurs and craftsmen on the planet – too many of whom take the term “independent” far too seriously, at the cost of ignoring the critical importance of the notion of “interdependence.”

I keep throwing myself against the Temple wall trying hard to elevate an industry and all those who struggle to succeed within it to become somehow more and better because they deserve nothing less – you deserve nothing less – and, because I know no other way. You see I can’t help myself. I think too much and then find myself compelled to act on the continual stream of ideas that flows through my mind.

I do it because I can’t help myself. I do it because it needs to be done. I do it on purpose because it appears that making a difference is my purpose!

I’ve just had another such idea… another epic concept: something new, something else that will allow me no peace, no rest, no respite until I share it. Something I believe – something I know – can and will change not only the industry I serve, but nation I love as well. It is elegant in its simplicity… So basic, so elemental, it should have been obvious to almost everyone and yet it has chosen me to torment.

I will be sharing it with within the next couple of days, hoping we can build the support success will require from across the Aftermarket: capital “A.”

Please watch and listen for the updates that will follow.

Until then, remember this is our nation. It doesn’t belong to the politicians, political hacks or pundits. Its course isn’t charted by ‘talking heads,’ commentators or comedians. The current economic crisis may not be of our making, but the future is ours to chart if we can find the courage.

Don’t abdicate that responsibility. People have died to ensure that sacred privilege. Don’t trust our leaders to place our Nation’s best interest above their own. Too many have already demonstrated they are unable or unwilling. By failing to accept the responsibilities that walk hand-in-hand with citizenship: by our failing to do the hard work necessary to ensure a better future, others have moved into the vacuum that was left and ensured their selfish interests would be served first.

What is best for the individual isn’t necessarily what is best for the Nation. But, when executed properly, responsibly and with justice for all people: what is best for this Nation has almost always been best for everyone.

Thank you for stopping by…

Till then, stay well, take care, make money, have fun and don’t do business with anyone you don’t like. There is probably a very good reason you don’t like them and you don’t really need to find out what that reason is!