Ridding the Workplace of “I Don’t Knows”

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Sari Rivera

Ridding the Workplace of “I Don’t Knows” 

By Sari Rivera , Siren of Support, ETE REMAN

What if Dorothy and Toto would have followed the red brick road instead of the yellow. Would they have made it to the Emerald City? What if Dorothy and Scarecrow veered to the left instead of taking the path on the right side of the big screen? Would there even have been a story if Toto wouldn’t have bitten mean old Mrs. Gulch? 

Actions, Reactions and Choices

Every action, reaction and choice plays a part in the outcome. No, instead of yes. Up, instead of down. Procrastinating, instead of taking action. Our today is made up of all the seemingly small decisions that we have made along the journey from then until now. That timeline may be a lifetime, it may be the span of a phone call, but the choices that we make when they are presented have a direct effect.

Consider it a snowball effect. You told the customer no and now they are no longer your customer. You pass up a promotion and it goes to someone less competent, but more confident than you. Not only do you regret it, but the whole company suffers. Maybe instead you took that chance, you jumped instead of standing on the ledge. You plunged into something new that fulfilled you and made you happy and whole. You leapt and you took on new, different and scary responsibilities and you absolutely are nailing it. You sometimes have seconds to decide between right and wrong, good and bad, stop or go. 

When “Yes” Feels Right

I received a call yesterday, much like every day, concerning a customer concession. I got the scoop, took two seconds and said “cover it.” It was a gut decision, but I felt as if it was the right thing to do. It’s not life or death. I could have said let me review all the notes and get back to you. But I felt it. I felt like the answer was yes. I made the right choice for the right reason. I took the Yellow Brick Road. I didn’t skip and I didn’t sing, but it felt right and so yes is the chosen path. 

How do you know when the choices you are making or the paths you are following are leading towards shiny emeralds and horses of a different color rather than terrifying flying monkeys and a field full of coma inducing poppies? 

  • How does it feel?: I’ve said this before, likely more than once. If it feels good, do it. But I’m going to change it up. Sometimes doing the right thing that needs to be done feels terrible. Sometimes it goes against everything you believe in and everything you stand for. The customer was a jerk. They yelled at you, they didn’t listen to you; the delay on their case was long and they were peeved. They are taking out their frustration on you. Regardless of how they make you feel, doing the right thing at the right time will always trump your right now feelings. Unpaved roads may be bumpy at times, buckle up and hit the gas if you are steadfast in your resolution. 
  • Consequences 101: Your choice will cause ripples. Be prepared to throw a few apples or dump a bucket of water on the adversary to defend your position. Weigh your options before you act. Some decisions can’t be taken back. Are you willing to lose a customer over a $20 concession? Are you going to let your fear of the unknown hold you down and keep you from excelling and moving up? Can we save a sale and a relationship because we went above and beyond the terms in a warranty situation?  Use a reward/risk chart if you must, just make sure you can justify your decisions as they will be yours to own. 
  • Pump the brakes or take a detour: It’s easy to get tunnel vision and focus only on the destination. Slow down and take a look around, enjoy the scenery, but also reflect on yourself and what factors are playing into your action . One small change can affect the outcome. On the way to the end result, make sure to take note of the steps you are taking. This will provide a learning opportunity and room for growth. What will you do differently or better next time? Was there a smoother avenue you could have taken? 

Teaching the Art of Making Right Choices

Do I cave, and throw in a free tire rotation because the service the customer was paying for was delayed. Can I take a shortcut on this repair and still have it be successful? For some, weighing the options comes easily. For others, the path forward appears as insurmountable hurdles. 

How do you prepare your people to just make the call?

  • Provide Training: Teach the people on your teams how to weigh pros and cons. Sure, some decisions are made in the heat of the moment, but those decisions are more likely to be the right decision when there is a foundation of education behind them. Allow for learning opportunities by promoting soft skill development, seminars and hands on training. Resources such as books and podcasts are just a click away. Seminars offered by AAPEX and ATSG are easily accessible, keeping your people up to date in the ever changing aftermarket world. 
  • Lead By Example: If you want them to do as you say, you must also hold steadfast to your decision making values. 
  • Practice Makes Perfect: Let them practice. The wrong decision is likely to be occasionally made but unless it causes a large detriment to the company, allow for independence. Mistakes are simply an opportunity to learn and grow. 

It’s possible they could have made it to the wizard by taking the other path, however, we will never know. What we do know is that if you face your challenges head on, fill your tribe with like-minded friends, and adapt to changes with brains and heart, you will awaken stronger and smarter. Regardless which path your journey begins with.

The Automatic Transmission Service Group (ATSG) will provide two training sessions at AAPEX: “Is It the Transmission or Not?” on Nov. 1, and the “Best of ATSG’s 2022 Confirmed Transmission Fixes,” on Nov. 2. More training information is available on the AAPEX website.

ETE REMAN is the world’s best remanufacturer of automatic transmissions for import and domestic cars & trucks. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, our production facilities support more than 3,600 different transmissions and transfer cases for over 30,000 import and domestic vehicle applications. Utilizing our centralized distribution network, we’re here to support your reman needs quickly and efficiently. With the best remanufactured transmissions, customer service, and tech support, you can install confidence with ETE REMAN. Make sure to visit us at AAPEX, Booth A4463.

Sept. 15, 2022