Shop Owner

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Offer employees clarity, input to achieve goals

Tuesday, October 30, 2018 - 06:00
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Over my last two columns — “Finding the right people and the right place” and “It’s not about the money — it’s about great management" — I passed along tips for building a loyal and motivated work force and real-world advice from a couple of shop owners who have done it well. In my conversations with them, they passed along two other steps they see as crucial to building a winning team.

Empower employees

Paul Sgro of Lee’s Garage in West Long Branch, N.J., said he’s always learned so much from the other shop owners in his 20 group. That led him to start sending other leaders within his 24-employee business to similar meetings designed for managers.

“They come back with all these great ideas about what they want to do,” Sgro said. “It was them learning it, not just me trying to get them to do it. They were leading for us, and that really is important.”

Sgro’s shop has what he called the “Magnificent Seven” — the managers of seven departments within his shop: office, blueprinting, body, paint, reassembly, detail and quality control.

“They ensure each department does their very best,” Sgro said. “They have weekly meetings themselves, three days a week,” Paul said. “They get together for 15 minutes and discuss what went on the day before and where they’re going that day, what can we do differently to make it better.”

Employees are motivated by that ability to improve their work and processes, Sgro said.

Set and communicate realistic goals

People like to be among the best, said Barry Jost of Jost Garage of Jost Garage in Wall Township, N.J. His company wouldn’t be producing 40-50 cars a week if his team didn’t know what was expected and what “success” looks like.

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