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SONNY's Carwash College™ Tip of the Month

Two Strokes and a Poke

Productivity is directly tied to attitude. No secret there. The better the attitude of your workers, the better their productivity. Attitude is generally a product of the environment. What kind of environment are you promoting at your washes?

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CarWash College™ Tip of the Month
Two Strokes and a Poke
I was struggling to come up with a topic for this month’s tip. As I sat with a blank computer screen in front of me, some of my colleagues dropped by and asked what I was doing. I told them I was writing my CarWash College Tip of the Month. They would look at the blank screen and offer me encouragement; “Good thing you don’t get paid by the word” said one. “Send it in just like it is and call it ‘Clearing your mind of clutter'” offered another.
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My coworkers are so thoughtful and helpful…

Then it hit me! Write about the type of environment folks work in. Finally, my wise cracking buddies helped me out, even if they had no intentions of doing so!

Productivity is directly tied to attitude. No secret there. The better the attitude of your workers, the better their productivity. Attitude is generally a product of the environment. What kind of environment are you promoting at your washes?

“The beatings will continue until morale improves”. Is that your management style? Harshly criticizing someone until they do what you want? Chances are if you were born before 1970, you either managed this way, or were managed this way at some point in your career.

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Managing the New Millennium Generation this way (or anyone actually) is an exercise in futility. This is a generation where there were no “losers”. Everyone got a trophy; just for trying. While we may not agree with it, it is now a fact of life that we have to deal with as managers.

These folks grew up being “connected” from early childhood. When they weren’t texting, they were listening to their music. Being connected is as natural to them as breathing. While the thought of allowing employees to text and listen to music while on duty goes against every fiber of my being, to not allow this generation to do these things is considered a “beating” by them. Policies will have to be put into place, of course, to ensure both the employees and customer’s safety. If done properly though, it can improve employee’s morale.

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In the CarWash College Management class we discuss coaching employees to get the best out of them. How does an Old School manager coach up a Millennial? Very carefully.

Try the “two strokes and a poke” method, (credit to my esteemed colleague Brad Sorenson). Remember, these folks grew up with strictly positive reinforcement. They’re not used to harsh criticism so, instead, pay 2 compliments sandwiched around some constructive criticism. Here is a quick example, “Johnny, nice job last hour. You successfully guided 87 cars onto the conveyor. I’ve noticed, however, that you’re not pointing out any existing damages to the cameras. Please make sure you get back to doing that on every car as it keeps us from paying for damages the wash didn’t cause. You’re one of the best we have at guiding on; now let’s see if we can beat last hour’s production!”

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Simple enough, right? Compliment, constructive criticism, compliment.

It may take you a little practice before you get good at it but try it. It works. You get your point across and the employee gets the positive reinforcement he is used to hearing. It’s a win-win! Create an environment that people enjoy working in and watch what happens!

As for my friends and colleagues that inspired me to write about this topic, you guys are really great at what you do. You could, however, be a little less sarcastic at times, but you really make this a fun environment to work in…

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Bob Fox is an instructor at CarWash College™. Bob can be reached at [email protected]. For more information about CarWash College™ certification programs, visit CarWash College or call the registrar’s office at 1-866-492-7422.

This content is sponsored by SONNY’S CarWash College™. Sponsored content is authorized by the client and does not necessarily reflect the views of the Professional Carwashing & Detailing editorial team. 

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