Tuesday, 12 May 2015 00:00

Mastering Implementation

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Has this ever happened to you? You have just returned from an amazing workshop that gave you a great idea on some new lean concept. Let’s say, how to meticulously disassemble a vehicle so that you can capture 100% of the damage at the beginning of the process. You are excited because your shop has been having too many problems on Friday afternoons with parts that were missed on the estimate and this new process of fully disassembling the vehicle will surely solve that! All that’s left to do is go back to your shop and announce to your staff that this is how we will be performing “teardowns” from now on.

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However, as you explain the new process to your crew that morning, instead of excitement you are instead met with resistance.

“I don’t know boss, I don’t think we have the time!” or “If we take the car apart like that, we won’t remember how to put it back together!”

So without hesitation, you counter with a well-timed verbal volley that is surely to convince the crew to your way of thinking. You offer up all the benefits of meticulous disassembly, you explain that it will make them more money, and make their lives easier, and then finally they say, “Okay boss, we’ll do it.”

You have won! You secretly pump your fist, and then congratulate yourself on your massive persuasion skills!

A couple days later you are walking around the shop and you notice that one of the cars in the lot still has all the trim on the blend panel. “Hmmm” you wonder? Then you see a technician performing a plastic repair on a bumper, but all the grills and fog lights are still in it? “What happened” you think to yourself, “I just got through telling these guys to do a meticulous disassembly and only two days later they seemed to have completely forgotten my eloquent speech!” What happened?

The answer to this question is significant indeed! Learning how to motivate and enable people to change their actions is likely the most important skill one can acquire. I am not talking about cheesy persuasion techniques, I am talking about understanding the forces that have been used for both good and evil that have both shaped our world or simply allowed leaders to overcome resistance in collision shop change initiatives or implementations.Truth be known, most of us are only familiar with one method of influence, our mouth.

Verbal persuasion is the most popular form of influence because it’s convenient and it actually works a great deal of the time. At least with easy stuff. For resistant problems and resistance to change, verbal persuasion rarely works!

Whenever someone is asked to do something, there are only two basic drivers used to decide whether it gets done or not.

  1.  Can I do it? (Do I have the ability?)
  2. Will it be worth it? (Am I motivated?)

To address these drivers there are six sources of influence that are either working for you or against you. The book “Influencer” by authors Grenny, Patterson, Maxfield, McMillan, and Switzler gives the reader an amazing look at how these six sources of influence have been used by influence masters to overcome some of the world’s most pervasive problems. Here are the six sources, but as you can imagine there is not room in this article to discuss all of them.

I recommend you pick up a copy of this book, but to give you a small taste of its content, we will take a brief visit to Source One – Personal MotivationHow do we make the undesirable desirable?

Your “yes” means nothing if you can’t say “no.” There can be no commitment if there is no choice.”  - Peter BlockWhen you force someone to say yes to your attempts to sway them by using techniques such as nagging, begging or using your authority, you may indeed get a yes, but not the kind of yes that will get you lasting change. For someone to fully buy in, they must have the opportunity to decide for themselves. So how do you do that and in turn make what seems undesirable more desirable?

When it comes right down to it, we often want the same things. We may have opposing views of how to achieve it, but when it comes to the final result of the change initiative we usually all want it. The problem when it comes to ordinary verbal persuasion methods, is that the whole time we are talking and forming your arguments, the resistant audience is not really listening to you, because they are busy unconsciously forming their own counter-arguments.

When you say, “Hey guys I figured out a way we can streamline our processes and make more money doing it!” They instead hear, “Hey indentured servant, I have figured out how to make you do a bunch of extra free stuff in another weak attempt to make the owner rich!”

A technique that works quite well is what therapists have been using for years called Motivational Interviewing. Assuming you have a level of trust established, you can sit down with your resistant body man and explain to him that our goal is to eliminate the missed parts problems that we are plagued with. I am pretty sure he won’t argue with that! You now have a common goal. You then ask him how the problem affects him. Ask, “What do you think are the benefits of changing?”

By engaging your people in discussion where they feel they can contribute to solving the problem, they are much more likely to not only agree to the change, but to help design how it will take place.

I hope that this article gives you the comfort in knowing that you are not alone in your challenges to create lasting change and successfully implement better processes in your shops. Methods such as lean have been around for quite a while, but unfortunately only a few lucky ones have figured out how to have real success with it. By learning modern leadership skills such as communication and influence strategies you too can become an Implementation Master.

If you would like help implementing, learning the six sources of influence or any other leadership skills, please contact me at david.luehr@elitebodyshopsolutions.com for a free no obligation consultation.

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