I refer to “Death Valley” as a mindset in which collision shop managers deny the opportunity to evolve. It’s a kind of mental prison that condemns to failure. Of course, it is never a fault to be unsure of how to go further. But refusing to go ahead is the mortal sin of collision shop managers. And like most sins, it’s more common than you might think.

Do you know someone who says “been there, done that”, who thinks he tried hard enough and is no longer looking to grow? Or better still, someone who thinks he is good enough and sees no point in improving anymore?

We all know one. These people live, often without even realizing it, in the Valley of Death. They believe that what they experienced in the past is a guarantee for the future, that what they are doing is good enough for now. Improving these people’s management skills is very difficult, if not impossible, because they sincerely believe that making improvements will not bring results.

Doubt is our friend

At Progi, this thinking goes against our seventh golden rule of collision shop capacity planning. This rule is called Pushing Your Limits.

There is a significant workload in the market right now, and it’s not the time to stand still. Exactly the opposite: it’s the moment to make the most of it, to build strong and profitable teams, and to establish efficient processes.

The mindset of the shop manager has a direct correlation with today’s shop results, but even more with tomorrow’s results. The manager’s mindset can either serve as a springboard to success and profitability, or as a plunge into Death Valley and shop indebtedness.

If you hire a production supervisor for your collision shop, you want someone who can bring the team together and, for your operations, a person who is both confident and capable of doubt. Confident, because he needs to be brave enough to make the necessary changes; capable of doubt, because he is always in search of improvement and never rests on his laurels.

A good example of someone who is confident but capable of doubt is Georges St-Pierre. Although he is one of the world’s best mixed martial arts fighters, he takes nothing for granted and is always challenging his skills and athletic abilities.

A slice of life from the past

My friend Charles Aubry, who worked with us for a long time at Progi, is a much appreciated figure in the collision shop world… But some people hate him.

To several of these people, who are collision shop owners, Charles said things like: “You’re not making the money you should be making here. You’re not as good as you should be. There’s no point in opening a second collision shop, start by being efficient in the first shop.

And I was the first to tell Charles: “You can’t say that! You’re a salesman, the point is to sell our ideas, not to make people hate you.”

His reply was: “Yes, but I’m right.”

And each time, I told him that the important point is not to be right. The important point is the moment when you are right. The person has to be ready to receive the information before accepting it. By asking them the right questions and challenging their preconceptions, they will come to realize by themselves exactly where they are stuck and what they can improve.

If Charles has ever told you these kinds of comments and you hate him for it, you should know that he loved you and wanted you to succeed. He recognized your potential.

But you were in Death Valley. Not yet ready to accept your potential.

I hope you will find, or have found, your way out.

It’s a new day

The ProgiElites are still shining, but we must wish a happy retirement to two of them: Jean Robitaille and Jocelyn Dussault. Thank you for your contribution to our industry!

Progi’s collision shop school is relaunching its course program for Capacity Month (November).

If you just got out of Death Valley and are interested, you can sign up now. If you have been looking to improve your skills and are looking for a way to get started, the ProgiAcademy is a great place to start.

Today I have a new friend. His name is Patrick Demers, and he is the teacher at ProgiAcademy. He is handsome, kind, and smart. Don’t miss it! 😊

To register, click here.

And if you want ProgiPlanning, now is the time!


Author: Alexandre Rocheleau
Script editing: Nelson Guilbert
Translation: Krystel Henley-Rocheleau
Editing: Krystel Henley-Rocheleau
With the consent of Charles Aubry