In today’s times, it’s all about perspective


We’re two years into a global pandemic and I commend our fellow collision shops across Canada for digging deep and continuing to put one foot in front of the other. In talking to many other shop owners, I know that they as well are struggling, but persevering through. Whew, it’s not just us! Depending on who you’re talking to, and on what day—these factors can absolutely impact our attitudes surrounding our current states.

Recognition of chaos? Are you ‘bringing it’? Self-awareness is key. Hey! You. Yes, you. Are you flying into the shop, stressed about parts and dollars and cents, or your buddy who needs the work done right NOW, or reacting to frustrations that our insurance company is causing, or jumping into a situation without taking the time to get the full picture?

Our teams see our body language and frustrations written all over our faces. Now it is more than okay for them to see us admit we’re having a tough day or say “I don’t know”; vulnerability is a brave spot to put yourself in as a leader; doing so brings humanity to leaders.

Take time in your day, preferably in the morning, before you show up; with your cup of coffee and your day planner and set yourself up for success. If you set your own schedule up for success, without a thousand things on the list each day, you’ll show up for your team in a more positive way.

If you don’t have that habit built, start! It will change your outlook and your ability to handle the fast pace of our industry today. When you step in with a fresh look on the day and a game plan in hand, your team will sense that. You’ll have time to respectfully listen to them and guide them in what they need.

With clearer headspace, we will have more ability as leaders to adapt and roll with the changes that are happening. In our shop, the demands, and requirements, from customers, vendors and insurance companies are ever changing…especially with the parts crisis that’s occurring in industries all over the world, ours included.

We need to be able to roll with it, think critically and help our teams adapt right on the shop floor – how can we temporarily repair this, what else can we use, how can we produce this work to get the job out the door? Of course, following all safe and quality repair procedures.

Today, we are not waiting for the bumper that will show up tomorrow, we might be waiting months for it – so what are we going to do? Not only that but we also want to teach others how to think further outside the box than we ever have before. This is the time to start utilizing our teams’ brilliant minds even more; ask questions, get curious and engage each other to find solutions.

Do you worry and fret about the stuff you can’t control? I think everyone does. I get frustrated about a lot things that I can’t control, and it takes up a whole lot of energy better spent elsewhere. We get frustrated by processes that we don’t understand with the insurance companies. A wise coach shared with me a useful imagery tool to help me realize where my brainpower is better spent. It’s called the hula hoop. And quite frankly, we all need to stay in our own hula hoops. When we focus on what we can control, we better serve our teams, our clients and ourselves.

Leading a team today to produce work and foster positivity in a motivation sapped world is a challenge. After almost two years of a worldwide pandemic—dare I say, without an end in sight—people are struggling to look at the bright side. We can live in the chaos or rise and create reasons to celebrate your organization and help it thrive today and into the future. Is there a habit or change that you’ll make to encourage and engage your team? To build culture.

Today, I heard a business leader say that big change is overwhelming right now but if I continue to do one small change every day it will impact us positively. I’d love to hear about a small change that you’ve made that’s creating impact in your organization.

CHELSEA STEBNER is the CEO and managing partner of Parr Auto Body in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and a member of the CCIF Steering Committee. She can be reached at chelsea@parrautobody.com.


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