Stack Your Corner
I’d like to introduce you to Mark O’Meara, a professional golfer. Mark O’Meara won 14 professional golf tournaments from 1981–97. That is a very respectable career on the PGA tour. Another golfer, who needs no introduction, won 14 major tournaments in his first 11 years playing professional golf. His name is Tiger Woods.
In 1996 Tiger Woods moved into the same neighborhood as Mark O’Omeara and the two became good friends on and off the course. The relationship clearly impacted O’Meara’s golf career, and, in 1998, he won two of the four major championships at the age of 41, which is unheard of in pro golf. When O’Meara was interviewed about how this turnaround came about, he gave a big nod to his relationship with Tiger Woods.
The reason I share the success story of Mark O’Meara is that I believe we have the same opportunity in this industry. And, unlike the golfing world, where there is only one Tiger Woods, there are many operators in this industry that are like the Tiger Woods of our realm. If you are familiar with FenderBender, then I’m sure you know the names Mike Anderson and Kevin Rains. They have both been a “Tiger” for me at certain points in my career.
I met Mike Anderson in 2007 when he spoke at our state’s AASP meeting. At that time in his career, he operated two shops in the Washington, D.C., area. Since that wasn’t too far from our shop, I asked him if we could come visit. Mike agreed, so I took a member from each department of our shop down to visit with him. He gave us a tour of his two shops, allowed for some Q&A time with his staff, and sat with us after and answered more of our questions.
I’ll never forget the energy in our conversations on the train ride back from D.C. Our staff couldn’t wait to get to work the next morning and start making some changes to make our company better. I can look back at the time I met Mike and easily see a big shift in our company’s history. Just like Mark O’Meara had a career year in 1998, we, too, had a banner year in 2008, the year after we visited Mike Anderson.
Fortunately for all of us in the collision repair industry, Mike still has a strong presence in this magazine, and with his consulting business, CollisionAdvice. He has brought his energy and enthusiasm to the FenderBender Management Conference as a presenter. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve had conversations on the phone with Mike as he’s sitting at the airport waiting to board a plane. He has always been generous with his time and is happy to help shops in this industry get better. He has definitely been a “Tiger Woods” to me for the last 12 years.
The other “Tiger” I mentioned is a regular contributor to this magazine, Kevin Rains. I met Kevin at the first ever FenderBender Management Conference in Philadelphia. Kevin did a presentation on marketing that blew me away. While I didn’t initially reach out to him, I attended his presentations the following year at the conference in Chicago. It was there I got to know Kevin better and developed a friendship with him.
During the fall of 2017, our company experienced something we had never dealt with before. Our CSR’s husband was given a terminal diagnosis from his doctor. He ended up passing in spring 2018 at a young age with a baby who he didn’t get to see make it to her first birthday. It was a very difficult time for everyone on our team and I questioned how to best lead us through it. I realized that Kevin was what I refer to as the “Tiger Woods of empathy” in our industry. If you’ve read Kevin’s articles, you know how much he cares for his team. He worked so hard to create a culture of care that you could even see it in his shop’s logo.
I reached out to Kevin and asked his advice during that tough time. Kevin was very gracious with his time and the thoughts he shared with me were invaluable. While he didn’t have a magic potion to make things better, I couldn’t imagine going through that time without the help I received from him.
There are many other people in the industry that have helped me along the way—I just don’t have enough space here to mention them all. While I am sure you have had people help at certain points, I would encourage you to find your “Tiger Woods” to help you reach new heights with your company. We all occupy the biggest room in the house, and that’s the room for improvement.
As the number of shops continues to dwindle in our industry it will only continue to raise the level of competition. It can’t hurt to have a Tiger in your corner to help you compete.