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Road to Green: The Generation in Our Industry Who Are Frustrated – Why?

Road to Green: The Generation in Our Industry Who Are Frustrated – Why?

Posted By: Robert (Bob) Greenwood, AMAM.

Many younger HD shop “owners”, managers, coupled with many HD parts distributors, WD, and Manufacturer corporate/division managers/staff within our industry, want to change their business processes. They have taken the time to study the HD industry, their market and go to classes and learn what is necessary to start changing today to secure the business for tomorrow. They truly understand that, with technology moving so rapidly at all levels of the aftermarket and other details that are taking place, change is not an option. The problem is they do not have the power to implement the changes required, because the “real authority” from the previous generation, or hierarchy, (who did not attend those classes) is still active, and “knows how to run this business”.

Consider this analogy of five monkeys: Start with a large cage containing five monkeys. Inside the cage, hang a banana on a string and place a set of stairs under it. Before long a monkey will go to the stairs and start to climb towards the banana. As soon as he touches the stairs, spray all of the other monkeys with cold water.

After a while, another monkey makes an attempt with the same result — all the other monkeys are sprayed with cold water. Pretty soon, when another monkey tries to climb the stairs, the other monkeys will try to prevent it.

Now, put away the cold water. Remove one monkey from the cage and replace it with a new one. The new monkey sees the banana and wants to climb the stairs. To his surprise, and horror, all the other monkeys attack him. After another attempt, and attack, he knows that if he tries to climb the stairs, he will be assaulted.

Next, remove another of the original five monkeys and replace it with a new one. The newcomer goes to the stairs and is attacked. The previous newcomer takes part in the punishment with enthusiasm!

Likewise, replace a third original monkey with a new one, then a fourth, then a fifth. Every time the newest monkey takes to the stairs, he is attacked. Most of the monkeys that are beating him have no idea why they were not permitted to climb the stairs, or why they are participating in the beating of the newest monkey.

After replacing all the original monkeys, none of the remaining monkeys have ever been sprayed with cold water. Nevertheless, no monkey ever again approaches the stairs to try for the banana. Why not? Because as far as they know, that’s the way it’s always been done around here.

Is this analogy similar in your heavy duty shop, or company? Is it holding your business/company back today? The previous generation, the current “real authorities”, won’t change, or keep up to date, with new understandings in our ever-so rapid changing industry. In their minds, they have “been there, done that, only have another 3 to 5 years, and then I’m out of here”. They continue to stay with the standard, old thinking, old routines, in their day-to-day motions, yet profits keep dropping. It is time to come to grips with this. It is time to address this. It is time to move away from this attitude. “Vision with clear understanding”, is required to begin securing our future. It is time to go for the banana!

Consider sharing this article with the “real authority” and be ready for the fireworks because no one likes gut wrenching change. Be prepared with your notes containing clear and documented facts so you can constructively talk things out. There are many within the HD aftermarket that must get out of the “dark ages”, the “rut”, and allow vitality, and enthusiasm to enter and get on with what is necessary. If we wait those 3 to 5 years that they want for their own self-serving interests, that is 3 to 5 years of progressive/development/constructive time lost forever. It is valuable time we need today, to insure we are here 7 years from now.

Are we thinking and talking today, within our business walls, about the potential HD electric vehicle, the HD autonomous vehicle, vehicle software platforms, the competitions strategy, the changing commercial business, the type of education and training we all need to do on a continuous basis so we are at the top of OUR game? Today’s “real authority” must be properly challenged with the facts in front of them, and if they refuse take action, invest in what is necessary, then you know where your own future is if you stay there. Tough talk yes, but we as an industry must start having tough discussions and back those discussions with solid solutions coupled with a proper time-line action plan because too many aftermarket lives and families are being affected with inertia, out of touch management.

Old management loves to blame the workforce or what they perceive is not available in the marketplace and how they don’t want to work or do anything anymore. Please wake up management; they want leadership with a clear vision that they want to BELIEVE in and be part of. When a workforce believes in the company and believes truly where it is going, productivity soars and results happen. People outside of the company looking for great companies hear about you, your vision, your culture and applications start to come in. Right now too many in the real workforce are struggling to find companies that have that leadership, vision and culture. To all “Real Authorities”, look in the mirror and your problem will be in front of you.

How is your 2019 going to develop? It is time to go for the bananas. The stairs must be climbed by everyone and if someone doesn’t want to climb those stairs including the “authority”, it is time to open that door and kick them out of the cage.