Detail Management - February 2010

All Stars — How to Recognize
One on Your Detail Team
By Sharie Sipowicz

Anyone involved in business will tell you how important it is to hire and retain good people, people who are team players. It is among these good people you find your “All Stars.” So what is it that makes someone an “All Star” on your detail team? Of course, it is debatable, but there are some very common traits that must be present for an employee to be considered an All Star.

Do any of the people on your detail team have these traits — people you consider as top employees? You might discover that some employees on your team whom you consider All Stars — or near All Stars — do not actually measure up. Plus, there might be others you felt were not All Star material who are actually closer to being an All Star than you thought.

COMMON ALL STAR TRAITS

1. An All Star knows and shares your values. Being a good detailer does not substitute for character. All Stars represent you away from work as well as they do on the job.

2. All Stars have a high level of competence. Strong character is important, but it does not substitute for detail competence: you need both.

3. All Stars do not wait until asked to do more than is required. They see what needs to be done and do it. This can mean coming in early and staying late. They will take on tasks that are not officially in their job description, or they will pick up the slack for an absent employee.

4. All Stars are givers not takers. They work without strings attached, believing that what goes around comes around. It is disturbing to see how many detailers try to slough off their work on a new detailer, or who take the easy car and dump the used-car dog onto the rookie.

5. All Stars do have healthy egos but they control it and do not let it control them. While they are ambitious for themselves, they also understand that the good of the company and the team comes before them. They commit themselves to the company and do not expect the company to commit to them.

6. All Stars know that they are not indispensable, regardless of how good a detailer they are. Life will go on without them and they realize it. They are confident in their abilities and self worth but are not delusional.

7. All Stars know that the manager or fellow employees are not responsible to make them happy. They take personal responsibility for their own attitude.

8. All Stars do not get along with everyone all the time, nobody does. To expect otherwise is unrealistic. In fact, many good employees will disagree. But the key is — regardless of differences — they put the good of the company ahead of their own interests. Therefore, at the end of the day, they do what is best for the company and their fellow employees. They are not divisive; they do not create factions or plant seeds of rebellion.

9. All Stars will readily accept blame for their errors and give credit for others’ achievements. They avoid the flaws of ego-driven people who might have excellent detailing abilities but diminish their value by pointing fingers, boasting constantly, becoming selfish or greedy, and by trying to make themselves the center of the universe. Your All Stars are willing to take personal responsibility for what they do, and do not blame others. They focus on what they can control and do not get distracted by things beyond their control.

10. All Stars let their actions speak for them. They do not tell everyone how great they are, because others do it for them.

There are many other traits that could be listed and you could probably come up with a few on your own, but these 10 are a good start. You are probably thinking, “This woman is crazy. I have never had what she calls an All Star on my detail team.” I would ask who is doing the drafting (hiring) and who is doing the coaching (training)? The first thing you need to do is get your detail staff together and talk to them about becoming All Stars on your team. Then go over these 10 traits with them. Keep in mind that being the top performer is not a requirement for being an All Star.

PEER PRESSURE

An All Star could be the top performer, but there are other people who show up on time; stay late; do anything they are asked to do; do not have to be told to work; etc. Every detail operation would like to have employees like these; they are All Stars in my book.

Years of experience do not make an All Star detailer. An All Star is about performance not position — not talking the talk, but walking the walk.

Your All Star will care enough about the company to create positive peer pressure within the business that causes the non-team players and non-performers to straighten up or leave. For example, if you (or your manager) do not deal with the selfish or unproductive detailers, these unofficial leaders will rise up and deal with the slackers within the dynamics of the operation by confronting their unacceptable performance or by isolating, ignoring, or excluding them until their behavior changes or they leave. The All Star will not allow the company standards to be lowered to accommodate the behavior of the slacker.

You should never have people in official leadership positions who are not All Stars and do not demonstrate the 10 traits of All Stars. Nothing creates more distractions, breaks the momentum, or lowers morale as fast as a selfish, greedy, or immature manager.

Hold your managers to a higher standard; be tougher on them and less tolerant of any sub-standard behavior. Always give your detail managers a friendly reminder that a fish starts to rots at the head.

CONCLUSION

This is my final Detail Management column. It has been a pleasure serving the detail industry for 20-plus years, and I will truly miss the interaction with all of you, but as they say, things change and time moves on.

Wishing you all a great 2010!

Editor’s Note: Sharie has decided to retire not only from the industry, but also as a contributor to our pages. She has been writing her monthly column since January 2007. We wish her health and happiness in her well-deserved retirement.

Sharie Sipowicz was aftermarket sales manager with Detail Plus Car Appearance Systems Inc. She has been involved in the detail industry for over 20 years, both as a vendor of products and equipment and as a hands-on operator in a retail detail environment.

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