Thursday, December 20, 2012

Rebrand - Golden Rule Auto Care

I am excited to announce the re-branding of our Auto Repair shop from Lonestar Auto Repair to Golden Rule Auto Care! Check out for the latest pictures. I am finishing up the website, and if all goes as planned it should be up by the end of the year (That is of course if the world doesn't end tomorrow).

For those wanting to know why we changed the name now I will tell you. When Patrick and I first took over ownership I didn't want to rock the boat. I wanted to make a smooth transition between owners to let the current customers know we were going to deliver the same quality of work and set their expectations high. We have been slowly growing over the last 1 1/2 years in a positive direction. It was always our intention to change the name to something that means something to us. At the beginning of this year we started the process, new name, new logo, new colors, new signs, new paint, new EVERYTHING! It has been a long, but satisfying journey. 
I want to thank the following people who helped:
- All the guy at the shop! We went through a LOT of disagreements, but came together in the end. Thanks Pat, Colin, Jorge, Scott, Clifford, Trevor, Kyle!
- James Patton with Qabria Designs ( for all the design work! Excellent work! The logo and color schemes are magic!
- Mark Ulrich and everyone at ALLTEX signs ( for the new signs!
- Jorg and his crew at Spires Roofing and Remodeling ( for the painting
- Seth from All Things New for the parking lot re-paint (817-964-1418)
And of course all the customers!
I probably left someone out, and if I did I will make up for it in later blogs!

Monday, December 17, 2012

Guidance is a gift I like to give!

I recently had a friend ask me a couple of questions in regards to a new position he is going to be taking. I was truly honored that he asked. It led me to type up a mini email book response. I am one not to waste content, so I am re-posting parts of the response in my blog for the world to see (or the 3 people who read my blog).


Question) How would you go about evaluating a development manager? New developers?

Answer) You are a great judge of character, this you must rely on. Attitude is everything. BUT experience is a necessity... With that said, test and measure. Then test and measure, then test and measure. If you are looking for a manager test him with technical and people problems. Make sure you give him enough problems to make sure he knows what he knows. Same thing with developers, make them struggle. I had one interview where I had to answer the same question with multiple right answers, and after answering the question right 3 or 4 times the hiring manager told me one more way I could have answered... Tough but he knew what he was getting (of course I got the job, and respected him for what he did). At my auto repair shop we take our time with meeting them and getting to know them. The interviews are typically longer than an hour. We want to make sure they play well with the others in the shop. But tech is a different world of course, in a typical short interview it is hard to get to know how someone really is. I am a big believer in empowering others. At SWA I built several engineers by giving them tasks leaving them alone and then seeing how quickly they either did or didn't provide a solution. Those that did I built, those that didn't I got rid of. Bottom line test and measure.

Question) How would I go about instilling great development culture? How would I go about facilitating great development collaboration and discipline?
Answer) The culture starts with you. William Wallace (from the movie Braveheart) bled with his men, he took time to understand his men, and he died for his passion... He was easy to follow because he made you believe, but he believed. Don't ask something of your men you aren't willing to do yourself. Also get to know them. Take them to lunch on one on ones. Yes they are going to tell you all the negative things you don't want to hear but the will tell you everything you need to hear. Something I learned from one of the previous CTO's I worked for was he wasn't afraid to get down and dirty with everyone. What CTO does that... Very few. Don't force fun and don't make them salute the company flag, they will tell you how the want to be treated, you just have to listen.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Staffing - The most important aspect of any business

I have heard this over and over again, and how this rings so true at the core of what it means. Herb Kelleher, the ex CEO/President of Southwest Airlines, said "We will hire someone with less experience, less education, and less expertise, than someone who has more of those things and has a rotten attitude." An employee is the core of your business, your customer service, and  your product. They are the face of what you do, and the brains behind how you do it. But you must hire people with the right attitude, and not just for the experience they may or may not have. We all need those who are willing to reach for the stars, and smile when things don't work out their way. Those who don't know everything, and are OK to admit it. Those who allow themselves to become silly putty. Those who value perseverance. Those who know change is the only constant, and embrace it.

One of the practices we have adopted when hiring people at Lonestar Auto Repair is putting our new hires through a trail run. Not like a 90 day trial, but a 1 day trail. We allow them to come into the shop for an hour or two and work with everyone. We don't pay them during this trail period either (I am sure my lawyers are going to read this and tell me about all the liability and laws I am pushing and/or breaking). This allows us to get to know the personality of this person, and their work ethic, and of course their attitude. You can really get to know a lot about someone in 1 hour. Then if we decide to hire them then they go on the 90 probation period.

I have not always been the ideal employee when working for others because I get caught up in pride, and that pride turns my silly putty into a dried, crumbly mess. Even as an owner I sometime become the ambivalent leader just for the power trip. What I am saying is I am flawed, but at my core my attitude is positive.

Your people who are a part of your business should be your business. It should not be just a "job" to them. It is up to you to find those with the right attitude, and mold them with your business!

One last thing I would like to say:

Treat your employees like diamonds, and they will treat your customers like gold!