WIN – What’s Important Now?

WIN – What’s Important Now?

Everything you know about winning is wrong. The moment of triumph, the congratulations, and the final score—those are the basic components of winning? Right? Wrong! If that shocks you, you are not alone. I very recently was handed this humble reality, not on the shop floor as you might expect, but on a tennis court.

Everybody that works in the automotive repair business can surely relate to this; the vehicles you are most worried about getting done right, always give us the most headaches. Usually the car in question belongs to a relative or your fussy neighbor, right? Why do these situations always turn out bad?

Maybe we care too much.

Outcome thoughts vs. Process thoughts

I know a little about tennis and a lot about body shops. Sometimes what works in one works in the other. One day my tennis coach told me the chief obstacle to improving my game was the fact that I care too much.

“Care too much?” I asked. “Are you serious?”

As it turned out I was having “outcome thoughts.” As I competed against my opponent on the other side of the net, my mind was on my hoped-for victory instead of being focused on what it would take to get there. I wasn’t focused on the Process of Winning, I was only focused on the Winning! This huge “AHA” moment prompted me to apply my newfound knowledge to the collision repair business. This simple, yet profound discovery will not only help you win at sports, but can have a very dramatic impact on your business if applied correctly. I call it WIN. (What’s Important Now?) 

If you can follow WIN, instead of directing your attention at outcomes or results, you will do the right things necessary for the results to properly take care of themselves. More importantly, in the hectic world of the collision repair business, if you can stay disciplined on following your processes (WIN), instead of attending to trivial matters that may be screaming for your attention, you will soon realize a calmer quality of life. Some people call this way of thinking “preparation.”

It amazes me how many in our industry continue to experience Friday afternoon nightmares. Missing parts, wrong parts, parts don’t fit, paint color doesn’t match, etc. The Friday afternoon problems we experience in the collision repair industry have little or nothing to do with the tasks performed on that Friday, but instead the tasks that were either skipped or improperly executed earlier in the week due to a lack of focus on the process. Often during Blueprinting for example.

Outcome Focused vs. Process Focused

Outcome Focus

  • Energy is placed on attaining end product
  • Success or failure is measured at the end
  • Data is collected at the end
  • All or none

Process Focused

  • Energy is placed on each step
  • Success or failure is measured now (before it’s too late)
  • Data is collected along the way
  • Allows for adjustments/corrections along the way


People in our industry do care, but it is a challenging marketplace in a world that judges us based on our KPIs. Perhaps if people placed that care on What’s Important Now instead of stressing about a future KPI, we could win more often? Just a thought.

About the Author:

Dave Luehr
Dave shares his experience from over 30 years as a collision repair industry leader in leadership, lean and Theory of Constraints. Once the owner of a body shop himself, Dave draws on the realities of a real world collision repair shop in his consulting, writing and keynote speeches.

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