Productivity Expert Chuck Coonradt Bridges Work and Play During SCRS Repairer Driven Education Keynote at 2010 SEMA Show

  Author and productivity expert Charles “Chuck” Coonradt will speak at the SCRS Repairer Driven Education series at the 2010 SEMA Show.

Excitement within the collision-repair industry continues to grow as the 2010 SEMA Show approaches, and with it the debut of the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) Repairer Driven Education (RDE). This year, the collision repair industry will have a stronger and larger presence at the 2010 SEMA Show, with both an expanded footprint in the Paint, Body & Equipment section and through RDE seminars offered November 4–5 and tailored to collision-repair businesses.

Kicking off the educational track will be Charles “Chuck” Coonradt, an internationally recognized author, consultant and speaker in the fields of goal setting and profit improvement. In 1973, he wrote The Game of Work to answer the charge that U.S. productivity was not world-class. The Game of Work takes the winning techniques of sports and recreation and applies them to the workplace to increase profitability, productivity, personal satisfaction and success.

Coonradt's methodology includes teaching the principles that unlock keys to employee involvement, engagement and energy, thereby affecting a company's bottom line.

SCRS recently had the opportunity to catch up with Coonradt to discuss the upcoming class he’ll be delivering at RDE.

SCRS: Your seminar opens up a series of more than 21 repairer-driven educational classes being offered by SCRS at the SEMA Show. How does the information you have to present set the tone for the event?

Chuck Coonradt: Unless you yourself are the one pounding the metal, sanding, painting and detailing, your success and the success of the business depends on the performance of others. The classes being presented within the RDE program deal with the “nuts and bolts” of the day-to-day scenarios facing the industry and the specific skill sets required in the repair of the vehicle. The concepts I will be presenting deal with motivating those who perform those operations. Understanding The Game of Work will help a leader/owner to better absorb and, more importantly, apply the content presented in the rest of the classes.

SCRS: Our objective in bringing the collision industry into the SEMA Show was to broaden a repairer’s thinking about how they can introduce different revenue streams into their businesses and how they can think outside of the box to better service their customers. Your course content helps them to look within their companies to better service their employees. Explain a little bit about the principles you are looking to discuss.

CC: There are five principles in the motivation of recreation that drive The Game of Work. First, feedback is more frequent in recreation than it is in work. (Whether a customer or employee, everybody wants to know ‘how am I doing.’) Secondly, the scorekeeping is better in recreation than it is in work. (In baseball, we have hitting streaks or even innings pitched without giving up a hit; in business, we track errors, comebacks and misprints, so no wonder our folks hate ‘tracking.’) Third, the goals are more clearly defined in recreation than they are at work. (Ever been in a shop where, temporarily, we sacrifice quality for speed to complete?) Fourth, the coaching is more consistent in recreation (they don't change the rules in the middle of the game). Consistency is the most desired attribute in a coach. Fifth, there is a higher degree of personal choice in recreation. When people feel choice, you get ownership, and good artisans always ‘sign’ their work.

SCRS: As repairers from a vast array of different business make-ups, from consolidators and multi-store operators to the mom-and-pop store with five employees, what can attendees expect to leave with after attending your seminar?

CC: No matter the size, each of us succeeds based on our ability to get energy, engagement and enthusiasm from our people. The Game of Work teaches the secrets to tapping the motivation of recreation and making it a part of the workplace, regardless of the size of the workforce. The attendees can expect to leave the presentation with the basics of engaging the people in the workforce; the application of which will enhance their daily lives and produce great successes.

SCRS: Your business topics are general practices that all businesses can benefit from. Are there specific areas that relate better to the collision industry?

CC: There are estimated to be more than 40,000 collision-repair facilities operating in the United States. It is safe to assume that most of them do most things correctly. Most of the cars are repaired correctly. Most of the customers are satisfied. Most of the repairs are conducted profitably. MOST! What differentiates those in the “most” category from those in the “best” category is the energy within the people working in the facility. People’s quality of work is affected by their attitudes about that work, the people around them and mostly by their “coach.” Since collision repair is a combination of science and art, engaged people produce better results. The “specific areas” as you refer to them are the concepts of motivation and feedback coupled with scorekeeping—the core principles of recreation.

SCRS: You've done a lot of work within the collision industry over the last few decades. What drew you into this industry?

CC: I met Jeff Hendler in Orlando, Florida, while we were conducting different workshops in the same hotel. We met because he found a fascination in my book and the concepts it entails, and he introduced it to his attendees. Over dinner, he told me there were more collision shops than car dealerships or McDonald’s restaurants put together. The opportunity was vast and compelling and, as a third-generation entrepreneur, I realized that these were my kind of people. The fact that many shop owners and managers adopted our principles and found tremendous successes as a result is the rest of the story.

SCRS: Explain how this will be a seminar to remember versus just another opening speech for an event. How will the information change the lives and perspectives of the attendees?

CC: Each and every one of us interacts with people. Whether that is at home, the workplace, church or social clubs, our daily lives are filled with people. The concepts we will discuss in the opening session are about how to enhance these interactions and place empowerment in the hands of those around us. If you are here with a spouse or significant other, you will be told to first practice this at home. Whenever you demonstrate a true principle, you get immediate results. The longevity of the value of my remarks will only come as the audience chooses to apply them. Those inspired enough to try will be rewarded almost immediately with better behaviors from their teams and better results in their lives.

SCRS: If this were the last speaking engagement of your career, why is RDE the right venue to close this chapter?

CC: First, understand that I am a third-generation small-business entrepreneur. When we started The Game of Work, I had $1,500 because that was all I could borrow. From there, our success was founded and built upon. I truly understand the principles of operating a grassroots business with “skin in the game,” which is at the very core of the collision industry. Since 1985, this industry has produced some of the finest presentations I can remember, and its members have also been some of the best proponents and practitioners of the concepts we endorse. What better way to go out than be surrounded by supporters and friends?

SCRS: If you had only one sentence to inspire someone to attend this event, what would it be?

CC: You can have your people demonstrate the enthusiasm you see as they leave work for a softball game or bike ride, if you will learn and apply these time-tested principles. Let the games begin!

Registration for the 2010 SEMA Show and RDE are both open through the SCRS landing page. Every participant who registers prior to August 31 will be entered into a drawing to win a suite at the Las Vegas Hilton for the run of the SEMA Show, courtesy of SCRS.

About SCRS' RDE Series: The Repairer Driven Education (RDE) series will feature more than 20 seminar offerings, many of which are being offered for the first time during its inaugural launch at the 2010 SEMA Show. The series will be offered as a package, and registrants will have the option to attend six seminars, which will be delivered between 8:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m. on Thursday and Friday of the Show. Each course has been individually selected or crafted by SCRS because the content specifically focuses on information that is relevant to collision-repair professionals and appeals to the diverse array of marketplace perspectives that exist within the collision-repair industry.