Tag Archives: finding a mechanic

Why Values Are Important in Business

Why Values Are Important in Business

You may think that business and values do not have much in common. Perhaps business seems directly functional, while values seem to have to do with personal perspectives and cultural background. However, values are incredibly important to how businesses operate with their partners and their clients – whether the outfit is an auto mechanic in Boulder or any business.

 

Why is it important for a business to have values?

 

Ethics is not just important to the consumer or to affiliates of an organization but to an organization itself. In fact, W. Michael Hoffman has pointed out in risk assessment publication Corporate Compliance Insights that lack of values actually increases the risk of a firm. Here are a few key reasons why business management should be values-driven:

 

Pressures of the market – When you have to find ways to cut costs, you may not have as many checks and balances in place to maintain proper behavior. Employees might have their own ability to act one way or another, leading to possible ethical violations.

 

Diversity – In the United States, there are people interacting with different genders, religions, and ages. This diversity leads to different perceptions of what it means to act professionally within a business. While there must be commonly understood codes of conduct, the way that a person comprehends the exact same scenario and information can be very different from another person’s based on their demographic characteristics.

 

Globalization – People from various cultural backgrounds will not all experience different situations and circumstances the same. In certain cases, ethics becomes confusing related to the issue of culture, in which case the issue is sometimes considered a cultural sensitivity rather than a simple ethical precept.

 

Remote workers – Since so many people are working from a distant location part or all of the time, it is important to have values that infuse the organization at the management level.

 

Business partnerships – Your alliances with other businesses are another area in which ethical errors might occur. Values-driven tactics are effective not just at defining the ways that interactions occur internally but with external partners as well.

 

Team structure – There is more of a communal, integrated, team-based notion of internal growth in business today, with merit and individual aptitude leading the way to decision-making. Removing the top-down nature in which decisions have traditionally been generated has allowed all players to feel part of the process.

 

Entrepreneurship & intrapreneurship – Often now, companies are advocating that members of their staff, even at the entry level, become more innovative, try tactics (within structured confines) that embrace risk, and even get to use some funding. This method, called intrapreneurship, gives anyone working at a business a chance to feel like they are the owner and assume the relevant responsibilities.

 

Key values within a business setting

 

The above elements of business tell us reasons that values are important to business. However, what exactly are we talking about? What are the most common business values?

 

Here are some of the top values that are used by the world’s best businesses, according to responses to a questionnaire conducted by the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Alumni of the Stanford business school were asked to list the values that were most critical within a business setting. Here are a few key values, along with the comments that were made by those who responded.

 

Golden rule treatment – Wealthfront CEO Andy Rachleff noted that he thinks the golden rule is a fundamental precept of a solid business interaction. When a person approaches others with respect and with a goal of making a strong impression in a business setting, typically the favor will be returned. You will not only gain credibility but will also have greater peace-of-mind. You can put yourself at risk by acting in a manner that assumes mutual concern; however, even if you do get hurt occasionally with this strategy, you can simply discontinue your engagement with anyone who does not treat you in kind.

 

Integrity – Approaching your communications with all parties from a perspective of consistency and authenticity will point you in the right direction, according to Pagatech cofounder Jay Alabraba. Taking this honest approach will mean that you are not deceiving anyone or scamming them. In other words, you want to transparently convey what you are offering to everyone, regardless whether it hurts your immediate profits. University Games CEO Bob Moog also mentioned this value as a high-priority one in a business setting, noting that he had many handshake deals with other businesspeople, resulting in beneficial relationships that had lasted decades.

 

Straightforwardness – People often want to see a person who is going to talk with them directly and straightforwardly, advised Thought Leadership Lab CEO Denise Brosseau. Often people will want to work with startups or other organizations outside of Wall Street since smaller and less traditional companies can often have a greater degree of directness. This direct dynamic is aligned well with entrepreneurialism and the notion of getting to hand-select the partners through which one conducts business, said Brosseau. In that capacity, a company is able to not only offer straightforwardness itself but be able to filter for that quality in its clientele.

 

Mutuality – Tiny Prints co-founder Laura Ching noted that trust is built into a company that creates a familial, open-communication environment. When firms look for new employees, they can specifically have a desire to hire people who care about the strength of their bonds with others. The culture of an organization can also further enforce and enhance the notion that interconnection is critical to the mission of the company. People should be able to get courtesy from one another, but also friendliness. In that type of setting, people will feel comfortable to get even better at interacting with their peers. Loyalty and retention can both be high with employees and, in turn, with customers; after all, your clients become attached to certain members of your staff. When there is an implicit sense of honesty and having one another’s best interests at heart, you are able to acquire feedback that would otherwise be challenging to attain.

 

Transparent messaging – When a company has many different projects occurring at the same time, conducted by a broad array of players, there can be a huge range in the perspectives – leading, potentially, to communication difficulties between different projects that are ultimately interrelated. Empowered Careers CEO Steve Poizner commented that executives at companies should promote a business culture for which truth is critical to all interactions, regardless of all other factors. Additionally, said Poizner, being strong and unafraid allows someone to make the kind of impact they want with their customers and in their community.

 

Gratitude – We all want to be appreciated by businesses when we give them our money and invest in a relationship with them. As indicated by Ariat International CEO Beth Cross, organizations should remember that their clients care to know that they are appreciated.

 

Simple value – You can find out what the client needs in various ways, as noted by Design Within Reach founder Rob Forbes. Whether you use market research or simply release your offering to the market, you would be wise to think in terms of what the customer would actually value. By creating products that are high-quality and then communicating their story to your customer, you are able to give something to others through a business context that is authentic and can improve their quality of life.

 

Passion – Passion is another of those terms that may seem to be antithetical to the dry and serious needs of business. However, you really do want to care about what you do for a living – and be able to say the same about the people from whom you buy your goods and services.

 

An honest Boulder auto mechanic

 

It helps to get an idea of why values are important to business, and the specific values that should be high-priority for organizations. How can this search for values be reflected in your choice of car mechanic? We originally started Independent Motors because we felt our city needed an auto repair shop that was more in line with Boulder’s values – Community, Loyalty, and Honesty. See Our History and Beliefs.

How to Avoid Getting Ripped Off by a Mechanic

 

Avoid Getting Ripped Off by a Mechanic

Roger White was in traffic with his wife Sue when a woman pulled up next to him and told him that his taillight was out. Concerned that the police might ticket them for it, they headed to what Roger later called a “franchise fix-it shop” (assumedly referring to one of these companies) and left the car there for the fix.

 

When the couple returned to the mechanic to get the car, the clerk brought up their bill, and the amount was 25% more than the estimate they had originally been given. When they glanced at a copy of the bill, they found the culprit: a rather costly “service fee.”

 

Sue immediately and loudly questioned what this item was doing on the bill – seeming to draw the eyes of everyone in the room. The man behind the counter quickly looked at the bill, acted puzzled, and said he would remove it.

 

The Whites were shocked, realizing how often people must have paid that item (which had nothing to do with the actual services performed) without questioning it. When they got home, Roger started looking for answers. Here is some advice from him and others on how to avoid mechanic rip-offs:

 

#1 – Get to know the shop.

 

Talk to your family, friends, and colleagues to see where they go for repair work. Get to know the philosophy of the shop, if possible; and consider reading a few reviews or testimonials. Finally, don’t be afraid to stop in and check it out before making your decision. Is the staff friendly and professional? Is the environment organized and clean?

 

#2 – Declare your independence.

 

Andrew Tarantola of Gizmodo agrees with Roger White that independent mechanics are the way to go. Tarantola notes that it is harder for a local shop to get away with systematic overcharging “because the business model dictates they build long-term relationships with their customers.”

 

While you may not be thinking in terms of a long relationship, there is another advantage beyond trust: documentation. When one central location has all your service history, it is easier to keep track of when routine maintenance of fluids and parts (belts, tires, etc.) should occur.

 

#3 –Take a crash course.

 

No, you don’t actually have to go to a car repair class. However, if you want to protect yourself from the slimiest of auto repair shops, skimming through your owner’s manual can’t hurt. By understanding typical service intervals, you will have a better sense when certain repairs are reasonably due.

 

#4 – Carefully assess the problem so you can communicate it clearly.

 

You don’t want a mechanic to waste time figuring out what is wrong with your car, noted auto repair author Lauren Fix. Specificity can be your best friend when you are trying to get a fast diagnosis and cure, she said. Ask yourself questions such as, “What is the speed when the problem occurs?” and, “Do I only hear the troubling sound when I’m turning a certain direction, or when I’m idling?”

 

#5 – Consider the shady mechanic’s perspective.

 

How does the shady mechanic think? Well, as you might guess, technicians are often (and probably in the vast majority of situations) more a reflection on the ethics and integrity of the shop than they are rogue con-men.

 

Take the perspective of Joe, a seasoned mechanic with four decades experience who spoke with ABC’s 20/20 about his experience in the past bilking car owners out of their money. Joe told the news outlet that the primary reason mechanics will swindle people with fixes that their cars don’t need is because many shops have tiny profit margins. Often the business owner or manager will push the technicians to recommend repairs that are purely intended to drive up the bill. In that kind of setting, mechanics feel compelled to give bad advice in order to keep their jobs.

 

Joe said that he himself had once intentionally misguided people. While he felt terrible to count himself among the shady mechanic population, he explained the conundrum: “[W]hen your boss tells you, ‘Either you do it here or the door’s right there,’ what are you going to do?”

 

Here are a few of the tactics and lingo used by technicians in corrupted organizations:

 

  • Pouring on gravy work – Would you like some gravy with that? If you’re talking about car repair, the answer is No. Gravy work refers to billing a longer period of time than is needed to complete the task. The specific example he gives of this kind of gouging is when a shop charges you for 2.5 hours of labor to turn the rotors and replace the pads – the better part of which is, you guessed it, gravy.

 

  • Flushing your wallet – A wallet flush is when you try to “flush” out as much money as you can from a customer via the recommendation of additional services – a typical occurrence with a discount oil change. Part of the reason it’s called a “flush” is that you are attempting to get the car owner to agree to numerous fluid flushes: coolant, power steering, transmission, etc.

 

  • Charging for nothing – An auto repair shop will often bill people for services it does not complete. For example, if an air filter is complicated to replace (as it is in some models), mechanics will sometimes not do it but charge for it anyway. The owner cannot verify the work because the air filter isn’t easily accessible.

 

  • Exploiting the idiot light – The check engine light, not so politely called the idiot light at some shops, is a facilitator of many costly parts replacements. Scammer mechanics love the check engine light because it is always associated with an OBD-II (On-Board Diagnostics II) error code. “Guys kind of have the phrase where every code deserves a part,” said Joe.

 

#6 – Gauge the service writer.

 

The service writer, who produces the estimates and bills, should seem competent and well-informed on maintenance and repair issues. That person is your primary point of contact and should not leave you feeling uneasy or confused. When you see a tight-lipped, stand-offish service writer, head for the hills.

 

#7 – Expect an estimate.

 

You should not allow anyone to start working on your car without giving you an estimate for how much the work is expected to cost. Most estimates are given over the phone so even though a written estimate carries more legal weight it may not be feasible to obtain. Estimates are estimates, so it is possible that a bill will be slightly higher, but you should not see anything that is grossly in excess of that stated amount.

 

#8 – Go over the bill at the shop.

 

Think back to Roger and Sue. Make sure you check the bill carefully and discuss anything you don’t understand while you’re still at the shop. The shop should review your invoice with you before you pay.

 

#9 – Dispute the bill if it doesn’t make sense.

 

If the bill seems problematic, get the old parts from the shop if you can. Dispute the charges and ask to discuss it with the owner. As a last resort, you can go to the Better Business Bureau or even sue.

 

Conclusion: local + independent = better

 

What is the most important of the above tips? Number two of course: choose independence. “The one-on-one relationship between driver and mechanic that smaller repair shops foster can really help consumers have confidence in both the work that’s performed and in the vehicle itself,” said Edmunds.com.

 

Are you in need of auto service? At Boulder’s own Independent Motors, we believe great service starts with open, honest communication – and we back up that communication with sheer expertise. Meet our staff.