The Ripple Effect of Professionalism

The Ripple Effect of Professionalism

Trade Industry Silo

I’ve been in the trade industry for over twenty years. As an automotive shop owner and a coach, I’ve spoken with hundreds of people in the trade industry frustrated over the following.

  • Skill labor shortage/wages
  • Keeping current with technology
  • Outdated public perception

These men and women are business owners, technicians, vendors, suppliers, or are part of the training and educations space such as associations and schools. While most complain and blame, others (the achievers) attempt to do something about it. They realize change starts with them.

What I’ve seen over the years is the trade industry silo. Each attempting to better the industry.

  • EDUCATION (Associations/Schools)


  • Business owners have a challenge attracting and retaining quality team members.
  • Vendors and suppliers have a challenge working with struggling businesses.
  • Associations/Educational institutions have the challenge of membership and filling student and instructor seats

These challenges cause the trade industries to appear as unprofessional to the public. An example is that many consumers have a fear of being overcharged or ripped off. The reality is the average trade business isn’t making a healthy profit.


I believe the solution although simple, is not easy for many. I call it the Ripple Effect of Professionalism. It starts with the businesses who are the face of the industry to the public. Then the suppliers/vendors, followed by the education institutions and trainers. When each area is an example of professionalism every day, It will guide business decision making, your attitude, how you show up each day and impact the other areas of industry. Representing the trade industries as a high-tech profession and viable career option.

  • When a business owner doesn’t show up as professional, you won’t attract and retain the best talent. You won’t have a healthy business. One that is Enjoyable, Sustainable and Profitable.
  • Suppliers/Vendors need to understand the reality of low profits in the average business owner.  Advertising reflects your brand. Don’t depict men, women or the trades unprofessionally.
  • Associations, education institutions and trainers need to represent the value of continued learning. Embrace social technology as well as industry technology. Include leadership training. Encourage today’s students to engage. Share their accomplishments and wins.

We’ve come a long way but there is more to be done. Each area of the trade industries has a responsibility to show up professionally. You represent the trades. It starts with the business owner and the ripple effect they have on the industry. The top 10% of owners are already doing this. The bottom 10% won’t read this article. The remaining 80% have a responsibility to your team, customers, community, family and the automotive and skilled trade industries.

If you don’t know what you don’t know, here is your wake-up call. It takes a pro mindset.  As a professional (business owner) you’re capable of more than you realize.  I challenge you to start representing the industry as a professional today. (Achievers love a challenge.)  Reach out to another business owner, a supplier, vendor or association, school, coach or trainer.

There are scholarships to share in your local area, trainings to budget for and attend, podcasts to listen to, associations to join, schools and causes to get involved in. Think of yourself as a resource. Be an example of professionalism to attract and retain the team members who are looking to be part of a professional business and raise the bar in the automotive and skilled trades.

SHOPS – You’re a resource to your team, customers and community

SUPPLIERS/VENDORS – You’re a resource to shops & education/associations

EDUCATION (ASSOCIATIONS & SCHOOLS) – You’re a resource to shops & suppliers/vendors

The way to solve the trade industry silo is for all areas of the industry to be part of the solution. If you complain about the industry, I will ask you what you are doing about it, because if you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem.

As a business owner and leadership coach/speaker, I learn something every day from my team, customers/clients, peers and suppliers/vendors. These insights help me to better serve my team, customers/clients and community. The relationships I build, fuel me and my continued passion to serve trade business owners, the trade industries and the good people in it. You can do the same for your business. (Subscribe to receive my weekly ‘In The Driver’s Seat’ emails) where I share business insights, tips and advice.

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