Bart Richter, Operations Manager, Applus+ Technologies, Kent, Washington

In the training and coaching work he did he took a real interest in what we were doing, the changes we’d like to see, and tailored everything to what was important to me and the company, not just delivering another canned product.

In fact, the training itself is led by Rob with me actually in there providing sponsorship and direction. So, we take certain situations that happened in the field and work them in ‘real time’ with more give and take, a chance for participants to bounce ideas off of me, get the feedback they need. It takes things to a whole new level, having a voice in what goes on, being part of a team instead of just following company policy.

His coaching also opened my eyes to some of the patterns I was falling into and gave me alternative ways of seeing and doing things.

For example, I’m old school … if you want something done right you do it yourself. But that’s exactly where I was running into problems doing the work of other people, going home tense and stressed out because I was jumping in doing their job all the time.

Now, a manager calls me with a problem and I ask him point blank, ‘Well, what do you want to do?’ First time there’s this awkward silence because he’s not expecting that, basically waiting for me to tell him. Kind of changed his whole mind set, getting that I expect him to do something before calling me, and if he still can’t resolve it, well, maybe there’s something going on underneath that needs more attention so then we can go to the root causes rather than just deal with the symptoms.

And it gives my managers more a sense of security and ownership knowing they can make decisions on a daily basis without having to look over their shoulders all the time.

This was really a tough shift for me to make, this change, and kind of rocky at first. But it’s worked wonders for me and the business, a significant dip in customer complaints, less turnover, and much better meetings with the regulatory agencies as well.

If you’re going to use Rob you can’t be afraid to try something new and stick with it because what he has to offer goes, I think, into playing a big part in the maturation of a manager and the ability to fulfill that role. This is how it came together for me.

Bart Richter, Operations Manager, Applus+ Technologies, Kent, Washington