Car Wash Guys set Industry Standards on Employee Fairness.
We believe that whether corporations expense their stock options is besides the point, especially when the stock is worthless. We have studied over the years the rift between employees and employers and we have discovered many great brand names are eventually destroyed from internal strife and friction within the company itself. Many great corporate leaders and thinkers of our era have discussed this at length. Tom Peters, consultant and author has discussed this in speeches and in many of his books. The book "Built to Last" discusses what makes and breaks great companies, from their mission statement to their employees and sense of team spirit. The late great Vince Lombardi had many comments on the subject of Team Work. Winston Churchill and General Patton, even Von Clauswitz which both leaders had read frequently in understanding the will to win and rules of engagement discussed the frontline and the dedication needed.
So many great companies understand the game, companies like Microsoft, Starbucks, Wal-Mart, Enterprise Rent-A-Car, South West Airlines, Dell Computers, HP (pre-Compaq merger), Disney, AFLAC, CISCO, Patagonia, Continental Airlines, Genetic, Harley Davidson, Fed Ex, Marriott, American Express, Texas Instruments, etc. Well so do we, Washguys understand the game.
We watch as the rest of the car wash industry discusses the dynamics of labor, without ever understanding that the Labor are actually real people. Sure they have names, but in the eyes of the Car Wash owner typically they are a cost of doing business, a large percentage of the cost, and therefore whenever possible they are exploited for higher profits. This goes against many of the great entrepreneurs who discuss the benefits of team work and labor, not to mention the advice of Deming, Perot, Fred Smith, Howard Hughes, Nolan Bushnell, Sam Walton, Ray Kroc, Tom Monahan, Dave Thomas, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Eisner, Dell and Schultz. I find it so interesting that such great entrepreneurs and business leaders of our lifetime have spent so much time and breath over such issues and still it falls on deaf ears. The famous quote "Pearls to Swine" seems rather apropriate in the Car Washing Industry with regards to advice on building a team and treating employees fairly. As if "empowerment" was a BUZZ-WORD of the past, which now has no meaning at all.
Some entrepreneurs will repeat the mantra "Customers are always right" and "Customers First" while the best business leaders like Jack Welsh, Tom Peters and Fred Smith will say "NO," Customers are very important, but employees are first. Even our own US Marines, Navy Seals and Airborne Rangers all say that the team is all you have when the going gets tough; they act decisively, matter of factly and with knowledge close at hand. The Coal Miners who lived through their ordeal in Pennsylvania said that they all decided early on, that "we all live or we all die," this is why they are all alive today. It is for this reason that the PA Governor was able to say "All 9 are alive" "We are 9 for 9."
Fred Smith talks about sub cultures and small teams of employees developing their own strength, Jack founder of Enterprise Rent-A-Car has a culture of aggressive young team players who work together and are rewarded for it. Howard Shultz insists that all employees are entitled to a 401K with stock options and calls them Team Partners. Sam Walton early on empowered his employees and visited every store to shake hands. Bill Gates says we will not lay off when everyone else does and immediately starts hiring the talent and employees who have been disenchanted from other companies. The late Walt Disney cared more about his employees than his life itself. Michael Dell sits in on meetings and writes personal notes and gives kudos directly to his team. Winston Churchill inspired a nation. General Patton defeated the Germans, and if we look at Schwartzkoff, Horner or any of the other great leaders of the Gulf War, it was all about the men and women in uniform, not themselves, it was about the team.
This picture was taken outside a car wash asking the employees to park in the dirt. Interestingly enough the car wash employees who clean cars all day were asked to park in the dirt, received no discount to wash their own cars and were told to like it. Hardly the way you will see our Team Members treated. Many might say that we are going overboard on this issue. Are we? Certainly not in the eyes of the greatest leaders and businessmen of our time. As a matter of fact we search our soles to determine if we are actually doing enough for our team. Sure we demand hard work, customer service and integrity of our team members, but in return they know we are with them all the way.
It is a wonder that such companies which do not subscribe to these principles can stay in business. I question the longevity of any company who forsakes it's team for short term profits. You can have both short term profits which consecutive quarters and strong team work and proper employee relations, as a matter of fact you can either have both or none at all.
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