Jim Cathcart
Jim Cathcart
Jim Cathcart is a Hall of Fame professional speaker, a sales consultant, a strategic advisor to ATRA, and a regular contributor to GEARS. You may reach him at Cathcart.com or send him a message through GEARS. See his 110 video lessons for free at Thrive15.com/acorn.
The Mother Road
Get Your Kicks on Route 66! When I was 9 years old, my family made the classic American pilgrimage to California via Route 66, the Mother Road. This amazing highway, prior to interstates and freeways, was the link from Illinois all the way across our nation to the Santa Monica Pier in Los Angeles. It was high adventure to travel this route. Virtually all of it was two lanes and there were plent...

When I'm 64
“When I get older, losing my hair, many years from now…” That’s how Paul McCartney started his song, When I’m 64. I’d revise it to read, “…any moment now!” I turned 64 some years ago and I remember it well. It was a rite of passage because of the song, much like 1984 was after reading George Orwell’s novel of the same name. 64 isn’t just significant because of Social Se...

Think About It
“Without reflection there is no true learning.” — Kevin Buck, philosopher, author Intelligence doesn’t serve us until we stop to consider what we’ve seen. They say that the essence of intelligence is the ability to make distinctions, to notice the differences, to see more than the obvious. You may look at a transmission and see exactly what I see, but I’ll only notice what I...

Vital Questions for Leaders
Do you think of yourself as a leader? It’s really helpful when you do, because, believe it or not, some people are watching you and following your examples. I’ve been involved in many businesses, shops, teams, clubs, associations, platoons, bands, and assorted groups over the years. In each situation, I’ve found that achieving big things always involved getting others to embrace or adopt ...

Repaired in the USA
When I grew up, it seemed that very disposable product was labeled Made in Japan or Made in China. If it was easy to reproduce or inexpensive, that’s where it was made. Those products may have been made in another country, but it seems we often had to repair or replace them. Made in the USA products were produced in Detroit or Pittsburgh or Chicago. They were solid, reliable, and substantial. ...

How to Create the Will to Win
Leading a team of technicians and office personnel doesn’t seem to be directly related to winning, but a winning attitude and a winner’s discipline is present in every successful shop you see. Olympic Gymnastic Champion Peter Vidmar told me, “My goal was to train about 15 more minutes than the rest of my teammates. That little extra focus over a few years led to some perfect 10s at the Ol...

Outcomes: The Reason That Jobs Exist
Ask most people, “What do you do for a living?” and they’ll describe their job title. “I’m a salesperson,” “I’m a builder,” or, “I’m the office manager.” If pressed for more, they’ll describe the functions they perform, as in a typical job description. That’s because most people focus on actions or processes rather than on outcomes. So what’s wrong with that? Here...

From Expo to Exponential Improvement
For a lot of people who attend Expo, it appears that much of what happens in Vegas stays in Las Vegas. That may be reassuring for some folks, but for most of us, there are still ideas and communications from our Expo experience that we need to follow through to completion. Every year our industry packs its gear and heads to Expo. At this exciting event, they meet the best of the best in our pro...

Highest and Best Use
In real estate, they talk about the “highest and best” use of parcels of land. For example, a lakefront lot in a resort area probably isn’t well suited for a convenience store, unless there’s a dock and plenty of boat traffic to serve it. A downtown lot wouldn’t lend itself to farming, and so on. The highest and best use of a property is the one that serves the needs of the location a...

Decision Making: Yes or No?
Dr. Spencer Johnson, author of Who Moved My Cheese? and co-author of The One Minute Manager , once invited me to collaborate with him on a new book titled Yes or No: The Guide to Better Decisions. Over the month or so that we worked together, I observed that he was a master of decision making, so I was keen to learn his methods. Here’s my interpretation of his method in a nutshell: First, iso...

Teaching Jason to Drive
While teaching his grandson to drive, Jim discovered that many of the points that were important for a good driver also applied to running a successful business.

Ownership is American
The American Dream has always been about freedom and ownership. The Founding Fathers debated the following statement for our founding documents: “Life, Liberty and Property,” and ended up compromising with the words, “…and the Pursuit of Happiness.” Happiness in this context meant achieving satisfaction and meaning in what you do. That’s what property does. The reason property is so...

Acres of Diamonds
Former civil war officer and Baptist minister Russell H. Conwell was once asked to mentor seven young students who couldn’t afford college tuition. This led to his delivery of 6,152 lectures in what became a worldwide tour and the creation of his famous book, “Acres of Diamonds.” The funds generated by the book and his lectures allowed him to found Temple University, and has provided educati...

Minor Parts
It was just a flow control valve. Not really a major part. I’d put the car in gear to back out of my garage and it would slip — a delay — not every day, but often enough to make me worry about my newly rebuilt transmission. I took it back to the shop twice to identify the problem, but none of the usual-suspect solutions seemed to make a lasting difference. After a week or two, there was t...

Teams
How many people work for you? About half of them. It’s an old joke, but too often it truly is the case in shops around the world. We’re all employed at the same company and we show up at the same location, usually at the same time, but that doesn’t mean that we really work while we’re there. Nor does it assure that we work well together. This goes to the idea of Employee Engagement: ...

Master Craftsman Mentality
Ask a customer whom they’d prefer to have working on their car and you’ll likely get two answers: When it comes to repairing the car, they want a master craftsman. When it’s time to calculate the bill, most any mechanic will do. In other words, they want the best technician to repair their cars, but they’d rather just pay street prices for the work. But there’s an important di...

"I Didn't See That Coming!"
What’s the last big change you didn’t expect to see, but it came about anyway? Looking back a few years, how about some of these: Yellow Pages replaced by Google searches or asking Siri Customers talking to each other about you via Yelp! without you knowing Trade school graduates not considering a transmissions specialty Tablets and smartphones replacing desktop computers Teen...

A Life Well Lived
“How’s life?” It’s not uncommon to have friends ask this question when they haven’t seen you in a while. What’s your answer today? How’s “it” going? Now, before you get tempted to look at the obvious, like checking the weather to see what kind of a day it is, let’s step back and take a wiser look. Even a rainy or bad-weather day can still be a time of profound satisfaction o...

How Many Times Should You Ask Someone to Buy?
How many times do you need to ask a prospect to authorize you to rebuild their transmission? One? Three? Six? You’ve no doubt heard that it takes a number of no answers to a sales presentation in order to reach a yes. That’s been proven true many times over many years. Recent estimates are six asks before you get a yes. But what isn’t understood about this is that these aren’t the same ...

If You Don't, Who Will?
You arrive at work before your coworkers and you don’t have a key to the shop. You aren’t the one in charge; you aren’t even on the clock yet. It’ll be 15 minutes before someone else gets in to open the shop. But there’s a woman in the driveway who was just looking in the front door. She’s returned to her car and is sending an email on her cell phone. Obviously the reason she’s there...