Maximum Octane


How To Use Diversity and Inclusion to Grow Our Business with Charlene Parlett

Ep. 36

Even if we don't realize it, and perhaps just like any other industry, the automotive space is traversed by biases that determine how we treat and expect our internal customers to be and, above all things, how we attract and retain them. 

In this episode, Charlene Parlett visits us to raise awareness over the importance of thinking more about diversity and inclusion when writing our hiring ads, during our daily conversations, and how we can make our businesses more appealing to the needs of the modern working class. 

Charlene is an Executive Coach and Speaker at the Automotive Training Institute, Managing Shareholder of IRS Assistance, and a Master Certified Business Coach and Owner of Seamless Coaching Service. She is also part of the Center for Automotive Diversity, Inclusion & Advancement (CADIA), an organization created to promote inclusion and diversity in the automotive industry, help minorities advance in their careers, and reach C-Suite level positions. 

Throughout our conversation, Charlene explained the multiple benefits of thinking more inclusively and using this skill to attract the perfect fit for our business and create a space where internal customers can offer their best version and decide to build a career. We also discuss parental leaves, religious holidays, how to attract younger people to the industry, and much more. 

In This Episode, You Will Learn:

  • Why it is crucial to understand the role of inclusion and diversity in our business growth and evolution (2:04)
  •  Charlene talks about why she joined CADIA and the work they perform (4:13)
  • Charlene talks about some of the automotive industry's most common biases (8:45)
  • Charlene talks about how society shifted how they see parenting and the industry's need to adapt to it (10:11)
  • Charlene shares an exciting idea on internal customers and transportation (16:19)
  • Charlene talks about flexible schedules and how companies should think about it (24:10)
  • Charlene explains how to write appealing ads to attract the right people to work with us (31:51)


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More Episodes


The Destructive Power of Toxic Employees with Keith Katz

Ep. 48
As shop owners, the price we pay for coping with toxic employees is higher than we think. Meet Keith Katz and learn about his story of dealing with a toxic employee for almost a year, which affected his business and health and made him lose several valuable internal customers. Keith has been part of the automotive industry since 1981 and a shop owner since 1998, when he founded Quality Service Center in York, Pennsylvania. We delve into why Keith hired this toxic employee in the first place, the time it took him to realize how this person was affecting his business and his health, and the red flags he ignored he most certainly won't neglect again. Keith depicts some typical toxic behaviors every shop owner should look for, shared examples of how dealing with this person affected him personally and professionally, and the feedback he got after letting the toxic employee go. Keith also shared a beautiful message about friendship and an excellent example of how important it is to have someone in our corner, especially when we can't figure out why showing up at our own shop feels like torture. In This Episode, You Will Learn:How did the story of Keith and his toxic employee start (4:28)The toxic environment's first victim. Keith loses a tenured internal customer (5:56)How to spot a toxic employee before it is too late (7:39)When toxic employees hold an entire organization hostage (12:19)Why some shop owners maintain a toxic employee (16:49)When we start hating going to work in our own shop (23:42)As shop owners, sometimes we have to remember who makes the rules (30:12)Sometimes, a friend's hug is all we need (32:58)Resources:Quality Service Center's websiteConnect with Keith:LinkedInLet's connect:LinkedInFacebookEmail:

A Thousand and One Reasons To Share Metrics with Ken Martin

Ep. 47
Kenneth Martin joins us today to discuss a subject that is often treated as taboo by most shop owners and has the potential to literally take your business to the next level: metrics.Ken is a Process Mastery Instructor, Consultant, and Analyst at the Automotive Training Institute. He has over 35 years of experience in the industry and has owned a collision repair center for 17 years. He is also an I-CAR state chairman for Arizona and an I-CAR National Advisory Council Member.  In this episode, Ken shares why most shop owners should share their metrics with their internal customers and the multiple benefits of doing it. We learn why metrics are vital for businesses and why almost anyone is talking about them. Ken explains that by sharing our metrics with internal customers, we create a transparent and trustworthy environment and simultaneously increase their loyalty and productivity. Ken also explains how sharing metrics brings teams together as a whole, makes reaching goals and objectives easier, and avoids the proliferation of damaging assumptions about how businesses profit and margins. In This Episode, You Will Learn:Why metrics are so vital for any company (2:18)What sharing metrics with your internal customers can do for your business (3:39)How sharing metrics can debunk wrong assumptions about you and your business (5:13)How to make your internal customers know their voice is heard in the company (8:55)How metrics can help you improve your incentives and compensations system (20:53)Ken shares his thoughts on unproductive habits and how to get rid of them (25:41)Connect with Ken:LinkedInLet's connect:LinkedInFacebookEmail:

How To Make Your Clients Forget The World Is On Fire with Mary Kelly

Ep. 46
We are thrilled to welcome the inspiring Mary Kelly to the show for the second time. In this opportunity, she uses her superpower of boiling complex issues into simple ideas to discuss the concept of service and how we should think of it, taking into consideration the global, social, domestic, and economic issues that affect our customers' lives. Mary is an accomplished writer and co-author of over 15 business, leadership, productivity, and personal finance books. She holds two P.h.Ds and two Master's Degrees, served 21 years on active duty in the Navy (retired as a Commander) and is a Hall of Fame Economic Leadership Speaker. In this episode, we highlight the importance of solving the relational issues that might be affecting the quality of our customer service and how to avoid creating mere transactional relationships with them. Mary draws several practical ways of solving real problems that business owners face daily in their relationships with internal and external customers.Mary also shares her thoughts on "the war for talent," using the workplace to serve as our legacy, and using the customer's perspective when thinking of enhancing our customer service level. In addition, we discuss how challenging can be to assume the consequences of bad decisions as business owners, the importance of stepping up in that role regardless, and much more. In This Episode, You Will Learn:What is going through a customer's mind when they enter our business (7:08)The importance of creating partnerships with our customers (11:21)Why some business owners turned complacent and lazy in customer service and how to avoid it (16:28)The massive difference a simple gift card can make (27:41)Making sure our issues don't turn into our customer's issues (35:38)About the courage needed to step up in the role of being our businesses' CEOs (42:37)Resources: Productive Leaders websiteProductive Leaders Access to Mary's Vault of Exclusive ContentBooks of Mary KellyProductive Leaders Free-resourcesConnect with Mary:LinkedInLet's connect:LinkedInFacebookEmail: