Thom Tschetter
Thom Tschetter
Thom Tschetter has served our industry for nearly four decades as a management and sales educator. He owned a chain of award-winning transmission centers in Washington State for over 25 years. He calls on over 15 years of experience as a certified arbitrator for topics for this feature column. Thom is always eager to help members of our industry and continues to be proactive in pursuing ways to improve your business and your life.
Butterfly or Moth?
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about business and life. The other day I was about to tap my secret code into my garage door key pad when I noticed the most beautiful moth I’ve ever seen. It was perched right next to the key pad. At first, I thought it was a butterfly because it was so large and so pretty. I’d alway...

It's Who You Are
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about business and life. Last month, I asked you to consider what having a servant’s heart means to you. I said that it starts with a commitment to serving — serving customers and serving mankind in general. Your homework was to observe encounters in your life that exemplify the quali...

I Couldn't Wait to Tell You About This
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. This month I have two unrelated experiences to share with you. Both contain great examples of service commitment… service to customers and service to mankind in general. As you read these brief true stories, look for the ideas you can apply in yo...

Don't Aspire to Be Great
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. You might think I’ve lost my mind with the title of this article. I hope it caught your attention. After over 25 years of reading and listening to me talk about how to make your business the best it can be, how to differentiate yourself from the ...

Seek Wisdom In Dispute Resolution
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. In this article, we’ll look at wisdom’s role in resolving disputes. At one time or another, we all face situations in which we’re asked to intervene or to interject ourselves into a dispute. It might be between employees, your children, your ...

Seek Wisdom to Take the Gray Out of Your Ethical Dilemmas
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. To get the most out of this article, you might want to reread my last two articles. In those articles, I presented the importance of using wisdom to revolutionize your decision-making process and how wisdom can help you make the wisest and best use...

Seek Wisdom: The Wisest and Best Use of Time
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. Most of you have probably heard the phrase “highest and best use.” It’s usually used for determining the value of a piece of real estate. For instance, how many times have you seen perfectly good buildings torn down and replaced by a resta...

Seek Wisdom: Revolutionize How You Make Decisions
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. As we turn the calendar page from 2017 to 2018, this is a good time to reflect on the past and make plans for the future. Have you ever noticed that, when we reflect on the past, we tend to think in the negative? We say things like, “If I coul...

A Cure for Imperfect Memory
It’s been a while since I’ve written an article about a customer complaint, a small claims court or arbitration matter, or an example of bad customer service. The fact is that I rely on you folks contacting me with your own real-life adventures and misadventures in customer service. Lately, the well of stories has gone dry. Maybe it’s because you’re all getting so good at keeping custom...

Inspiration or Desperation? When's the right time to upgrade your shop management software?
Over the past few months, I’ve had conversations with shop owners, software providers, and most recently, with GEARS Managing Editor Rodger Bland. The conversations have focused primarily on how to help shops make good choices when purchasing shop management software. The reason Rodger and I decided to include this article in this issue is because it’s the Powertrain Expo edition. We know t...

Do you Care... Really?
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. This past week, I had a customer service experience that I believe defines the single most essential aspect of providing outstanding customer service. It provides a great example of how you can differentiate your company from the competition. Be...

Eulogies Are Wasted On Dead People
Why is it that people have to die before anyone says something nice about them? Turns out you can improve your business — and your overall happiness — if you remember to acknowledge the people around you… while they’re still here.

That’s How It Should Be
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. This article tells a story and provides a lesson we can all learn from, about two tradespersons from outside our industry. The stories come from my personal experiences with two professionals from separate industries that share challenges similar t...

5 Steps to Boost Technician Efficiency
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. When considering the shop equipment and tools theme of this issue of GEARS, don’t ignore the importance of management equipment and tools as well. This article focuses on five steps you can take to increase technician efficiency. Ironically, f...

House Call Diagnostics
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. Have you ever thought about the expression, “My way or the highway”? Why is the “highway” a negative when its counterpart, the “high road” isn’t? Makes you want to say, “Hmmm.” Today I want to share two recent customer service ...

Diagnosing and Fixing Profit Leaks
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. In keeping with the diagnostics theme of this issue, I thought it’d be appropriate to share some quick tips for diagnosing and fixing some common profit leaks that many shops are experiencing — some known and some unknown to the owners. With...

First Oil, Then Water… Now What?
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. In over 20 years as an arbitrator and mediator, I’ve observed that most customer disputes are over unmet expectations or misunderstandings. The BBB reports that warranty disputes significantly outnumber almost all other categories of disputes. ...

The Golden Rule
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. In over 20 years as an arbitrator and mediator, I’ve observed that most customer disputes are over unmet expectations or misunderstandings. The BBB reports that warranty disputes significantly outnumber almost all other categories. You often h...

Proactivity: A Good Start to Great Leadership
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. Lately, I’ve been contemplating what it takes to be not just a good leader, but a great leader. Is there something you can start doing today that you aren’t doing now that will move you toward becoming a great leader? In his 2001 book, Good ...

Manage Things But Lead People
Up Your Business is an exclusive GEARS Magazine feature in which I share stories, insights, and reflections about real business and life challenges. I don’t know about you, but back in school, I used to hate when a test question started with the phrase, “Compare and contrast…” It always meant that I was going to have to think and then write an essay about what I thought. Who knew that s...