Are You A Success or Victim?

May 1, 2024 | Electric Vehicles, Motivational

By Andy Latham

I recently visited two businesses in the same week, both collision repair centers, and that is where the similarities ended. One business is a success story, the other was just getting by.

The successful business moved into their current site 11 years ago with a plan to pay off the site in 10 years – they paid it off in five; the other business had been in their site for over 20 years and still didn’t own it.

The difference between them was attitude and mentality. One business was welcoming and looked professional, the other was the exact opposite.

In both cases, I was delivering the same high voltage training refresher. The first business looked on it as an opportunity to further develop their team and the second business felt that this training was something that they had to complete to maintain accredited status for insurance company work.

One business has a success mentality, the other has a victim mentality.

The successful business is led by an influential, passionate, and forward-thinking leadership team – they want to give the best impression to their customers, do the best job possible, value and develop their team whenever possible, knowing that a team that is valued will stay together.

They do not have any insurance repair contracts, all their work comes from recommendations and vehicle manufacturer approvals, and if an insurance company approaches them for work, they have to pay their retail rate and cannot dictate rates and terms. They are structural aluminum approved, one of a very small number in the area, and do significant repairs on aluminum-bodied vehicles – while I was there, they were fitting a large body section to an aluminum vehicle with great skill, quality, and expertise.

The candidates undertaking the refresher training were willing and ready to learn, happy to demonstrate their knowledge and experience, and also show evidence of previous work completed along with all the specialist tools that they had available from their manufacturer approval.

These two operations showed something that can affect us all – do we have a passion for what we do, or have we lost that passion and let it become something that we need to do?

In complete contrast, the second company was very negative about the training. Questions were asked like “How long will this take?”, “Why do I need this training?”, and “How much is this going to cost?” were very prominent in our discussions prior to the course. On the day, there were moans about the way insurance companies dictate terms, charges, discounts, and repair methods and that they do not have the money to pay for training.

What became very evident early on in the training was that they didn’t value or invest in their staff. As a training refresher, this is not the first time the company has completed high voltage training and they should have the appropriate high voltage tools and personal protective equipment available – all they had were one incorrectly rated pair of high voltage gloves! Is there anything more demotivating to staff than their employer paying for their training to achieve an accreditation, and then not doing their duty by investing in the proper tools and personal protective equipment to keep them safe? We often hear the statement “all the gear and no idea,” in this case, they had all the idea and no gear!

These two operations showed something that can affect us all – do we have a passion for what we do, or have we lost that passion and let it become something that we need to do?

If you are in the former group then great, surround yourself with people who have the same passion and drive, the same impetus to constantly improve, grow and succeed, to value and invest in your team and yourself. If this isn’t you there are a couple of options:

  1. Get out of the business. If it is that bad then take the most drastic option, what you are doing right now is no good for you, your family or your team; you are dragging them down to your level and depressing their potential and it may be that you are better off out of the way.
  2. Change your mindset. Stop being a victim and start loving on your team, change the thinking in the company, look for opportunities to advance the organization and improve the situation, invest in their education, the environment they work in, and how you treat your customers and work providers. This will not change overnight, it will require investment – investment in financial terms but also in time and effort, and if done correctly, you should see a change in mindset away from a victim mentality.

One company I have worked with over many years decided that they needed to change how they operated and enhance their profit margins, so we looked at a couple of their insurance contracts and decided to “retire” them all. This meant they lost a lot of work for a few months and they suffered losses because they refused to lay off any staff, but one-by-one these companies came back and asked them to do their work. The difference now was that the work was at their rates, not the rates dictated to them by their work providers. The result over a 12-month period was a reduction in work volumes, much happier (and better paid) staff, money to invest in training, business improvements and equipment, improved work quality, and more profit. But the most important part of it all was they lost their victim mentality where everything was a problem and they started acting as winners across the business.

    Are you a success or a victim? The choice is yours. Salvage Insight can assist you to work this out so contact us for more details and a free one-hour discussion. Visit

    Andy Latham is Managing Director of Salvage Wire. His desire is to highlight the professionalism in the vehicle recycling industry, increase knowledge and understanding, and keep everyone safe, ethical and profitable.

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