This is an extract from an article that first appeared in MSA Newslink March 2015 by Tony Phillips:
Upgrading your status
As per my last editorial, I’m on a sort of crusade to see if somehow we can improve the image, status and consequently, financial situation for our industry. I desperately want the majority of us to stop accepting the status quo that basically puts in an ascending line of status starting at the bottom level with cockroaches, climbing through rats, raising up to mini-cab drivers with us just, but only just above.
This I believe has to be addressed from various directions which would include business skills, marketing skills, and customer relations skills with last but certainly not least, improved driver training/educational skills.
I remember many years ago when working at a driving instructor training company an occasion which brought this to light. I was conducting a Part 2 driver development training session for a PDI who was using his own car, a Ford Ka. It was quite new and naturally in good condition and I remarked on the fact that once he had qualified, he could use this car as his training vehicle. His response to me was that he didn’t want to use it as he would go to a driving school and use their car for free…(!)
As I have previously advised, my background was in shipping and because of this I understood just how the money is created and spent in a company. Therefore once I became a self-employed driving instructor I was under absolutely no illusion on what can really be considered earnings; the difference between turnover and earnings and costs there are to be covered. This poor chap was going to have a very short sharp shock once he qualified, I thought. So I spoke to the various trainees that I was looking after and found out that many of them just didn’t have a clue about the practical, business, every day working and money life of our industry.
Accordingly, I formulated a series of 2 hour evening classes for them so that they could come along and learn about tax and national insurance; simple book keeping; selling lessons; running a diary; getting new customers; car costs and of course, how to work out what to charge based on what to earn, etc. Not in great detail and, it must be said, not with a great deal of expertise, but at least enough to open their eyes about things and start learning for themselves.
A course like this could go a long way to helping new entrants into the industry from trying to get business by undercutting other local ADIs and therefore not making the others around them have to feel that they must reduce their prices to compete, couldn’t it?
Sue McCormack on the other hand wrote a very good article about the GDE Matrix in our last edition of Newslink and has been giving some great contributions about CCL, Standards Check etc over the last year or so.
You may recall (if you actually do read my contributions???), that some years ago I wrote some pretty caustic articles concerning coaching within driver development although in my defence, I did actually make the point that I was curious about it and wanted to find out more.
Well I did. By taking the Tri-Coaching Partnership’s (which includes Sue McCormack) BTEC 4 coaching course, I discovered a whole new way (well actually, ancient way that we seemed to have forgotten about to be accurate) of helping people to be educated. To be honest, I took it on hook, line and sinker as the saying goes and I now conduct their BTEC aCCeLerate courses as one of their contracted trainers. The point is that in Sue’s latest contribution in a series concerning the GDE (Goals for Driver Education) matrix and its importance to road safety, the main point she is making in this article is the one that for me is the most relevant.
We might remember when learning to become ADIs such phrases as Alert, Direct, Identify when giving instructions. Well this was done to help US to do something rather than our clients. In the same way, the GDE matrix is there to help US to help our clients become more self-responsible drivers and road users. There isn’t any point in them studying it, as for them it’s virtually meaningless, albeit interesting possibly. Therefore it is for us to understand what it’s all about and how to use and incorporate the framework into helping our clients absorb, learn and become more self-aware and develop safe driver attitudes.
In the same way, we need to somehow get ADIs to understand that just knowing what they have to do to improve their earnings, without of course, resorting to long and dangerously tiring working hours isn’t enough. They have to go and do something about it and learn more about those things I mentioned in the first paragraph above. They also have to become self-aware.