Repairer Driven Education (RDE) participants attending the Society of Collision Repair Specialists’ (SCRS) RDE headline keynote found themselves immediately immersed in a rapid succession of memorable experiences, including:
Sharing space in the cockpit with a U.S. fighter pilot actively pursued by bogeys;
Getting an up-front, and perhaps too-personal, look at a commercial airline crew losing altitude at an alarming rate; and
Eavesdropping on a squadron of Blue Angels pilots during a post-performance debriefing.
Yet these multimedia sequences, absorbing as they were, served only as a backdrop to the real star of the show. Former U.S. Marine Corps F/A-18 Hornet instructor and "Top Gun" graduate Pilot Patrick "Lips" Houlahan, headline speaker for the RDE series, provided an unforgettable educational event in the Las Vegas Hilton ballroom on the evening of Nov. 3.
Houlahan, whose dynamic stage presence was never overshadowed by his breathtaking audio/visual accompaniment, is a member of Afterburner, Incorporated (Afterburner), a team of current and former U.S. fighter pilots who have an intimate understanding of executing missions in fast-changing and sometimes hostile environments. The gist of Afterburner’s Flawless Execution approach which Houlahan effortlessly tailored to the specific needs of collision repairers with spot-on examples of how the approach is applied in collision businesses is to draw parallels between executing a successful flight mission and running a successful business, before sharing key insights to ensure the best possible outcome while taking into consideration the chaos and unexpected events that can crop up during daily operations.
"Once Lips took the stage, everyone in the room was locked in to what he had to say you couldn’t take your eyes off him," said SCRS Immediate Past Chairman and owner of Dorn’s Body and Paint, Barry Dorn. "As the keynote speaker for RDE, he set the perfect tone by providing information that motivated and inspired all of us. When he was finished, we were all hungry to hear more."
In fact, even audience members asked from the floor when they could again expect to attend another Afterburner session, SCRS says.
Afterburner says its Flawless Execution model is concrete, simple and scalable. It is easy to implement, yet has lasting effects. It consists of four major continuous improvement components:
Plan quickly and effectively by tapping into the power of cognitive diversity. In just six steps, your team can produce detailed plans based on individual accountability and team work.
Brief to win by aligning your team to execute initiatives flawlessly through proper communication techniques.
Execute by creating an execution rhythm, which drives individual accountability; learn to identify and eliminate performance-draining Task Saturation.
Debrief your team on the outcome, creating a culture of learning that’s critical to adapting to a rapidly changing environment and producing better leadership skills.
"When it comes to simplifying a course of action with a standard outline for process management, this was the best presentation I’ve ever attended," said SCRS Vice Chairman Ron Reichen, owner of Precision Body & Paint. "The Flawless Execution approach is a great application for day-to-day repair facility operations, and there were so many suggestions I took from the presentation to adopt into my own release meetings and processes."
At the presentation and throughout the week, SCRS held a silent auction on a set of three "Flawless Execution One-on-One" DVDs produced by Afterburner, a structured lesson approach complete with courseware worth over $1,700. The proceeds of the silent auction went to the Operation Comfort’s Automotivation project, an innovative non-profit initiative that assists wounded service members from all branches of the U.S. military rehabilitate through automotive-related activities such rebuilding and restoring cars, trucks and motorcycles.
Boyd Dingman of Dingman’s Collision Center in Omaha, Neb., placed the winning bid for the DVD set.
"Lips helped bring RDE to a rousing finish, with a presentation emblematic of the high impact approach to training the series strives to achieve," said SCRS Executive Director Aaron Schulenburg. "SCRS thanks Afterburner for their participation, as we look forward to bringing the next generation of industry instruction to the SEMA Show in 2012."