Joe Wrench Warning
I was sitting in class following intently the instructor’s presentation on how to properly lace a motorcycle wheel. I was so excited to finally understand how the process worked. Being the classroom was next to Daytona International Speedway made for some very interesting back ground sounds during the school day. It was easy to get distracted. Every day a few of us would grab lunch from a nearby Taco Bell and sit in the racetrack stands watching the testing for upcoming events both car and motorcycle.
It was nearing graduation time so all of us were excited to get back home and apply all we had gained from the months long program. “You’re all about to get your shingle. Don’t go back home and hang it up thinking you’re now Joe Wrench”. The instructor said this as he was pointing to a sign given each successful graduate advertising the school with our name boldly listed as a graduate. I thought it was a really neat reward for the effort I’d put into the program. The sign really made me confident that I had “something”. However, what he said really didn’t fully hit until years later.
This all connects to what I see in many of the apprentices we bring into one of our businesses. The students have been through their classroom portion and have gained much knowledge. What they don’t understand is that they are missing a few key pieces of the equation. They lack understanding how this all connects to the customer who has the money to ensure they get paid each week. Much like a 16-year-old with a credit card. They can get themselves into some deep stuff pretty quick, until they understand that every action has a reaction. Everything kind of connects in life. It’s more than being savvy with tools and knowing the size of every fastener they may encounter.
As business owners we can provide these apprentices the real-world experience of how they can turn their skills into a very lucrative career. All they must do is learn how to take their skills and turn them into something someone is willing to pay money for. Students can be brilliant with their hands and mind. What they need most is to be shown the structure and processes needed to convert their talent into a viable product. They will get to see how them turning a wrench can bring a smile to the face of a parent depending on their vehicle to get to work and have peace of mind that the vehicle delivers what they expect from it.
We need to harness and direct the raw energy brought to us by our apprentices and show them how everything comes together in life. Providing them structure and showing them what things really matter the most helps them to better apply their talent. They become more confident they are making a difference in the world. It’s more than nuts and bolts or wheels and tires. They come to better understand they are meeting needs and changing lives. Something for which people are more than willing to pay. As their skills grow, they can meet even bigger needs. They’ll learn to make a name for themselves. Job recruiters will find them as a result of their abilities. Joe will be more than a wrench; he has a mind. An even greater creativity.