Adding Knowledge To Your Toolbox

Dec 2, 2009

Personal growth is expanded with knowledge and the adage, “knowledge is power,” is a saying we’re all familiar with and have heard through the years. Within the scope of any business, there lurks a time when one may ask of himself, “If I only had more education to better operate my business, might I then be leading instead of following?” Business education is a necessary tool within your toolbox of knowledge and the adhesive link from which to grow

Educationally improving yourself by having a strategy plan for completion is important in any growth project. It is the act of getting started that seems to be the immediate hurdle for most. If you could operate your personal and business life more effectively, increase your net earnings, transfer wasted energy that creates indecisive decision making into creatively executed steps to progress, then revving up your education is critical to your success profile.

Back To School

The thought of going back to school can bring personal as well as peer judgments in your ability to jump start or restart your educational growth process. But think and consider that this is an era for creative education. Ranging from traditional degree paths to eLearning and continued adult education at community and college/university levels enables a vista of educational opportunities at various levels. Also, carving out certificates of completion in both business and technology is a popular process for advancing your abilities and business life.

The obvious question is why wait, put-off, procrastinate and come up with reasons not to advance yourself by improving the quality of tools in your knowledge toolbox? Sure, you might say, “I’m successful, have a growing business. I’m paying the bills, taking on new lines of product, forecasting new trends, hiring people, manufacturing on schedule, improving my supply-chain management. So why do I need to have more education?”

Whether you’re a creative person on a vertical mission, a sales representative, a manager, or the big boss, you’re subject to staying not only afloat, but advancing to keep abreast of the competition. How do you do this? Why? You progress daily, monthly, yearly. Keep in mind that there is no generation barrier for well educated people at any level, and there also is no age barrier to start or stop learning. The ability to grow intelligence and improve your business intelligence quotient is only part of the issue. Perhaps overcoming the barrier of intensive competition which requires you to be firmly directed with a vision to your future is truly key and controlled with knowledge tools.

Do you think education is unimportant, out of character, or that you’re too seasoned to need a mental tune-up? Well, consider how education is now manufactured. More opportunities are on the horizon than ever before. You might ask yourself, when was the last time I viewed a promotional educational advertisement in the newspaper from your local community college or university? Perhaps you’ve taken a recent trip on any airline; for certain you’ve viewed a variety of educational opportunities in their in-flight magazine. Simply put, education is vogue, current, hip, challenging and seamlessly available. Stand on the gas and get a piece of the available horsepower.


Getting moving is not easy. There are seemingly more important obstacles to overcome. Remember, the excuses of today are the hindrances for personal and business advancement tomorrow. Consider where you’ll be in 12 months, 36 months, 60 months. The span of time will pass and the clock keeps on ticking. Remember where you were when we came into the year 2000. It seems like yesterday, don’t you agree? Thus, time is on your side if you act in personal and business growth improvement cycles by adding a few needed tools to your knowledge toolbox.

Perhaps think of well known NASCAR driver Ryan Newman, who has race winnings in the tens of millions, as a person not really needing a university education. Without a keen sense for the engineering dynamics of chassis design, the former USAC champion Newman might not have made such a successful switch from open-wheel to the cup series within NASCAR. His insight and communication with his Penske engineers is a demonstration of his skills acquired at Purdue as a vehicle structure engineer.

John Griffin, a spokesman for the Indy Racing League (IRL), said, “I would look at motorsports, more so than any other sport out there, as a sport where the business side is such an essential part of your success.”

Griffin added that racing has become increasingly sophisticated, and it is a platform where someone can become educated and enter the sport being finely tuned in what he’s going to be working on. That’s an advantage for all of us.

Although there are currently few institutions of higher learning which offer specific course titles within the motorsports and automotive aftermarket, in my opinion, there are three principle standouts pioneering the task of bringing education to our industry: the one I work for, 156-year old Marian College, Indianapolis, Ind.; Northwood University, Midland, Mich.; and University of Northwestern Ohio, Lima, Ohio. All three currently offer full majors and minors catering to the educational needs of our industry. Marian College additionally is providing short-term and affordable certificates in aftermarket marketing, management and aftermarket small business growth strategies via workshops and web-leaning. Additionally, colleges and universities are cropping up with advanced educational design in addressing our industry. Until recently, industry specific education has been absent. Now, with the advent of grow-as-you-learn and learn-as-you-grow education models, the excuse mantra is just that, an excuse.

Educate Benefits

You might ask, is education only for the business owner? Then consider how your company might benefit from the expertise provided you via higher education models and the empowerment it affords you to grow and prosper. The trade-off is substantial. For openers, you’ll benefit immediately with psychological and personal growth, potential personal advancement, increased income growth and the big bonus of being more competitive. You’re going to live 168 hours in every week. What you do with those productive hours is a personal opportunity to grow and improve yourself as well as your business.

Consider the tools offered through business administration, finance, management, marketing and supply-chain management. Small and mid-sized companies are grasping at educational opportunities to employ “better business people.” As a college professor, it is my opinion that employees, as well as those in management, need to better understand the entire business picture as an extension to consistent business growth and communication.

The key is to coordinate your personal mission for educational advancement as a process of enabling your business pursuits to grow. With the varied opportunities for you to advance within either the traditional sector of education or a non-degree path which offers certificates of completion, you’ll be gears ahead of the pack whichever program fits you personally.

Without question, planning a comprehensive and doable educational program is critical to completing your personal mission. There are vast and assorted methods to pursue and get the questions answered on class selection, program direction, financing your education, as well as varied start dates and paths to completion. To enrich your experience, you’ll need to engage with a host of counselors, perhaps test into programs and or fulfill requirements to ultimately complete your goal.


It will take commitment from yourself, an understanding and communication within your workplace, perhaps an adjustment to your family and recreation life, as well as a financial investment and most of all, a time commitment for completion. In order to have a strategic direction, you’ll round out your education start, or restart, by bolding your specific avenue of direction with a clear vision which will profoundly transform your life and your career for the better. You’ll then enable yourself to have an excellent education that addresses every dimension of your business pursuit.

Remember, the entire process is only as valid as the educational institution you choose. Without question, the school should have accreditation by a commission for higher education. Your program should have qualifiers such as a well-qualified instructor or professor staff which best embodies the ability to educate for your needs from an academic view as well as their personal field experience. Additionally, you should have a firm grasp on you financing options as well as the payback of any student loans needed to finance your tuition, books and living expenses if necessary.

So, it’s time to do your due diligence and explore not only paths to your personal betterment through educational advancement, but to explore your personal potential once you’ve examined your true goal. And remember, there is no such thing as dumb questions. Do ask others their opinion, call various colleges and trade schools specializing in the automotive sector and business and technical applications and programs, and develop a log to measure your personal strengths and areas for development.


In the next editorial segment, we’ll explore the various programs available to build your business through community college, trade schools and certificate programs. As a Performance Business reader, questions on this topic my be discussed by emailing me personally at Marian College/Indianapolis — or calling me direct at 317.955.6453.