John Patterson and Dean Thomas Turk shaking hands and smiling

John Patterson and Dean Turk pose for a photo before Patterson’s guest lecture.

Dr. Scott Browne recently hosted local business owner John Patterson as a guest speaker in his Management of Organizations courses. Patterson is the President of the OC Auto Team, owner of multiple Orange County auto dealerships and a former Toyota Motor Corporation executive. His company, consisting of two Mazda dealerships, one Hyundai dealership and an Acura dealership, is consistently voted “Best Place to Work in OC” by the Orange County Register.

Mr. Patterson was an engaging and insightful guest, sharing some of the practices that make his organization such a great one to work for and why he has an employee turnover rate of 4% when the industry averages 50% turnover. The OC Auto Team achieves such low turnover rates thanks in part to the company culture established by Patterson, the deliberate considerations made when making hiring decisions and by treating his employees fairly and with respect. He explained how having happy, motivated and committed employees affects the rest of the organization, from colleagues to customers, and increases loyalty. His strategies have allowed his company to grow from 25 employees when he started to approximately 250 employees today across his four Orange County dealerships.

Full classroom of students listen to speaker.

One strategy implemented by Patterson is called “Partnership in Productivity.” The practice is similar to a philosophy familiar to many Argyros School students called Market-Based-Management (MBM®). Both Partnership in Productivity and MBM give bonuses to employees making suggestions to improve company operations. In addition to the initial bonus, suggestions that are implemented and end up being valuable to the company result in additional and increased monetary rewards, reflecting the appreciation of ownership for the improvement that was made. Rewarding employees this way increases their loyalty and engagement and instills a sense of ownership that often does not exist within employees. Appropriately rewarding suggestions that lead to cost-savings or other efficiencies that improve the bottom line results in a trickle-down effect that improves employee buy-in, since they know they will receive a share of the benefits as well.

Full classroom of students listen to speaker.

Mr. Patterson also mentioned he is a loyal attendee of the Chapman Economic Forecast put on yearly by the Anderson Center for Economic Research (ACER). The OC Auto Team has a conveniently scheduled company-wide meeting to present the next year’s goals and strategy approximately one week after the forecast each year. Patterson and his Senior Managers all attend the forecast to learn where the local, state and national economies are headed in the coming year. The information is an extremely valuable resource for him when setting goals for the year, since Patterson and his team have a great idea of where the economy is headed following the forecast.

Dr. Browne and the Argyros School appreciate the advice and knowledge shared by Patterson and hope to continue to see him at more Chapman events, including the Economic Forecast Update.