Professional Community for Automotive Marketers, Car Dealers, OEM and Suppliers
Written By: Joe Basil
We just returned from a 20 Group meeting and it was the most invigorating workshop we have ever attended. We completed an assessment of our dealership operations and identified major sales and profit opportunities in all departments. We have benefited from the extensive experience of our facilitator and fellow members. We had the opportunity to compare our operation to other automotive dealers and industry Benchmarks. We’re motivated, enthused and excited to get back to the store and start converting each and every one of those profit opportunity objectives into results. We know which goals and objectives we will focus on and we are ready to lay it all out for our managers to execute.
The question then becomes: How do we go about achieving those elusive results? This is a question I asked myself as a dealer many times.
Sometimes we set up one-on-ones with each manager; sometimes we address the objectives in a managers meeting with everyone; and sometimes we use a combination of both. Regardless of how we present the plan we are determined to achieve those objectives and results. So, department by department, manager by manager, we relate to them the opportunities that we identified during the workshop. Immediately, we run into the constraints of running a store; our 20 Group spanned two full days and we do not have that luxury with each manager. So we present a condensed version in a matter of hours of what we experienced and identified over two days. Our enthusiasm and excitement is overwhelming and even our managers get excited about the potential these opportunities offer. Everyone buys into the goals and objectives. “That’s great, boss, we’re going do it!” they tell us.
We monitor progress and, as the weeks turn into months, we see varying degrees of success. We begin to get frustrated because we know the results can be achieved; others in our 20 Group have done it! Yet the energy and enthusiasm level seem to be fading in our store. What is the gap? What dynamic is missing? Why is our team not converting those goals and objectives they enthusiastically supported into results we all seek?
When looking at how highly-effective organizations and teams convert goals and objectives into results, there is a common, overwhelming dynamic that drives the process. That dynamic is leadership. Unfortunately, leadership is a word often thrown around, yet seldom clearly defined and understood by team members. Even less often is leadership driven down to the job level and converted into actions by team members. Even more often, this is the result of a lack of definition and understanding of leadership. So how would we define leadership and convert leadership into actions?
The Merriam-Webster Dictionary defines Leadership as: 1. the office or position of a leader; 2. capacity to lead; 3. the act or an instance of leading. As we can see by the literal definition, there is a gap between the noun and the verb; the action!
Having faced this challenge in my own dealerships and when working with clients during my consulting career, I have developed a definition of leadership in the context of actions.
“Having a clearly defined shared vision that attracts, develops and retains top performing people who can flawlessly implement and execute initiatives in support of achieving goals and objectives for the team as a whole.”
Based on my experience working with dealers and dealership management teams, this definition of leadership is easily understood and readily adopted by those with leadership responsibility. A contingent benefit is that this definition clarifies leaders’ responsibilities.
Now, how do we take it to the job level? What are the key dynamics that managers in leadership positions need to pay attention to on a daily basis to convert goals and objectives into results?
Dynamic number one is that every team member intimately understands and believes in our team vision, values, goals and objectives
Our second dynamic is measuring progress through an accountability structure
Third, our “best people are in the right position”
Fourth, there is a reward plan in place that has unquestionable credibility with the team
Fifth, comes a timely and unencumbered decision-making process delegated to appropriate levels in the team
Number six, the key to connecting all of these dynamics together, is an open and transparent communications structure
With these six dynamics in place, those elusive 20 Group initiatives become solid results. So start converting goals and objectives into results today through outstanding leadership at every level in your dealership!
Attend the NCM Institute's Leading Your Dealership Team to Success in Miami (April 15-16) and learn to be the leader your team needs you to be! Call 866.756.2620 or click for details and to register!