Automotive Digital Marketing

Professional Community for Car Dealers, Marketing, Advertising and Sales Leaders

Loading... Be Patient!

How to Get Your Team to Embrace Change

Especially with the last few weeks of conferences, or business books received for the holidays, dealers and businesses have been seeing a rash of "New Ideas" or the dreaded word to many..."CHANGE"

Instituting change in your company is not an easy thing. It takes time, strategy and a commitment from all involved. It especially takes discipline from the top leaders to keep everyone focused. 

In many cases, changes happen quickly. Owners or department heads finish that new book, or finds their notes from a seminar or conference and here they come..those new ideas.

All of a sudden, change is thrust upon everyone without any thought as to how it will affect what is currently in place.

New ideas or business processes are forced on top of existing ones. There is no formal rollout of communication, but expectations are glorious that this will have a great impact. Even if all of the thought was put in ahead of time, the main culprit that causes failure to keep change is a methodical approach and focus on the change daily.

How many of us have started new programs and stopped? How many of us have organized ourselves in a new way only to fall back into our old habits? The same applies to a leadership team. Old habits come back and we wonder what happened to the plan.

Instituting change in your company is not an easy thing. It takes time, strategy and a commitment from all involved. It especially takes discipline from the top leaders to keep everyone focused. 

How can you help your team succeed?

Let’s examine the three main things you need to have in place BEFORE you barrel into change.

1. WHAT is the goal of the change?

2. WHY are you putting this change into place?

3. HOW you plan to achieve this goal?



Are you clear on the outcome you want to achieve? Can you visualize what your business will look like once the change occurs? The clearer you can see the outcome the more specific you can be communicating and directing your vision to your team.



This to me is the most important step in the process. If you don’t clearly understand why it is NECESSARY to change, then you are bound to be unsuccessful. Real change occurs when the why is strong. A half hearted why is not compelling to others. They just will do it for the time being to pacify the leadership, but as soon as they can they will drop the effort to change and roll back to old habits.

The why needs to be a strong reason: life or death for company, push back competition, etc. in order to rally your team to embrace the reasoning so they will be willing to embrace the effort to change.



Bring everyone into a room who be affected by this change and ask them to list all of the things that have to happen for this to occur. You will be surprised at how many things you may not of thought of or where there may be a hang up with the installation.

Assign roles or duties to individuals so that they can begin to pave the way for the rollout of changes. Be clear on setting timelines for this change to happen. In order for change to lock in, you always need to follow up.  Monitor all of the execution points to make sure rollout is on schedule.

This type of involvement keeps your team working together to achieve this new goal or change. Remember that although it may be clear to you and you feel it should be simple to implement and change, it will take time for people to create this new habit.

You did not gain 20 lbs overnight and you sure won’t lose it quickly either. Plot your course, get feedback and work together as a team and you will see long lasting change for your company.


Glenn Pasch is the COO of PCG Digital Marketing as well as a management consultant and speaker.


Views: 502

Tags: automotive, change, digital, glenn, management, marketing, pasch, pcg, training


Oops... You need to stop "Lurking" on ADM and become a more genuine Automotive Professional by completing your membership registration. As a registered ADM Member, you can post comments, publish your own articles (be a star!) and start Forum discussions. Stop being an online "Peeping Tom" and JOIN ADM RIGHT NOW!

Join Automotive Digital Marketing

Comment by Glenn Pasch on February 17, 2012 at 2:22pm

Thanks Tom

I agree. As others have stated as well, without a really strong WHY, nothing really changes. We have to also remember that if we are the ones initiating the change, we have to SELL the others on why. it is not enough to tell or worse demand that people change, we have to sell them on the benefits of the change.

Thanks again for your comments. This is a topic that sometimes gets lost in the shuffle of new ideas. 

Comment by Tom Gorham on February 17, 2012 at 1:02pm

Glenn, thank you for such an insightful post.  In my position, I am often the initiator of change.  However when others initiate change into my life, I often find myself defensive.  It's not hypocrisy; it's simply human nature.  I like to ask the very questions you state in this post;

1. WHAT is the goal of the change?

2. WHY are you putting this change into place?

3. HOW you plan to achieve this goal?

The WHY is so important.  As you say, "If you don’t clearly understand why it is NECESSARY to change, then you are bound to be unsuccessful."  Change for change sake is not sufficient.  But change because you are lost, is even worse.  You must identify your weaknesses and make change there rather than try to circumvent the real causes of failure in your current processes.

Thank you!

Comment by Glenn Pasch on February 16, 2012 at 6:59am

Thanks Mark and others for your comments. I agree. Without buy in or desire to change nothing happens. My focus was once you have the desire, here is what need to happen. 

Tim, in terms of getting people on board, that is the toughest thing, especially when people are selling cars right now. Most won't change unless they see the cliff 2 feet ahead. I would recommend getting one person on board. Then slowly build your case with facts to help sway others. It may feel like climbing on sand but giving up is not an option either. I am seeing a change of leadership in dealerships who are embracing change for the better. It may still be a few years for some dealerships but knowing how to implement when you have the chance will help your cause.

Comment by Tim Rulapaugh on February 16, 2012 at 6:53am

The theory in this post is great...but unfortunately it misses a couple major key points that factor in to everyday life.  As Allan points out, people have to see the need to change and want to change.  All the theory in the world won't do diddly squat if people aren't willing to see and understand the need for change.  In a lot of cases, you have to cross that hurdle before you can start implementing the ideas from this post.

Personal example:

I'm relatively new to working in a dealership - about 18 months.  Most of the decision-maker types have been in dealerships most, if not all, of their working lives.  Most of them are older (late-50s +) and aren't the most computer savvy.  Many are afraid to use sites like Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc. due to all the horror stories about viruses, identity theft, hacked credit card accounts, etc.  On more occasions than I can count, I've heard, "That's me, it will never work" and / or "This is how we've been doing business for years.  Our doors are still open, we must be doing stuff right.  Why change something that isn't broken?" and "You're the social media guy, that's your make it work."

We already have a decent-sized Facebook presence (at least for a rural area - over 735), but I can't help but feel we could double or even triple that number in just a few days if I could get even a few more key people on board.

I'm open to hearing any suggestions anyone can offer as to how to overcome these objections...

Comment by Mark Dubis on February 16, 2012 at 6:44am

A lot of smart people have shared some very accurate tips and observations here, but as we all know it is much easier to give advice than to take advice.  Running a dealership is not easy and there’s a thousand moving parts.  I speak with trainers, consultants, 20 Group leaders, dealer owners and Internet Managers on a regular basis, and they all have a grasp of what needs to be done.  The results gained are often tied to who initiates the change, and do they have real “skin in the game.”

Trainers immediately know if a program will be successful or not at the first training session.  If the owner, General Manager or Sales Manager are NOT in the room, they know it will fail.   When team members don’t see the “leaders of the dealership” participating they know it’s not important and in a few weeks things will be “back to normal.”   

Starting new habits doesn’t happen overnight and without strong leadership to implement change and make people accountable it doesn’t get done. 

At the recent JD Power Roundtable in Las Vegas, Earl Hesterberg the President and CEO of Group 1 Automotive, shared some highlights of his dealer groups and industry research.  A few of the facts that stood out to me:

  • Less than 25% of the management in a dealership have a college degree (often indicates weak leadership skills)
  • More than 50% of the sales team works more than 55 hours per week (leaving little time for family life)
  • When consumers were asked why they did not purchase a vehicle from their dealer visit, 23% said it was because of price.  The overwhelming majority said it was because of how they were treated at the dealership! (consumers have too many choices so providing a great buying experience is paramount)

Improving dealerships’ sales and performance doesn’t have to be challenging; you just need

  • strong leaders who are engaged,
  • a store that empowers their employees to always do what’s right for the customer,
  • a workplace that has a system of mutual respect for all employees,
  • a work schedule that allows them to have a productive and fun family life
  • a management pay plan tied to employee turnover in the dealership
  • an employee team that mirrors your customer base

As trainer and consultant Chuck Barker always says, “The enemy of great is good.”  When dealers think they are doing “good enough”, there is little incentive to become great.


Comment by Bert Martin on February 16, 2012 at 4:46am

September 2006 article from Dave Anderson

Sorry for the confused was a little longer than I thought.

Comment by Bert Martin on February 16, 2012 at 4:45am

4. Failure to do enough. Contrary to the myth that changing too much at once destroys your efforts, the opposite is often true. Not doing enough to change your dealership causes your efforts to fizzle and for you to lose resolve. When you return from a meeting armed with your action plan for change, chances are that if you don't begin implementing it within 48 hours and don't complete the list within 60 days, it will never get done. Instead, you'll get used to the way things are, learn to live with the status quo and drift back toward equilibrium. It's like discovering a dead body in your living room. At first, the sight will offend and alarm you and you'll want to remove it immediately.
But as you get busy with your routine, you start to get used to it. Soon, you cover it up, walk around it and step over it because it seems to fit in. Every change initiative needs early momentum. Go after low-hanging fruit first to gain short-term wins and necessary credibility. These wins validate your efforts and help bring the stragglers along.

Nothing silences cynics like success. To make change stick, win fast, win early and win often. Then you'll have the momentum to consolidate your wins and go for even bigger change. And to make a difference, you will have to go after the major changes. Otherwise it's like putting a belly button ring on granny. It'll cause a stir and grab attention, but what granny needs is a liver transplant not a navel ornament.
5. Sabotage from the top. Conventional wisdom says change must start at the top. Not necessarily. It wasn't the executive team at Enron calling for accounting reforms, and you've never seen Queen Elizabeth waving a placard outside Buckingham declaring, "We want a republic!" Change is more likely to be fanned or smothered from the top than it is to start there. Vaclav Havel, Nelson Mandela, the no-name 'troublemakers' that developed Sony's PlayStation and the lower-rung rebels that dragged IBM into the Internet age attest to this fac

Comment by Bert Martin on February 16, 2012 at 4:39am

Some things just don't change?

September 20, 2006
Five reasons change efforts fail – and five remedies to make change stick
You travel across the country to spend thousands of dollars and days of your life at seminars and 20 Group meetings; you then return with a sheaf full of notes and good intentions. You're excited about what you learned and you're going to make some changes. After some second-guessing, you water down your action plan considerably before presenting it to your team. You announce the new edicts and start people moving in the right direction just in time to get hit with the latest crisis.

Soon, your new master plan has turned into credenza-ware and the latest flavor of the month has gone sour-again. Why doesn't change stick? Why can't highly paid, professional people take an idea that clearly makes sense, implement it and see it through? Here are some reasons:
1. No guiding coalition. You must get the influencers in your organization behind the change before making a wholesale announcement to the entire team. Your inner circle will be the key to cascading your message to the rank and file, modeling the new change, selling others on its benefits and snuffing out resistance as it surfaces. One of the greatest lessons of leadership is that no one person can do it alone, even if your name is on the door. There aren't enough hours in the day. If you treat your inner circle like peons rather than partners, your change efforts are dead. Your guiding coalition is the key to implementing change more quickly and giving it the credibility necessary to stick.

2. No sense of urgency. No change has a chance without first creating a sense of urgency. Thus, the reasons for the change must be clearly articulated, a positive pressure to perform imposed and accountability for the desired changes upheld. This means you quickly and publicly affirm desired behaviors, both verbally and tangibly. And just as quickly, you correct and redirect actions that undermine the change. People often go into denial when change is implemented, secretly hoping it will fade away. Thus, it's important to maintain pressure to perform long enough so that everyone knows the change is not an experiment and that you mean business. To ensure urgency and the pressure to perform necessary to implement change, the new objective must be clearly defined, fast feedback given on performance and accountability for results established.

3. Lack of buy-in. While determining direction is a leader's prerogative, a fatal flaw is failing to include others in the strategy for reaching it. Let people know the objective, why it's important and what's in it for them, but solicit their input on how to make it happen. People will support what they help to create. Including them in the strategic process helps gain commitment over compliance.
As a matter of fact, top management's job isn't to conjure strategies. It's to build an organization capable of continuously generating new business concepts and invigorating old ones. Its contribution is to design the context rather than invent the content. You can't just command change any more than you can order a great performance. You have to plan it, encourage it, nurture it and focus on it. Too often when change brings grief rather than growth it's because the transition was bad.

4. Failure to do enough. Contrary to the myth that changing too much at once destroys your efforts, the opposite is often true. Not doing enough to change your dealership causes your efforts to fizzle and for you to lose resolve. When you return from a meeting armed with your action plan for change, chances are that if yo

Comment by Allan R Mullins on February 16, 2012 at 4:15am

All above is great advice but there two more basic additional requirements.

1- You must 1st 'See the Need' to change

2- Be willing to so!

Automotive Professional Network and Resource Exchange for Car Dealers, Managers, OEM and Marketing Practitioners seeking Best Practices.

ADM Sponsor

Please Consider Automotive Marketing Professional Community Sponsors

ADM Badge


Based On Your Interests...

ADM Consulting, LLC

Onsite/Offsite Combination ADM Consulting, LLC Professional Services
Select the maximum monthly investment you plan to make
Sign up for

Automotive Marketing Tools

Get ADM Toolbar

Click here to take the ADM Member Survey

ADM Events

December 2019

Getting too many emails from ADM? Click mailbox below to control which types of alerts and updates you are sent......


Top Automotive Marketing Forum Discussions

Share the Best Content w/AutoMarketing Community

© 2019   Created by Ralph Paglia.   Powered by

ADM Badges  |  Report an Issue  |  Terms of Service