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When Management Is Against You No One Wins

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This is an issue that has haunted me on numerous occasions.  It has happened to me my first time as an Internet Director and most recently it happened to me when I decided to give retail another shot.  I had a dealership that I went into six months ago to try to land a consulting assignment.  This dealer acted like a typical "know it all" and did not want a consultant so instead he tried to offer me a job.  I was not ready to fold and go back into retail especially because I had a vibe that this would not be the right spot for me. 

 

So finally after four months, he tried to recruit me again.  The deal sounded great and I figured "why not? let's give it a shot".  Little did I know that he was not as involved in his store as he should be and his general manager was recently brought in.  He was brought in by the previous BDC manager a few weeks prior to me coming on board.  He was such a great guy and such a loyal friend to the previous manager of over 20 years that he aided in allowing her to get fired so that I come on board because the owner wanted me.

 

Anyone that knows me would know that I am not out to hurt anyone or steal the livelihood from anyone.  I also had no idea that the department was completely broken with nothing but problems arising on a daily basis.  I find out after coming on board what the real deal is and I started to realize why the GM is so against me.  Instead of being a real GM and working to help make me more successful he puts blame on me and puts obstacles in my way.  He would remove my top BDC reps and place them in other departments.  He would cause drama in the dealership that would make a negative impact on my BDC allowing me to have massive turnover in 4 four weeks.  He blamed me for not managing people and treated me with much disrespect.  As we know, general managers have all of the power in the world and when they get into the owner's ear it only works a certain way.

 

After four weeks, I started to get the department in shape and cleaned up.  I hired quality people and finally started to see traction.  Meanwhile the owner brings his close friend in to take my job and demote me to a marketing role with the same pay.  He wanted me to take orders from his friend who never ran a BDC.  I was also supposed to be the person to create all of the processes and be the CRM guru for the department.  Basically, I would do all of the hard work that I kept doing and letting him sit there and just delegate without getting involved like a good manager should be doing.  We worked like this for two weeks until the micro managing became ridiculous and the GM looked at every reason to try to get me to leave.  I finally packed my things and left this negative situations.

 

Some of you reading this might wonder why am I telling you this story.  It is really simple.  When you go to take a job make sure you interview your potential employer and know as much as you can about the situation.  It is a important to get a good read on the General Manager.  Find out how long they have been there.  Are they a partner?  Are there any personal issues involved there?  Find out about the store and why the previous person in the same position that you applied for left (or is leaving).  Make sure you have many bases covered (even thought you will not cover all of them).  The problem is from the top down.  When your manager is against you, no one ever wins.  This was my issue.  Try to avoid that at all times.  Even if you think you will make a situation great, it will never work.  If someone has it out for you from the get go, that is it.

Views: 56

Tags: automotive consulting, automotive internet sales, bdc manager, dealer etraining, dealer management, dealership hr, ecommerce director, general manager, stan sher

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Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 30, 2011 at 8:35am
Stan, I suggest you read www.7RulesofLife.com and see if there is an insight for you there.
Comment by Stan Sher on May 30, 2011 at 8:01am
Haters will be haters. Lovers will be lovers. Supporters will be supporters. That's how I see it. @Mike, you are very right about this comment about how interesting it will be to see where this takes me. I know my hard work ethic and my open minded thinking patterns. I am very unique and can bring a lot to the table. Whoever wants to grow drama free in a good environment will be smart enough to bring me on board. Whoever wants to waste time and not move ahead will avoid me. That is how I see it. I an destined for great things with great people and a great company be that a dealer, vendor, or consulting company.
Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on May 30, 2011 at 7:59am
@Mike...Your points are very well made...I am thinking like you that Stan may well know what he is doing and he may actually be cutting through the veneer of his next interview. If I were an employer in any industry I would hire Stan. We would get along just fine.
Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on May 29, 2011 at 11:42am
@Tom...Jack and a Bud, so very true!...lol
Comment by Tom Gorham on May 29, 2011 at 10:00am
Wow, what a topic.  Keith and Ralph, I always respect what you have to say.  I've been in this business long enough (17 yrs in the car business 13 of it in Internet) to have had some bumps and bruises.  But I consider it "pillow talk".  My wife hears about it, God bless her, but at work I state my opinion as tactfully as possible and then zip my lip.  Then I always try to make the best of the decisions handed down.  It's natural for an Internet and CRM guru to want to guide the ship, but unfortunately, that's not our job.  That's the owners job.  We are his advisors and generals.  As to speaking your mind on the Internet, be very very careful.  And never do what I'm doing (and have occassionally regretted) and drink a "Jack and a Bud" while you're reading a blog or article on this site!  :-)
Comment by Thomas A. Kelly on May 28, 2011 at 12:01pm
Comment by Keith Shetterly on May 28, 2011 at 9:47am

Stan, I am emailing you something important that I'd rather not put publicly here.  I think you should take everybody's points here about public laundry and consider it when you read it. We all want your best, and all the cautions have true roots. Thanks!

Comment by Eric Miltsch on May 28, 2011 at 8:26am
Ralph & Joe summed it up nicely: "Don't throw darts at trolls!" & "Make a ruckus, just keep it in the store!"

And for the love of God, put your phone down when you drive.
Comment by Stan Sher on May 28, 2011 at 8:10am
Talk about tough love. I am driving and reading this. lol

I honestly love all of the feedback on here. You guys are great.

Whoever wants me and deserves me shall have me. Whoever does not want me just does not deserve me. I watched so many politics happen between many of us that I'm just not surprised about anything anymore. No one can fault me for being upfront. If people can't handle my honesty, how can they handle the reality of life?

This blog was put up to get people's feedback. I'm not looking for pity. This is a good conversation piece as well as education on how good people need to avoid bad situations.

Wow, I write this as I drive 85 mph through MA...
Comment by Joe Webb on May 28, 2011 at 7:48am

Alright, Stan...sorry I'm just getting to this post now.  I didn't know you had posted it on multiple sites.

Let me preface this by saying that you know I think of you as a little brother.  Well, rather a misguided, abused cousin that continues to chase a ball into the street and get hit by cars.  Either way, we are friends and I have to give you a little tough love.

I am all for Keith's belief in "taking a stand" and I'm all for Ralph's love of "freedom of speech" (to an extent), but know that, much like every dealership, every reason to post comes with a caveat.  

Airing your public grievances about your previous employer is NOT good for your reputation. We know you because you've been active online and the social networks for quite some time. It is your "social" nature that harms you.  Your willingness to post unfiltered on the social networks has even cost you your job at dealerships.  You let everyone know WHAT dealership you are working for and representing so when you post negativity or get blown out or quit from dealer after dealer and take your disappointment in them online, we KNOW who you are talking about...you aren't saving them face by not including their name.

We all know that a General Manager with a grudge can get anyone bounced if given enough power.  We know that an Owner against the impending online culture changes will not make an ISM's job easy.  But that is the game we chose.  And you should have set the expectations with your previous employers BEFORE you took the positions.  In my former dealership group before entering in the training/consulting game, I was there for 7 years and experienced having 8 different General Managers.  Most of them didn't like me because I was constantly going against the grain of all of their old-school beliefs.  However, my department's records/sales/profitability spoke for itself despite all of the heartache, headaches, and brain damage endured banging up against the new Head Mo'Fo's in charge.  It took years to grow the department, but it was my "head down, shovel full" mentality that kept me there.  I held my own (granted, was stubborn and outspoken at times), but never insubordinate.  

 

I'm proud I outlasted 8 GMs, but while I worked with 8 GM's, you worked with (and either left or been let go from) almost 8 dealerships in the few years I've known you.  Airing another employment defeat on these forums after another failed attempt in retail will make potential employers think that it isn't the 8 owners and 8 GMs that were the problem, but you.  Instead, I agree with Eric.  Become a humble learner, take your ego out of the equation, and settle down at a place with reasonable expectations. Use your frustrations as a way to grow internally and take Ralph's advice by using your time off to put on paper (or digital file) processes/policies/templates/etc that you can use to further your career.

There are very few people who are Digital Ponce De Leons that can reinvigorate a dealership's sales with a fountain of online youth just by drinking the internet kool aid.  It takes time to grow a dealership's online sales and you must let your future employers know this.
If you recall, you posted on FB when you took this recent job that you were going to set the world on fire.  You've had several of these posts with each new dealership.  I think it is necessary for you to be LESS public (especially airing your disappointments on these forums) if you intend to be a employable in the future.  

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