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The automotive industry as we know it is undergoing a transition. From electric cars, to ride sharing, to autonomous cars, the landscape is rapidly changing. With consumers demanding convenience, and technology that radically changes the customer experience, we should brace for a decade of disruptive change.
All this change sometimes makes it difficult to wrap our minds around how to identify problem areas and create solutions that solve them.
I recently read about an interesting concept in the New York Times. The author suggests that it’s not only the automotive industry that’s undergoing this change, but our society overall. He posits that once upon a time society had a plan for each of us. We went to school, perhaps to college, learned a trade and then worked at that trade. However, with many jobs now automated, and humans supplanted by machines, there’s no longer a set path for some individuals.
The article suggests that we, both as individuals and a society, need to become changemakers. What’s a changemaker? According to the article, “Changemakers are people who can see the patterns around them, identify the problems in any situation, figure out ways to solve the problem, organize fluid teams, lead collective action and then continually adapt as situations change.”
Sounds like a tall order, right? My guess, however, is that your dealership already has employees with this desire, but it may not have been harnessed. It could be a manager, salesperson, technician, service advisor, or even the porter.
To harness this latent talent pool, you need to build a bottom-up culture. Remember, your employees want to see you “walk the talk.” If you are serious about improvement, everyone should be empowered to make suggestions and initiative should be rewarded.
Toyota’s famous continuous improvement philosophy relies on practitioners identifying “Muda,” otherwise known as waste, and then “kaizen-ing,” or improving the process. The trick is to get everyone at your dealership to become Kaizen agents. Empowering everyone is simply a matter of accepting ideas, executing them and then recognizing the improvement through visual means that others notice.
Your employees are your most valuable assets. Every employee has a drive inside them to make a difference. Engaging them in this way will get them to be more committed and they will stay longer.
Take the leap and change the culture of your company so that everyone becomes a change agent!