Fill Up Your Tank Before It’s Too Late

Successfully influencing your store’s employees’ view of the importance in adopting and following processes in order to develop positive growth potential is one of the most valuable investments Leaders can give their team. ‘Cosmetic managers’ (old school) quickly need to get a grip on what is going to be required to develop sustaining human capitol if they are not to go the way of the dinosaurs. They have to bust through those old paradigms of ‘business as I have always done it’ and begin leading people into greatness through solid sales & service processes & solid people development. Most of these managers would much rather manage paper than people because paper does not challenge them, talk back to them, rat on them, ignore them or in most cases, demand immediate attention.

I visited a large dealership recently where the owner wanted me to talk with a key manager regarding the store’s existing processes. This fellow immediately claimed to have everything in order and knew everything there was to know about processes. After about ten minutes of discussion with him I surmised that this guy could not even spell processes much less enact effective solutions towards developing them.

All too often we find that arrogance or defensiveness is a camouflage covering up ineptness and as a consequence they tear down the place because they never open up and learn new things.  I call this Fuel Exhaustion and they either need to be replenished by a paradigm shift or replaced because business is being lost and you don’t even know it. Don’t settle for good enough expect and demand the best. Vulnerability as a Leader is a respected asset. Why not admit, “Hey I am always willing to gain new solid ways to develop the best skill sets I can.” The primary problem in this industry for way too long has been expecting monumental ‘people/process developmental’ Leadership skills from our managers who either have never been taught how or are too underachieving, lazy or clueless to even try. Enter the New Leadershift era.

“These new Shifters clearly recognize that they cannot make the journey alone so they are intelligent enough to enlist followers. “

In order for a dealership to grow, it must have its managers growing in personal leadership skills before they can ever be expected to grow their own people. We have to create a Leadershift mind state towards taking people to places where they have never been whereby they actually want to follow you because you know where you are going and they want to be a part of it. And, this applies not only to sales but service, parts and administration. You see, an effective overall Leadershift needs to be an all-inclusive dealership campaign that enlists the hearts and minds of all employees to become their very best and in doing so everyone becomes better. Leadership is the single most important element of implementing processes that has to be in your store’s gene pool for it to be successful. Conversely, without effective people/process leadership, it becomes a car traveling at 70 miles an hour without a steering wheel.

To ensure successful design, implementation and effective production from these processes, changing the way you and your employees do business has to be in your foundational platform.  The difficulty in any new process development is the lack of amalgamation of processes, the breakdown of clear management communication, little discipline applied towards those processes and the deafening vacuum of accountability.  So, be clear who is responsible for taking us there.

The habit of ‘process persistence’ is the habit of victory.  Persistence is what you have to have to ensure total process implementation success. You will be leading your team where no one has gone before in the dealership and you will most likely encounter sizable resistance. Do not compromise your position, be persistent and charge forward with fearless intelligent Leadershift.  Leaders know the way, go the way and show the way. It is your job to take the vision and make it reality for your people and your dealership.

Solve the mystery of this processing challenge for them by reinforcing and understanding that it is the summation of all the small elements of CRM which when unified as one unit will take the store and its people to the next level of growth and success. Forget the software. Important as it is, it is there only to facilitate rock solid trained people and processes not to improve the circumstances. Work on the actual processes (and there are many). And, get someone from the outside who is not blinded by the internal paradigms of conducting business as usual. A new fresh pair of eyes taking a look at your operation will uncover things you never dreamt were out of wack and will yield a galaxy of intriguing possibilities for building high performing growth opportunities.  This approach is straightforward and head-on, resulting in very concrete and linear reasoning.

Leadershift does require skills in motivation, decision making, process adherence, stress management, integrity, compassion, vision, performance counseling, mentoring, goal setting, delegation, communication, synergy molding, conflict resolution and team development.  It also requires advanced skills in conceptual thinking, organizational design, organizational dynamics, analytical decision-making, financial decision-making, project management and process improvement.

Matching the leader with the right skills to the right dealership position and providing adequate resources and followers is critical for building high performing organizations that can compete in this market economy.  These new Shifters clearly recognize that they cannot make the journey alone so they are intelligent enough to enlist followers. Then train them, support them and mentor them.  They also clearly understand that when you enlist the opinions of these followers they are adding superglue to the mission because people are more committed to ideas they have been able to contribute to. A contributive vision is much more likely to be richer in content, more inclusive and possess a significantly higher success achievement.

Research on leadership, organizational effectiveness, information processing, CRM processing, developing people and chaos control provides sets of concepts which not only help to explain why many of today’s businesses are not doing well, but also how to make them better. The effectiveness of an organization is a multi-lateral function of the leader, resources, organizational structure, the followers and how well they all intersect. Synergy provides smooth sailing in turbulent waters.

To be an effective leader one must have adequate resources to accomplish the job, an appropriate organizational structure, clearly set forth processes, a set of followers to perform the tasks along with certain leadership skills and abilities. Leadership is a function of the leader’s motivation, skills, style and level of conceptual ability. High Performance Leadershift is founded upon matching the right leader to the appropriate position and letting them soar along with everyone else.  Take wings and achieve new altitudes for you and your people.  You will be glad you did.

If you are interested in receiving a few critical process ideas you need to have in place send me an email and I will get them out to you. Also, if you have any questions or success stories I would love to hear about them.

Author: Chuck Barker

CHUCK BARKER is President & Founder of Impact Marketing & Consulting Group, located in Virginia. He has assisted Dealers & Corporations across the country in Sales & Service Development training programs, Management Leadership Workshops and Business Improvement/Analysis Consulting. He is a pioneer in BDC, CRM, Best Processes and Team Member Development since the early ‘90’s. Chuck has held Automobile, Corporate and International Executive positions for over 27 years. Chuck has been a monthly author/contributor for Dealer Magazine for over 11 years. Email:

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