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Category Archive: Leadership

Kendall Rawls

Think Like an Owner

Car salesman

Ownership, as defined by Merriam-Webster, is the state, relation, or fact of being an owner. Often, those who feel ownership of something take special care and feel great responsibility for it. If we dissect the definition of ownership a little more, it does not necessarily mean that one must “own,” but rather, there is a mindset of being or acting like an owner.

This “ownership attitude,” or lack thereof, can be seen in many dealerships. Some leaders may not own stock in the dealership but have ownership in areas of strategic initiatives, team motivation and collaboration, and show emotional investment in the achievement of the dealership’s mission. On the other hand, some leaders show up, fulfill their responsibilities, and get the job done. However, if a better gig presents itself across the street, they don’t hesitate to take the opportunity.

An ownership mentality, whether the actual owner or leader, is a great attitude. It is the state of mind or the accountability we put on ourselves to put care and action into what we own.

Imagine if all key managers and influencers in the dealership had a dealer-minded attitude and made decisions that were always for the betterment of the whole and not just the individual? Take a moment and analyze each leadership role in the organization and identify their level of engagement. Does it appear they lead from a place of “ownership”—meaning, in a way that promotes the organization’s mission, vision, and core values, and nurtures team synergy? Or, are they just performing the duties of the role? Also, it is essential to determine if the key managers think and act as if they have an ownership stake in the dealership. Have they bought into the dealership’s mission, strategic vision, and view the business as their own? When management leads from a place of ownership, the attitude becomes contagious throughout the organization and profitability, performance, growth, and fulfilling long-term strategic plans can become a reality.

So then, how do dealer principals/owners create an owner-centric mindset in those that are not actual owners? Here are a few areas that, if executed with intention, can be game changers:

People Development

Offer learning and training to your people. Providing access to operational training is one area to ensure your people are equipped to succeed. Also, a new and growing area is in the development of soft skills that are focused on self-awareness. Providing access to training cultivates a feeling of loyalty amongst your people. Investing in their success motivates people to want to invest in the dealership’s success.

Leadership Development

Rather than a culture where managers lead from positional power—“I’m your boss, so do what I say”—invest in leadership development to create an accountability culture based on coaching. Leadership influences others’ choices, priorities, and behavior. Power and position may create compliance in your organization, but it will also create challenges in nurturing a sense of buy-in to your organization’s mission and vision, thus ultimately demotivating employee loyalty and their drive to go above and beyond the call of duty. As our industry evolves due to technological advancements, changing consumer behavior and demographic shifts, position, and power fall short of inspiring people. There are too many competitors recruiting for good talent which is making it harder to retain the movers and shakers in the organization. As such, it’s imperative to foster an environment where people are inspired, respected, and empowered which helps them want to stick around.

Self-Awareness

Understanding one’s own personality/management style and how it interacts with others is one of the biggest leadership game changers out there. Be willing to do a self-assessment and provide the same assessment to your key leaders and teams to create an understanding of natural leadership and communication qualities and traits. Go a step further and provide coaching to key leaders and rising stars to develop flexibility in how to work with a diverse team.

People development, self-awareness, and development of leadership soft-skills are game changers for current and future leaders. Enabling and empowering managers to build a foundation for future growth, sustainability, and a culture of ownership throughout the organization. To do this, managers and the dealer principal/owner need to learn how to think differently in this changing industry.

Learn more about the NCM-Rawls Dealer Executive Program and how it can prepare you and your successors to lead your dealership into the future.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/06/think-like-an-owner/

Lindsey Quinn

NCM Case Study: How Darin Wade Saved Power Ford

Power Ford

When Darin Wade purchased a Ford dealership in Albuquerque, New Mexico, in 2012, there was no question that he was facing a challenge. “Nobody ever says,” he jokes, “‘Hey, our dealership is doing so well that we just want to give you a piece of it!’”

New employees, new challenges

So it wasn’t a big surprise when Wade realized that his new staff had no idea just how poorly they were performing. A big part of it, he clarifies, was the preexisting culture.

“I’m one of those dealers who believes in sharing all of the numbers with my team,” he explains, “because I have found that if you don’t share the numbers, they typically make it up. And they usually don’t make up the numbers in your favor.”

“Sure enough,” Wade adds, “most of the employees that were over here … the numbers weren’t shared with them. So, they had a pretty good idea that they weren’t doing very well, but they didn’t know.”

Quick solutions for a high-performing culture

“There was some lack of training,” Wade says. “So, when my NCM moderator called and thought that our store might need help … well, he knows me, and he was dead-on correct!” Wade made arrangements for Lee Michaelson, one of NCM Associates’ consultants, to evaluate the store and develop an improvement plan.

Michaelson and Wade began working together to address the dealership’s most pressing concerns. (They continue to work together to this day.) And, because the consultant came to the dealership each month, the approach had minimal impact on the overall operation. “This whole concept of bringing a trainer to your store is great because our number one challenge anytime we take people out of our store is that not only do we struggle with production going down, but we also struggle with the expense of getting them somewhere. Especially in Albuquerque, New Mexico: I mean, it’s a plane flight for quite a bit of distance wherever you want to go!”

Get the most from every expert visit

Success takes more than having the consultant onsite, Wade explains. Like any improvement process, consulting requires commitment. Here are Darin Wade’s must-do steps to bring an expert onsite.

  1. Make it mandatory for your team. “You just can’t have any interruptions,” Wade explains. “We know when Lee is coming in, and it breaks down to four hours tops, maybe three. You have to have an environment that’s a locked door deal, and you have to have the rest of your staff able to cover the positions. And it will be three hours very well spent.”
  2. Be there. “The general manager or dealer principal needs to be in the meeting 100% of the time because it shows his people that he’s serious about it.”
  3. Take advantage of goal setting. “NCM’s format is great on goal setting and commitment time,” Wade comments. “Every department head will be asked to do a commitment plan, and write it down. The sheets will be turned into not only the dealer and GM but also to the consultant. And I think the best use of the time is that every 60 days that you do the consulting, we also start with the commitment and did we get there or not? I think if you do that, you’ll grow your store.”

A powerful combination

While Wade was already a long-term NCM 20 Group member, adding consulting to the mix was exactly the right combination to bring Power Ford back to benchmark. “The format for the NCM deal,” he says, “is phenomenal.”

“I think NCM does a good job of recruiting people that have done things before,” he adds. “I mean, Lee Michaelson has run a dealership before. And, when a vendor comes in and speaks the same language and can actually walk the walk, not just talk the talk, people in the retail industry can see into that very quickly.

“When you have a 3rd party who’s validated like that … and saying the same things that you say … it adds another layer of credibility to how you run your business.” And your employees pay attention.

At Power Ford, consulting got the staff quickly up to speed and transformed how management and employees communicated: “Suddenly you’re having business conversations instead of guessing, even at lower levels, whether a department head or even just a manager. It helps them connect the dots between what their daily routines do and how they affect the financial statement and the numbers.”

Laying the foundation for success

About a year after taking ownership, Wade reported to Albuquerque Business First that sales were up 300 percent over the previous year, with car sales up more than 50 percent and trucks up 6 percent.

Four years later, Power Ford continues to be a top-seller in the area. While his new leadership clearly was the driving force behind the dealership’s transformation, Wade is quick to praise his partnership with NCM consultant, Lee Michaelson. “It was our moderator being the catalyst for change. Sometimes the general manager and dealer principal can say it, and everybody understands that. But when it comes from a different source, sometimes that’s the extra thing that’s needed that can help your team realize that they need to … they actually need to do the action in order to get the results.”

See how NCM 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting can help your dealership improve, just like Power Ford.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/04/ncm-case-study-how-darin-wade-saved-power-ford/

Tony Albertson

The Resilience Checklist

Car salesman

Recently, I was invited to moderate a session at a DrivingSales Conference in Miami, Fla. The topic at hand was dealer resilience. The meeting asked dealers in the room, “How would you handle a 20 percent decline in volume or a 50 to 100 basis point rise in interest rates and what about a labor shortage?” Think it can’t happen?

Increasing interest rates

The last few years, we have seen the government prop up the nation with prolonged stimulus and loose monetary policy while impairing sustainable growth. In December 2015, the Federal Reserve raised rates by 25 basis points; this was the first increase since 2006. The Fed has recently increased it another 25 basis points, and the projection is for 2 to 3 more increases next year. How will this affect your profitability, your property values, rent factor, or your ability to acquire new stores?

Changing marketplace

What of other external threats to our business, such as negligence from the manufacturers, disruptive markets, or the state of consumer finance? Internally, dealers may suffer from a poor reputation in customer experience, labor inefficiencies, and a stagnant business model that can ruin net worth. A 2015 Customer Experience Research report by DrivingSales stated that only 26 out of 4,000 consumers prefer the current car buying process. As they explain—and I agree—the Apples and Amazons of the world have trained modern shoppers to seek out a different buying experience.

Experian has reported that auto loans reached an all-time high in Q1 of 2016. The debt totaled over $1 trillion, up 10 percent from Q1 2015, and they are watching delinquencies closely. According to the Federal Reserve Bank, the average length of a new car loan is 64.6 months.

A 2015 Cox survey had some good news for dealers despite the abundance of those disruptive market sites capitalizing on direct-to-consumer transactions: 81 percent still prefer to buy in-person versus online. The customer still doesn’t like the process, but they want to deal with a real person and be able to touch and feel the vehicle.

Rising labor costs

Operationally, the automotive industry’s biggest expense is labor. According to NADA’s Chief Economist, dealers often pay 15 percent more than US averages for labor and have been increasing wages at twice the rate of comparable sectors all while experiencing turnover rates up to 3 times the US average. On the topic of expenses, David Spisak, President of ReverseRisk and one of the speakers at the conference, stated that “many dealers fail to quantify their true costs when manufacturers redistribute margin on their financial statements.” So what happens when the OEM pulls the program?

The Resilience Checklist

Despite the brilliance of the speakers at the conference, none have “THE ANSWER” to all of the questions we face in today’s car business … I don’t believe anyone truly does have all the answers. However, I think this short resilience checklist is a useful tool for your dealership:

  1. Stress test your profit and loss (P&L) and balance sheet for a 30% SAAR drop and/or interest rate increase of 3-5%.
  2. Secure long-term financing while rates are low, if possible.
  3. Develop and track a “true” P&L independent of OEM incentives and financial manipulation. Wean yourself off dependency on manufacturer programs. Operationally, modernize your labor practices. Build and implement an attractive employment ‘brand’. Culture, compensation plans, internal policies, and positive impacts of the organization externally should be optimized to attract and retain a more diverse, more cost-effective talent pool that can deliver a superior customer experience.
  4. Re-engineer inefficient departments and processes. Streamline organizational structure to provide a seamless customer experience to remove hand-offs and overhead. Used cars and fixed operations are huge areas of opportunity to recover lost margin in new cars and execute a customer retention strategy.
  5. Future proof your business by exploring how to position your dealership to benefit from changes in how consumers purchase mobility.

So many questions in so many areas. The truly great news is that—almost to a man (or woman)—car dealers can adapt and overcome challenges. Well, some faster than others. Make sure you’re one of the fast ones!

Learn more about Tony Albertson and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/04/the-resilience-checklist/

Kendall Rawls

Generational Tensions: 4 Barriers to Automotive Leadership

Stressed boss and her female colleagues posing in office

Ensuring the future success and sustainability of a dealership is not based solely on operational knowledge and efficiencies. In addition to creating robust processes, identifying and developing future leaders is critical to building sustainable dealership value. But first, you must overcome the leadership barriers that sabotage your goals.

Generational tensions

In the past, when someone took on the position of “dealer,” it was assumed employees would fall in line and follow the owner’s lead. Today, with up to five generations working together at the same dealership, this expectation doesn’t hold true. Instead, good people check out or leave after a transition in leadership if they don’t feel respected for their contributions and see opportunities for growth.

Generation X and even the up-and-coming Gen Y/millennial leaders have to navigate an additional barrier that can be awkward and uncomfortable. These up-and-comers must earn the respect of the team around them for them to be seen as a true leader. This is a drastic shift in leadership from previous generations where moving into the dealer role was an expectation given tenure and relationships in the dealership.

Contributing to the problem is that the automotive industry has changed so much. No longer is real-life knowledge and experience enough to sustain and lead a dealership into the future. Innovations in technology, a lingering fear of economic uncertainty, ongoing regulatory changes and generational perspectives of “old school” and “new school” way of thinking can build organizational tensions, impacting performance. Put simply, what may have been good enough previously is no longer good enough to lead your organization into the future—instead, formal education, operational training, and a thorough understanding of best practices will be key.

The “old school” versus “new school” issue often causes Gen X and millennial team members to conflict with their baby boomer leaders and employees about fundamental issues impacting the business, such as:

  • What work means. Perspectives of how work fits into our lives—the type of work culture one finds inspiring and the gratification they want from their career—are in constant flux. It’s not uncommon for Gen X and millennial workers to want more time outside the dealership, and older employees/leaders may interpret this as poor work ethic.
  • The nature of leadership. Generational perspectives on who should be considered for leadership may differ. Some feel leadership positions should be earned through tenure, while others think it is earned through performance.
  • How the pecking order works. When performance is rewarded over tenure, older staff may struggle with accepting the authority of younger personnel in more senior positions. (This is especially problematic for employees in family business—heavily scrutinized, your advancement may be viewed as favoritism.) This volatile mix can send an entire dealership into chaos. Loyal employees feel betrayed, and rising stars can find that they lack the buy-in to make changes. After all, the best operations person in the world can’t accomplish a thing without employee support!
  • How to lead effectively. Differences in leadership styles can damage relationships. There are some leaders who feel that motivating others is best done through a directive approach – “Do what I say because I hold the power.” Others appreciate and are driven more by personal influence – “I feel respected for my contributions. I understand the mission; so, I am on board.”

Although they can be subtle, these dynamics impact you and your developing leader’s ability to build respect and trust, as well as motivate and inspire your team to commit to the organizational mission and vision.

Leadership challenges derail performance

If you want to ensure your dealership is driven by strong leadership—today or in the future—knowing how to inspire a variety of people and having the necessary skills to stay operationally cutting-edge are two critical leadership barriers you and any developing leader must overcome.

However, you cannot address these problems simply by working in or “growing up” in the dealership. That’s why The Rawls Group partnered with NCM Associates to create the NCM-Rawls Dealer Executive Program™. The NCM-Rawls Dealer Executive Program™ combines NCM’s operational excellence and Rawls’ deep understanding of how to develop a high-performing dealership culture. Our collaboration allows us to go deeper into leadership development and tackle some of the harder issues and topics that most programs are afraid—or do not have the knowledge and expertise—to offer.

Whether you work with NCM-Rawls or pursue learning on your own, I urge you to think differently about how you want to lead. Choose to invest in yourself, as well as future leaders, to build solid leadership skills based on knowledge and real experience gained working in the dealership. If you do so, I’m confident that you will not only overcome these leadership barriers, you’ll create a thriving dealership for years to come.

Learn more about the NCM-Rawls Dealer Executive Program and how it can prepare you and your successors to lead your dealership into the future.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/04/generational-tensions-4-barriers-to-automotive-leadership/

Adam Robinson

Employee Turnover is Killing Your Dealership

AdobeStock_128893720

The auto industry has dealt with a number of changes in recent years, largely in response to new spending habits and expectations of millennials both as consumers and employees. While dealerships have made great strides in connecting with this new generation of consumers, many businesses are still in need of significant improvement to retain their employees. In fact, the employee turnover rate within the industry is currently at an average of 67 percent according to the NADA Dealership Workforce Study, correlating to an industry loss of billions of dollars annually with the average dealership suffering an average of half a million dollars lost each year.

An issue half a decade in the making

This decline in employee retention has been steady since 2011, with the average sales position lasting a little over two years, according to the NADA, compared to nearly four years ago when the study began. Furthermore, data showed that while only 45 percent of dealerships had an average retention rate of three or more years; that number fell to about 33 percent when looking exclusively at those in sales positions. The private sector, by comparison, reported an average of 67 percent retention for the same amount of time.

Not surprisingly, the best-in-class dealerships with the highest revenue and profitability also suffer the lowest turnover rates. What’s more, dealerships across the board seem to be notably lacking at hiring and retaining women, with less than 20 percent of the workforce made up of women in 2015.

Another factor accounting for the loss in dealership employee retention is the changing landscape for consumers. Instead of going into a dealership and meeting with a salesperson when looking for a new car, customers are now spending up to 11 hours researching online and less than four hours inside a dealership speaking with a representative. With significantly fewer trips to a dealership, the salesperson has less of an opportunity to interact with, and push product on, customers. This new lack of negotiation skills, however, provides dealerships with the opportunity to hire a more diverse, and perhaps qualified, pool of candidates.

Retention issues impact sales

The employee retention rates not only cost dealerships a monetary loss in the form of search and training expenses but ultimately result in lost vehicle sales due to inexperienced sales staff and a lack of continuity with customers.

According to AlignMark Corporation, there are four main categories to help employers quantify the expense associated with employee turnover:

  • Separation – unemployment compensation, exit interview costs, etc.
  • Replacement – advertising, pre-employment testing, time, and materials
  • Training – time and effort required to bring new hires up to speed
  • Productivity – lapse in morale and production, as well as low-quality output

How to find the right employees

By 2020, millennials are expected to make up 40 percent of all new-vehicle buyers. Millennials also now form the majority of the workforce and currently account for 60 percent of new dealership hires, making it critical to maintain a focus on retaining this demographic to keep dealership floors stocked with quality salespeople. Millennials, however, dislike the conventional dealership commission-based compensation and instead prefer salaried positions with more steady income and advancement opportunities. This makes it difficult for many dealerships to retain their new hires, requiring those in hiring positions to reevaluate the interview process and hiring strategies altogether.

According to ESI Trends, common mistakes dealerships should avoid during the hiring process include:

  • Hiring quickly out of desperation
  • Hiring someone after just one interview with one person at the dealership
  • Overselling the position’s earning potential
  • Not trying to impress the recruit

Some additional best practices dealerships should consider to boost retention include:

  • Keeping job descriptions updated with the most relevant, accurate information
  • Implementing a business development center to funnel sales leads to salespeople
  • Offering creative compensation in addition to stable base wages
  • Providing a career growth and professional development plan

By switching to more base-waged positions with bonuses, dealerships make room for employees to meet customer needs versus negotiating the best price for the dealership. Dealerships that take things a step further and create a career path for their employees will significantly increase employee retention rates, especially for today’s millennial who places priority on career advancement.

The auto industry has recognized there is a problem in its employee retention and has taken steps to improve retention rates. However, there is still a long way to go in creating the industry culture and offerings to not only attract today’s top talent but to keep them there for the long haul. Until then, employee retention will continue to wage a significant toll on your dealership and the industry as a whole.

Thanks to NCM Associates’ partner, Hireology, for sharing their guidance on attracting and managing millennial employees. Learn more about Hireology and join NCM’s experts for more actionable advice on hiring the best people for your team in our Hiring Top Talent and Success-Driven Pay Plans classes.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/04/employee-turnover-is-killing-your-dealership/

Brandiss Drummer

Employee Retention: Why Just Having a Pay Plan Won’t Work

Hispanic businesspeople talking

The automotive industry faces some unique challenges managing people, as evidenced by an average dealership turnover of 40.5%, with some positions, such as sales consultants, reaching up to 67%. Also, over 42% of dealership personnel are classified as millennials, whose turnover rate exceeds the average at 52%. In black and white terms, the average dealership will spend half a million dollars a year in turnover costs.

Retention problems are personal

I’ve heard of many approaches to combat retention issues in automotive. Some dealers recommend defining a career path and creating stability through a pay plan. Others point to providing a work-life balance or empowering people to make their own decisions. While all of these points are valid, I prefer to concentrate on a singular approach: relationship.

There are two reasons why I think all roads lead to relationship building: 1) perks are easy to find, and 2) one-size-fits-all solutions don’t work.

Perks are replaceable

First, let’s look at perks. If we’re honest, even the best benefits package is easily replaced. And there are a lot of businesses out there offering flexible schedules, bonuses, and other benefits. That’s the problem with focusing on material things: Your great employee could jump to the next job as soon as there is a better offer!

Everyone is different

Secondly, focusing on specific items like pay plans or flexible schedules leads to a “one size fits all” solution. But each employee has different ideas of what is important to them. For example, it may be vital to Betty that she works in a job where she gets weekly feedback on her performance. However, for Mark, that may make him feel micro-managed. Mark may prefer to have more autonomy, which makes him feel trusted and important.

Relationship building with each of our employees ensures that we are giving them what they need as individuals. Perks can be replaced, but it’s hard to replace a person you genuinely believe cares about you.

Think about it like a marriage. There is always someone out there who may have just a little bit more in this one area than your spouse, but they can never replace the feeling of someone who knows and loves you, the relationship that you have built with your partner over the years. This is the reason why factors such as “I have a best friend at work” and “my supervisor seems to care about me at work” show up on the Gallup study on positive business outcomes, “First, Break all the Rules.”

Building better relationships

So what can you do today to start building or cementing your relationships with your people?

  1. Recurring, one-on-one meetings. Take this time to get to know your employee. Let them lead the first part of the meeting, and be sure to ask questions about things going on at work, as well as significant events in their personal life. The point is to make them feel comfortable around you so that they will open up and you can get to know them. The key is consistency. Set up recurring meetings in your Outlook calendar and try your best not to cancel or move them. By keeping to the schedule, you will demonstrate their importance to you.
  2. Keep track of personal information for each of your employees. This was a great tip I got from one of my mentors. He kept a memo on his phone of important dates for each employee, such as their birthday, work anniversary, and wedding anniversary. He also stored information he learned in his casual conversations with them, such as favorite food, hobbies, children, interests, etc. This information became very helpful to give personalized gifts, or to help personalize the conversation in their one-on-one meeting.
  3. Be relatable. Relationships are two-sided, and your employees want to know you are human, too. Share things you have going on in your life with your employees, when appropriate. And remember, the old-school way of being the “stoic” manager doesn’t work anymore. It is OK to share concerns or stressors that you have, as long as you do so in a way that still conveys stability and competence.

For the skeptics, I am not entirely idealistic. I know that retention starts with hiring the right person in the first place. I also realize that you can’t win them all and that some factors go beyond a relationship. However, I genuinely believe that when you build a healthy relationship with your employees, the other more tangible factors, such as flexible schedules and professional development, will become more effective. As Simon Sinek says, build a great relationship with your people, and they will believe what you believe. They’ll work for you with their blood, sweat, and tears.

For more information on retention and great leadership, attend our Leadership Program in June.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/employee-retention-why-just-having-a-pay-plan-wont-work/

NCM Associates

#AskNCM: Are all dealerships losing employees over working hours?

How many hours do your employees work on average? Is it too much? Too little? Are they even working while they’re at work? Expert Robin Cunningham shares his observations about the ways successful dealerships are scheduling their employees.

Have another question for Robin or the other #AskNCM experts? Leave it in a comment below!

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2017/03/askncm-are-all-dealerships-losing-employees-over-working-hours/

Steve Emery

Get the Most from Your Managers’ Meetings

Business presentation on corporate meeting.

Most managers view meetings as something akin to visiting the dentist. They are time away from “work,” and can range from boring to painful. If canceling a managers’ meeting truly pumps up your staff, perhaps it’s time to look at ways you can make them something to look forward to.

Meet for the right reason

Let’s start with this question: When should you have all your managers gathered in a group meeting?  Some dealerships hold mandatory daily meetings; others hold them only when the dealer feels it is necessary.  Information that could be better distributed by email should be.

Here’s a short list of reasons you might need face-to-face time from all managers:

  • An important announcement (We are buying another dealership.)
  • To solve a problem (Should we change DMS systems?)
  • To discuss a business opportunity (How do we sell more used cars?)
  • Training to be better managers (How to develop a business plan?)

Pick a convenient time

First thing in the morning may be convenient for the dealer and sales staff, but it’s the busiest time for service. I’ve found that meeting during lunch typically has the least impact on all parts of the business. Plus, breaking bread can lighten the mood!

One drawback with a group meeting is that some managers’ time is wasted listening to other departments’ unrelated issues, while other managers get far less time than is needed to resolve challenges. To solve this, try alternating weekly group meetings with individual manager one-on-ones.

For example, say all managers meet on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. On the second and fourth weeks of the month, the dealer can meet with individual department managers on a schedule:

Monday – New

Tuesday – Used

Wednesday – Service

Thursday – Parts

Friday – Office

Make good use of your time

Now that we have a more effective schedule, let’s take a look at a more efficient agenda.

Most managers’ meetings have no agenda at all, which is like driving without a destination. And when there is an agenda, it is typically a review of the numbers—which is like driving by only looking in the rear-view mirror. Your agenda should prompt the management team to take action based on the business situation.

Here are some key items to consider:

Asset Review. If you don’t manage the assets, they turn into expenses and frozen cash.  Review each manager’s aged inventories and receivables. What is each manager’s action plan to purchase faster-turning inventory and turn receivables into cash faster?

Sales Process. Do you have an active process to maximize the revenue from each sales opportunity? What is the action plan for increasing sales and the gross on those sales?

Advertising. Is your advertising effective in attracting new customers and retaining existing customers? What is the action plan for creating more customers at lower expense?

Personnel. Who are the top and bottom performers? What is the action plan to increase gross per employee?

Expenses. To whom are you writing checks? What is the action plan for reducing expenses?

By balancing the agenda of the group and your one-on-one meetings, you can maximize effectiveness. Focusing your managers on where you want to go—rather than on where you have been—should give you and your management team something to look forward to.

Tell us below how you manage meetings? Learn more about Steve Emery and how he and his NCM colleagues can help your dealership through 20 Groups and in-dealership consulting.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/11/get-the-most-from-your-managers-meetings/

Lindsey Quinn

Christy Roman: Changing the Face of Automotive through Leadership

woman in front of cars

Dealerships around the country struggle to find innovative ways to recruit and retain top female talent; meanwhile, women themselves face challenges balancing work and home, and often have to establish their place in the traditional dealership. It’s a situation that many believe needs to change.

We recently interviewed Christy Roman, founder of Women in Automotive (WIA), about the difficulties women face and asked her how the industry can address them. Read on to discover her solutions.

NCM Associates: What do you think are the biggest obstacles women face in automotive-focused careers?

Christy Roman: It’s a very family-unfriendly environment—and it’s male-dominated. There are many antiquated requirements that could be changed that would make hiring and retaining women more feasible. The industry needs to make some of these adjustments, or their store demographics will not match those of their customers.

It’s not just women, either, it’s young people. The days of working 12 hours a day, six days a week with a draw and little to no training are coming to a close.

NCM: This seems like a question of leadership; it reminds me of a great meme going around LinkedIn right now. What do you think of this? Do you agree?

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CR: I love that—I think developing people is the mark of a good leader. Too many managers don’t understand that is their primary role—not just to provide a service or product. Developing people is the name of the game. That’s part of why we created this organization—to assist dealers in understanding that changes need to occur in order to attract and grow people in the industry.

NCM: Tell me more about what inspired you to create the WIA?

CR: I went to a “marketing to women” conference, and it got me to thinking about the industry and how cool it would be to host an event that we could tailor to women in the industry—from how to recruit and retain, train and develop women as employees to how to market to and capitalize on their strength as consumers. It just seemed like it might be a good idea. We had no idea until we had the event how beneficial it would be. It was magical!

NCM: What role does WIA fill in women’s lives?

CR: It’s an opportunity to network, learn, and be inspired by a great industry—it helps give women direction and shows them how much opportunity exists in automotive. At the same time, it helps dealers and human resource directors learn and share strategies that benefit employee satisfaction and retention. Marketers can come and be educated on how focusing on women is a good thing and can be very lucrative.

NCM: Do you have a particular mentor who helped guide you through your career?

CR: Jody Devere of Ask Patty has been one as it pertains to this industry and growing my business. Molly Curry of CDK also had a huge impact on me years ago, but there have been others along the way.

It’s always helpful to have someone who’s “been there and done that” to give you advice. It keeps me calm, so I don’t freak out when things are difficult. And, as an entrepreneur, things are often very difficult.

NCM: How important do you think mentorship is for women in automotive?

CR: I think it’s incredibly important. It’s not an easy industry, as much opportunity as there is and as great an industry as it is. To have people who can commiserate with you and provide a sounding board is an invaluable tool to help you weather some of the storms that invariably come with careers in automotive.

NCM: Does WIA help fill that role? Do you want it to?

CR: We have a mentoring program that we have been piloting and plan to more formally roll out at this year’s event. If we can garner enough interest, we will certainly fill that role.

NCM: Who should those mentors be? Should women look for other female leaders in the industry?

CR: I think mentors come in all different shapes and sizes—so find one in the industry, or any other line of work, I don’t think it’s a necessity to be part of this industry. Beneficial, but not necessary.

NCM: Do you think it is important—especially in automotive—for women to have a male mentor in addition to female mentors? Why or why not?

CR: I stand by what I said above, mentors come in all shapes and sizes, and absolutely men can mentor. I think it’s more about how you relate to the mentor/mentee and how it values both parties than whether it’s a man or a woman.

NCM: How can young women in the field—or women considering a move into automotive—find mentors? What should they do?

CR: Come to Women in Automotive and sign-up!

NCM: Do you mentor anyone in the field? What’s one of the most important lessons you’ve given them?

CR: I like to mentor those who ask me to do so—I have helped a number of people who have embarked on the oftentimes scary entrepreneurial track to help them be strategic and avoid costly mistakes. I’d like to teach young people about entrepreneurship: It took me until I was 30 to figure out I was an entrepreneur!

Want to learn more? Attend the next WIA conference or sign-up for the NCM Institute’s course, GMEP—General Management Executive Program. Each year, NCM gives away a free scholarship to one lucky winner at the WIA conference. This allows the winner to attend a full GMEP course during a time of her choosing and take amazing lessons back to her dealership and apply them.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/06/christy-roman-changing-the-face-of-automotive-through-leadership/

Steve Hall

A Triple-Dog-Dare: Stop stalling and solve that dealership problem

dare

Nothing could get me moving outside my comfort zone faster as a kid than my friends daring me! Granted, many times those dares weren’t the wisest actions to take, but peer pressure will make you do some amazing things. (And, no, I won’t share any stories.)

The power of a dare: action

There is no better case for how far a dare can take you than the 1983 movie classic A Christmas Story.  In one scene, a young boy named Flick has the gauntlet thrown down for him: the triple-dog-dare.

This kind of dare, we’re told, challenges your manhood along with your entire social status. And it can really make people do things that they normally wouldn’t. In the scene, Flick falls for the bait and ends up in the brutal cold with his tongue stuck to a frozen metal flag pole while everyone else runs away. Not exactly the result that he wanted.

I triple-dog-dare you to address a dealership issue

What I am going for in this blog is not to get you to take unwise actions but, rather, to take positive steps. I dare you to take action. Forget that, I’m going to go all in and triple-dog-dare you to take action!

I challenge you to address one of these issues for your triple-dog-dare. Or, if you’re tough enough, do all three!

1) Have the tough conversation with “that” employee. Most departments have one employee who just doesn’t get it. Maybe production is too low. Maybe the attitude is all wrong. It might be that attendance or punctuality is deficient.

Whatever the reason, you and I both know they are a cancer in the department. Yet, you have put off the tough talk with them. Sure, conflict is tough, and you may not want to lose the person. You also know in your heart that the conversation must happen.

Whatever the reason that you haven’t addressed the person, I triple-dog-dare you to face reality and do it today!

2) Meet with your boss and admit something that you don’t understand. People never want to admit that they don’t know something. Yet, if our leadership isn’t aware of a deficiency, they can’t help us improve.

If you’re not sure of how to improve profitability, margins or growth—or even the best way to lead your team—be direct and honest with your supervisor. Show them your vulnerability and your true desire to learn.

Not only will they appreciate the honesty, but it will improve the respect for you as a manager. Requesting training shows that you want to learn, not just be a smoke blowing know-it-all who really doesn’t know-it-all. I triple-dog-dare you to have an honest relationship with your boss.

3) Take charge of your career. Take time from your schedule to attend a training class or workshop. Buy a book on business or leadership. (Yes, an actual hardcover—without pictures!) And then, I challenge you to actually read it.

If you don’t take charge of improving your knowledge base, who will? Learn how to become a better leader of your people. Read the book within the next 30 days, highlighting items that jump out to you.

Not sure what would be the best book for you? Just e-mail me and I’ll give you a few suggestions.

Do whatever it takes to improve yourself. I triple-dog-dare you to get started on the path of self-improvement within the next seven days.

So, there they are: my “childish” dares. While I certainly don’t want to hear about your tongue stuck to a frozen pole, I do want to know if you accept my triple-dog-dares! Send me an email and let me know how it goes or comment below with your experience.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2016/03/a-triple-dog-dare-stop-stalling-and-solve-that-dealership-problem/

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