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Tag Archive: Business Culture

Steve Hall

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

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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/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 21)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words That Hurt: Micromanage

In this post on building a high performance culture, I’m assigning the word “micromanage” to the Words that Hurt column. Micromanagement is an often-misunderstood word, so in this piece I’ll explain what it is and is not, as well as the danger it poses to your culture, people and results.

I’ll dig deeper into micromanage momentarily. But first, quickly review the strong and weak cultural words below so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move your organization towards, as well as what you must weed out of your culture in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Wise: having or showing good judgement.

Diligent: giving constant effort to accomplish something.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about. (as opposed to being committed).

Foolish: lacking good sense or judgment.

Micromanage is defined as “to control with excessive attention to minor details.” Here are seven thoughts on micromanagement and how it will influence your culture.

1. Holding people accountable for tough standards is not micromanagement.

It’s important to note that there are a handful of things within a culture that are not up for debate, must be held in a iron grip, and thus may be wrongly perceived as micromanagement. Managers who are diligent in holding others accountable for living company values and following prescribed processes are often erroneously accused of being micromanagers. This reflects a failure to understand that micromanagement involves “minor” details, and values and processes are major matters and must be vigorously enforced and upheld.

2. Making every decision, solving every problem and having all the ideas are signs of micromanagement.

You’ve conditioned people to count on you so heavily they cannot think for themselves. Micromanaged people lack passion and tend to play not to lose.

3. Over-involving yourself in others’ jobs, especially in areas where you have little expertise, may constitute micromanagement.

While your authority allows you to set clear expectations and deadlines for results for the various aspects under your charge, you err when you then nitpick and continually second-guess those responsible for producing the results throughout the process.

4. If you hire the wrong people you’ll have to micromanage them.

This is a sad truth, because it’s foolish to empower incapable or corrupt people with latitude and discretion and expect anything positive to come from it.

5. Micromanagement is a primary de-motivator for top performers.

High achievers resent having to check with you for everything. They feel that their past performance should earn them the trust to move faster and with less supervision than less-proven team members.

6. Micromanagement works in the short-term.

It’s always easier to personally make a decision or perform a task than to teach someone else how to do it. But this strategy causes you to plateau, and stunts the growth of others over the long haul; you become overwhelmed doing too much personally, and others never get to try new things or venture beyond their comfort zone.

7. Micromanagement is rooted in pride and to a large degree, insecurity.

Micromanagers feel that if someone else performs tasks or makes decisions without their involvement it makes them less important. They may also feel that “if they want it done right they have to do it themselves”, overestimating their own abilities while they sell short the potential of their teammates.

In summary, micromanagement overwhelms you, demotivates others, and creates an oppressive culture.

Face it: if you’ve hired people who must be micromanaged that’s your fault; if you don’t train people to do their jobs more independently, that’s your fault; if your ego doesn’t allow you to empower others, that’s your fault. Are you seeing a pattern here? The good news is that you can fix what is your fault. The bad news is that most micromanagers are too full of themselves, or busy doing everything themselves, to even bother trying.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-21/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 20)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words that Work: Diligent

In this post on building a high performance culture I’m adding the word diligent to the words that work column, although diligence can hurt you if you’re investing it in the wrong habits or activities.

I’ll expand on diligent in a moment, but first do a quick review of the strong and weak cultural words so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move towards, as well as what you must move away from culturally in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Wise: having or showing good judgement.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about. (as opposed to being committed).

Foolish: lacking good sense or judgment.

The word diligent is defined as “giving constant effort to accomplish something.”

High performing cultures are those where the right things are done consistently, and where the team members diligently persist to see those right activities come to completion.

In order to maximize results, discipline must precede diligence. In other words, one must be disciplined enough to choose and execute the highest leverage tasks from the outset, and to say “no” to the distractions that arise in the process, before diligence is beneficial. Frankly, giving constant effort to stick with, or accomplish, the wrong something, or a low-return something, hurts an organization and stifles results.

The word “consistent” is a cousin of “diligent.” To be consistent means to “constantly adhere to the same principles”. Thus discipline chooses the right activity or principle; consistency ensures those same things are done repeatedly, and diligence ensures the actions are not only initiated but followed through to a successful completion.

Discipline, consistent and diligent are critical success traits demonstrated by highly successful people, and are a trait of highly performing cultures overall. Without discipline you’ll consistently put second things first, as you diligently move forward majoring in minor things.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/06/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-20/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 19)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

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Words that Work: Wise

Words that Hurt: Foolish

In this post on building a high performance culture, I’m adding the word “wise” to the “words that work” column, and “foolish” to the list of cultural “words that hurt”.

I’ll expand on traits of both wise and foolish people, as well as strategies for dealing with both below. First, let’s do a quick review of the strong and weak cultural words so you can conceptualize the ideal culture to move towards, as well as what you must move away from culturally in order to maximize your organization’s potential.

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Prune: to remove what is undesirable.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about (as opposed to being committed).

Wise is defined as: having or showing good judgment.

Foolish is defined as: lacking good sense of judgment.

Keep in mind that wise doesn’t necessarily mean book-smart, and a fool isn’t necessarily an untalented dullard. In fact, sometimes the “fool” is the brightest person in the room. And while most people show signs of both wise and foolish behavior from time to time, the trait that dominates should best foretell their future with your organization.

What can accurately help you determine how to categorize one as wise or foolish is in how they respond to the feedback you give them on their behaviors. Author Dr. Henry Cloud specifically mentions the following differences. Pay close attention, because in order to build or sustain a strong culture it’s essential you have wise people throughout; those who respond as follows when receiving feedback on their behaviors and performance:

  • They thank you for it.
  • They own it; take responsibility for it.
  • They show remorse for unhealthy behaviors when you bring it to their attention.
  • Your relationship with them strengthens as a result of the feedback.
  • They change their behavior as a result of getting feedback.

You can take wise people far in an organization. Your investments in time, dollars, training, coaching and mentoring return to you exponentially over time as they grow and increase their capacity to contribute to the organization.

Unlike a wise person, the fool does the following when you give him feedback:

  • Externalizes it: He will blame others, conditions, and even you for their behavior or results: “You do the same thing!” etc.
  • Minimizes it: He will try to convince you his behavior or result isn’t that big of a deal: “I was only ten minutes late. What’s the big deal?”
  • Rationalize it: He will excuse it; say he had no choice based on the situation he was in, the options available: “Given the hand I was dealt, I didn’t have a choice,” etc.
  • The relationship weakens as a result of your giving feedback; the person withdraws, pouts, resents and tells others how unfair you are.

Your future with foolish people within your organization should be brief, at best. They demonstrate character flaws you cannot fix or change. They can fix or change them, but don’t seem to see the need for it.

 


toptalent

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/04/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-19/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 18)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

Business king. Confident businessman in crown standing isolated

A word that works: “Prune”

In this eighteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that work” column a word normally associated with gardening, but whose applications for improving an organization’s culture abound: prune.

I’ll expand on how pruning benefits culture momentarily, but to review the portrait of high performing cultures this series has presented take a moment to review both what must be woven into, and weeded out of, a culture to create optimal performance:

Words that work and must be woven into culture:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Commit: to pledge oneself to something.

Words that hurt and must be weeded out of culture:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

Interest: to be curious about (as opposed to being committed).

To prune is defined as: to remove what is undesirable.

When pruning a bush, less than optimal branches and buds are removed so they no longer zap vital resources from those with the potential to become great. If left on a bush, the dying or dead branches create a visual blight, and cause the healthy branches to go over, under, and around their interference in order to reach their peak form.

In business, a candidate for pruning—what is undesirable and needing to be removed somewhat, or altogether—may range from ineffective or underperforming:

  • Policies
  • Processes
  • Strategies
  • Vendors
  • People
  • Products
  • Services
  • Investment dollars
  • And more

Unlike a sick branch, you don’t automatically remove the listed underperforming entities in organizational culture. Rather, there are three categories of pruning each may fit into. Understanding these three options creates a useful decision-making filter that allows you to make the right choices to build a high performing culture.

Category one: the entities that are good, but have little chance of becoming great. These are normally areas where, regardless of what you put into someone or something, you reap a diminishing return. Since it is good you don’t remove it, but realign time or resources into the aspects of your culture that have a chance to become great. The key word here is: realign.

Example: A solid performer you want on the team; but regardless how much time or training you give them they still produce around the same amount. You’ll need to realign some of what you’re investing in this person into someone who has higher upward potential.

Category two: entities that are struggling and not getting better. These are policies, people, strategies and the like where business as usual is not an option; something must change. You’re not ready to remove it yet, but you need to revitalize it.

Example: A marketing strategy that used to bring results but seems to have run its course. You’re close to abandoning it, but will try one new angle, a new medium, a new something to attempt to revive it. It could also involve a poor performer whom you’re close to terminating, but will try one last time to revitalize through training, or by transferring to a position they’re better suited for.

Category three: entities for which there are no hope. On a bush, this would be the branch that has died and is taking up space. In business this is someone or something you’ve tried to realign and revitalize, but you’re still not getting the desired results. This aspect of pruning mandates that it’s time to remove it.

Example: The performer that, despite your efforts to coach, motivate, and train continues to miss your standards. It could also be a product or product line that has outlived its usefulness; no marketing campaign has been able to save it. It’s time for it to go.

By realigning, revitalizing or removing what isn’t desirable, you are able to efficiently execute the disciplines within your culture that increase your success. Pruning is a key ally to leaders who understand that mediocrity is a dangerously seductive cultural infection; and unless they act on it their culture will become a host and carrier of its disease.

 


Dave Anderson on NCM OnDemand:

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/03/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-18/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 17)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

Young businessman adjusting his tie

Words that Work: Committed

Words that Hurt: Interested

In this seventeenth post on building a high performance culture, I want to put in each the “words that work” and the “words that hurt” column a word that separates the good from great in any conceivable endeavor; one who is committed versus one who is merely interested.

I’ll expand on committed vs. interested in a moment, but to bring you up-to-speed on this culture series, please review the following points and words from past posts:

  • Culture is never done. Thus, the “words that work” concepts must be consistently woven into your culture to strengthen it.
  • The “words that hurt,” and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of your culture.
  • These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own culture and continuously strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

Discipline: an activity, regimen, or exercise that develops or improves a habit or skill.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest, or concern.

I’ve had leaders attend my workshops whose first reaction to my asking if they’re interested in, or committed to, becoming a great leader and building a great organization is: “What’s the difference?” Frankly, the difference is staggering. Take a look:

  • Interested: to be curious about.
  • Committed: to have pledged oneself to something.

Consider how weak, unconvincing, and uninspiring being interested sounds when compared to commitment:

  1. I’m curious about what it would be like to become a great leader.
  2. I’m curious about what it would be like to build a higher performing culture.
  3. I’m curious how it would feel to have our best year ever.

On the other hand, “pledging oneself to something” indicates you are willing to pay a price; and understanding that it’s not likely to be a one-time, lump sum payment; it will be an installment plan. But you’re willing to keep plodding on for the long haul because you understand that the prize of excellence, the payoff for operating at your fullest potential and achieving what you never dreamed possible, is worth the price.

Eventually, every parent, spouse, team member, business leader, coach, teacher, pastor, everyone, must decide which column they’re in: interested or committed. All must embrace the reality that high performing cultures are shaped by, strengthened by, and protected by, those who are committed to consistently excellent performance.

By the way, the column you choose doesn’t have to be announced. You never have to tell others, “I’m committed”, because when it’s true, they can tell by watching you. They see the price you pay, the disciplines you develop, the tough decisions you make, the sacrifices you endure and, ultimately, how your talk about becoming great and your daily walk align.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/02/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-17/

Tom Hopkins

Setting Realistic Sales Goals

Success conceptAchieving sales volume goals is one of the biggest challenges any automotive salesperson faces. This is a pretty straight forward industry. If you’re not making the cut, you can quickly find yourself cut from the team.

There are so many factors that can affect that final number, that you have to stay on top of every aspect of your sales activities and keep making client contacts.

Hopefully, you are dedicated, professional, and motivated to achieve your auto sales career goals. If you are not, read no further. Instead, start looking for another product to market, something that lights a fire in your belly, something you truly believe in.

If you aren’t truly excited about the product you are offering, it will show in your demeanor or in some little thing you say or do while with potential clients. They’ll sense it, and little doubts and fears will arise in them about purchasing your vehicle. So, first and foremost, in order to achieve anything in this business, you have to believe in your line of vehicles, in the company you represent, and in your own ability to excite others about them.

Let’s assume for now, though, that you do have the knowledge, the belief and the right attitude in place. How do you set and achieve the sales goals? Start, by setting a financial goal for yourself for the year. Break it down into quarters and months. Is the monthly goal realistic? If not, you either need to downsize your goal or super-size your skills. You decide.

Next, consider the average amount you earn on a typical automobile sale. Divide that into your monthly earning goal to see how many vehicles you need to move this month. Consider your gut reaction and first thoughts when you see that number. Is it one of “Hey, I can do that”? Or, is it, “Wow! How am I going to do that?”

If it seems easy, consider increasing your sales goal. If it seems like it will be a challenge, good. Your goal should be something that both excites you and makes you stretch a bit each month.

When you’re in stretch-mode:

  • You’ll be open to learning new ways of connecting with people.
  • You’ll look forward to making follow up calls and contacting those who are referred to you.
  • You’ll get out of bed in the morning with excitement to face the day and accomplish something positive.

This next step in achieving your goals is critical: Multiply your sales ratio by the number of vehicles determined above to learn how many people you need to connect with this month. Do you typically sell every fourth client you meet at your dealership? If so, your ratio is 1:4. If you need to get people happily involved in 10 vehicles to achieve your earnings goal, you’ll need to meet 40 of them in order to do so. That’s when you’re working with the law of averages.

Is it realistic for you to meet 40 people this month? If not, again, you either downsize your goals or learn new and better ways to meet people, put them at ease, and get them to like you, trust you, and want to listen to you.

That’s the bottom line of what selling is all about. People buy from people they like.

  • If you’re not like-able, you’re out of luck.
  • If you’re not knowledgeable, they won’t trust you.
  • If you want people to listen to you and take your advice about vehicle ownership, you have to learn to listen to them.
  • If you ask questions and get them talking, they’ll tell you exactly what they want to own…not just the make and model of the vehicle, but the features, the economy, the cool color, whatever it is that will make them say, “Yes, that’s the car for me.”

So, in getting back to these 40 people you need to meet this month, where are you going to connect with them? Hopefully, you’re not one of those salespeople who waits in the lot, hoping the company advertising campaign will bring ‘em in droves. To achieve your automotive selling goals, you have to invest time in reaching out to people all on your own.

Call your past clients to see if they’re still happy with their vehicles. These calls shouldn’t take more than two minutes each. It’s just a way of touching base, making them feel important and giving them an opportunity to tell you once again how happy they are. If they’re happy, you have the right to ask them for referral business. If they’re not, you need to know about it because their unhappiness can cost you a lot of future business.

Knowing your target for meeting people is the way to achieve the sales goals you’re reaching for.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/02/setting-realistic-sales-goals/

Tony Albertson

Are Your Managers Being Followed or Just Tolerated?

business team in meeting on dark background

So there I was, the third newly-hired General Manager in two and a half years in a struggling automotive dealership and faced with the task of evaluating the competence of the existing department managers. These were the managers that would be required to support the renewed vision of the dealer and institute the processes that would hopefully get the store on its feet.  I needed leaders. Were they worth keeping? Should I just blow them all out and start fresh? How do you know?  I of course wanted to give them the opportunity to be successful, but do temporary results lead to long term progress?  At one time or another in my career I have read and studied every management book I could get my hands on but the question remained. Where to start?  It is often funny where our answers come from…

As a young man I had this old guy that lived next door.  I would see him from time to time out walking his fuzzy little dog and didn’t think much of him.  What I didn’t know at the time was that he was a highly decorated retired naval captain and, typical of many combat vets, he lived in total anonymity being mostly taken for granted by the casual observer. At seventeen years old I was just as self-obsessed as anyone my age, but one day this “old guy” got my attention. Initially it was a result of his slightly dark, self-deprecating sense of humor.  I noticed this first as it was being directed at me and my frustrated attempts to get a stubborn lawnmower started.  I thought to myself, “Wait a minute…the old dude that lives next door, that I don’t even know, is making fun of me.”  When I looked up to proffer an indignant teenager scowl and snappy retort, I was greeted by the ornery smile of a mischievous schoolboy pasted to the face of, well, an old guy. I liked him instantly.

Over time, the old captain shared many sea stories and descriptions of combat that would keep me enthralled for hours at a time. He shared both the horror and the glory with a deep sense of humility and grace. Fast forward many years to my current situation in taking over a new dealership, and one particular conversation stood out.

I had asked him what was more difficult, following orders or as his career progressed, assigning the people to carry out the orders? He thought about this for a moment and shared a about time he was required to pick two young lieutenants to lead men into harm’s way. The mission was important, dangerous and had to be accomplished, but who were the right officers to lead it? He had many young lieutenants under his command to choose from.  Some were all spit and polish, some were by the book and cautious, most were equally trained, and all wanted the opportunity to prove their worth as officers.  Every officer under his command understood the importance of planning, logistics and execution of a plan, and all, in theory, should be able to lead the mission.  But the question came down to this; if, in theory they can all lead…who would be followed?

We have all seen this at one time or another; an intelligent manager with all the knowledge given the responsibility of leading a group to an expected result and falling short. Ultimately because he or she was not being “followed” by their subordinates—they were just being “tolerated.”

These same managers have read all the books, attended the seminars and in the end were pronounced a “qualified leader.”  If you happen to work for one of these qualified leaders they frequently feel the need to remind you who the boss is because you are obviously not smart enough to remember.  If they happen to work for you they are the first to sing their own praises, point out the deficiency in others, and the validity of their own ideas. It is not unusual to see people roll their eyes as they pass and the so-called leader remains oblivious.  Would you follow this guy?

At the end of the day, what is a leader?

Simply put, a leader is someone that is being followed, not just tolerated.  Take a look at your managers.  Are they just being tolerated because your employees care enough about you and the store not to leave?  The net results of this situation are mediocre at best.  Or are they following the person that you appointed to carry out the company’s mission to its highest result?

A manager can have all the knowledge, bright ideas and understanding of your vision, but it is the ability to build conviction in others that makes the leader.


Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/01/are-your-managers-being-followed-or-just-tolerated/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 14)

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This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®.

Words that Hurt: Maintain

In this fourteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that hurt” column a word that stifles the potential of both individuals and organizations: maintain.

More about maintain in a moment, but to bring yourself up to date with this series, please review the following words that work from past posts. These must be consistently woven into your culture to strengthen it. The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of a culture. These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own, and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Passion: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something. 

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Maintain is defined as: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Managers who maintain create a culture where:

  1. The goals set for the organization are incredibly safe.
  2. People are conditioned to think incrementally.
  3. The status quo is defended, rather than attacked.
  4. Those who question the status quo are seen as trouble makers, or as being negative.
  5. Nothing is changed until something bad happens.
  6. People aren’t held accountable.
  7. People aren’t stretched and don’t grow.
  8. Tenure becomes a substitute for performance.
  9. There is a play-not-to-lose mentality that pervades the culture.
  10. There is a strong aversion to risk or anything new.
  11. Meetings are held where much is debated, but little is decided.
  12. People expect to be rewarded or promoted more for showing up than for stepping up.
  13. There is a large mass of average or below average people, but very few, if any, superstars.
  14. People are prone to pace themselves, and very little urgency is seen until there’s a crisis, or time is running out on a month.
  15. Doing what’s in a job description is seen as acceptable; even heroic, rather than as baseline.

Frankly, in any industry, maintainers in leadership positions are common; they’re easy to find and cheap to keep. But leaders who can stretch others and their organization, but who understand the importance of stretching themselves first are worth their weight in gold.

collisioncenter

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/12/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-14/

Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 13)

This article is part of a multi-part series titled “Building a High Performance Culture” by Up To Speed Guest Expert, Dave Anderson, of LearnToLead®. thumbs up

Words that Work: Passion

In this thirteenth post on building a high performance culture I want to put in the “words that work” column a word that is found within high achievers in any endeavor: passion.

More about passion in a moment, but to bring yourself up to date with this series, please review the following words that work from past posts; these must consistently be woven into your culture to strengthen it. The words that hurt, and their ensuing mindsets, must be just as diligently weeded out of a culture. These two categories are designed to build an evolving portrait of what a high performance culture looks like so you can evaluate your own, and strive towards the ideal.

Words that work:

Earn: to acquire through merit.

Deserve: to be worthy of; to qualify for.

Consistent: constantly adhering to the same principles.

Hope: grounds for believing something in the future will happen.

Catalyst: a person or thing that makes something happen.

Responsible: to be the primary cause of something.

Tough-minded: strong willed, vigorous, not easily swayed.

Loyal: faithfulness to one’s duties or obligations.

Words that hurt:

Fault: responsibility for failure.

Blame: to assign responsibility for failure.

Excuse: a plea offered to explain away a fault or failure.

Mediocre: average, ordinary, not outstanding.

Wish: to want something that cannot, or probably will not happen.

Entitle: a claim to something you feel you are owed.

Sloth: reluctance to work or exert effort; laziness.

Complacent: calmly content, smugly self-satisfied.

Passion is defined as: a strong feeling or enthusiasm about something, or about doing something.

The following are five thoughts on passion:

1. High performing cultures have passionate people, driven to excel by a meaningful mission, compelling vision and the desire to make a difference.

2. Passion is different than both drive and energy. One can have both these essential traits, but without an enthusiasm for the work at hand, see their drive and energy go largely wasted. The quality of the culture plays a big part in drawing passion out.

3. Passionate people aren’t necessarily loud or giddy; their enthusiasm is more likely to show up in their attitude, work ethic, team play and results.

4. Passionate people are normally lower maintenance employees as they don’t require the coddling or continual pep talks the indifferent demand just to get moving. This reduces distractions within your culture, and helps preserve morale.

5. Customers feel an employee’s passion, and it greatly elevates the customer’s experience and earns their loyalty.

6. A poor leader can temper or extinguish a passionate person’s zeal with micromanagement, by surrounding him or her with laggards, or by failing to give the recognition one has earned and deserves. This demonstrates again the importance of a leader taking his or her role as chief architect and primary influencer of the culture very seriously.

 


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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2014/11/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-13/

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