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Dave Anderson

Building a High Performance Culture (Part 22)

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: Hunger

In this post on building a high performance culture I’m adding the word “hunger” to the “words that work” category. Hungry cultures are those that regularly change, risk, and stretch—even while things are going well and all the seas appear calm.

I’ll dig deeper into hunger below; 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: to control with excessive attention to minor details.

Hunger is defined as an intense desire, a compelling craving. 

Note that the definition isn’t limited to merely a “desire or a craving;” intense and compelling are the keys. If something is intense and compelling it moves you, which brings up the key point to this post: you can’t have a hungry culture without hungry people at all levels moving it forward. The challenge is that while you can motivate people—stoke embers that already exist—you cannot make someone hungry by putting the embers of desire within them. Thus, your team members must bring hunger to the table; they must give you something to work with. Hungry people normally have the following traits that make them easier to identify during an interview, or to evaluate the people already within your culture:

  1. Hungry people have compelling reasons—their “why”—that drives them to excel. Their why may include a range of motivations from buying a nicer car, moving into a bigger home, sending their kids to a private school, helping a sick parent, making a difference in the lives of others, to supporting orphans. People tend to lose their way when they lose their why, and wind up going through the motions as they miss their potential by a mile.

One purpose of an interview is determine just how specific and compelling a job candidate’s why is. This will give keen insight into how self-motivated you can expect them to be.

  1. Hungry people are rarely stuck in their ways. They change before they have to, enjoy learning and sharing new things, and would rather take a mature risk than defend a safe status quo.
  1. Hungry people want new responsibilities. They want an opportunity to learn and grow and to expand their skills. They also want increased latitude and discretion to make decisions without having to always check with a higher-up.
  1. Hungry people are more prone to seek out feedback. They know they need fast, honest, specific feedback to grow.
  1. Hungry people don’t need as many pep talks. Of course like anyone they appreciate pats on the back, but aren’t dependent on them in order to stay motivated and work hard to reach their goals.

Final note: A culture is in big trouble when the leaders have let complacency nudge out their hunger and begin leading more from the rear, than from the trenches; maintaining, presiding and administering but not having a stretch impact on the team. Frankly, lethargic leaders create lethargic cultures. Hungry leaders build hungry cultures, and more naturally attract those with the like levels of internal motivation necessary to build a great organization.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/10/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-22/

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/

Steve Hall

Two Quick Tips for Service Managers

Auto Mechanic

It seems these days everyone is pressed for time and running a million different directions. Because of this, your team can feel disconnected and often times alone in their jobs. They don’t get quality time with their supervisor and never get to really hear what is going on in the department or business. They have questions like, “are we doing well or not,” and “am I doing my job to your satisfaction, “or ”am I about to be the next ex-employee?” Most of the time employees don’t actually ask these questions; instead the questions just keep floating around in their mind.

It’s a shame when valued employees feel this way. After all, it doesn’t take a lot of information or interaction to make these questions disappear. With this in mind, today I would like to give you two quick tips you can implement, with no added expense. These two items can possibly help your employees feel more informed and secure in their jobs.

The first tip is the monthly wrap-up and kick-off meeting. According to Marcus Buckingham and Curt Coffman in the book First Break All the Rules, one of the key components to employee retention is making the employee feel they are part of the information stream within the business. One way to help your team with this is to hold a monthly kick-off meeting.

On the first day of the month, bring your departmental team together for a quick three to five minute kick-off meeting. Think pre-game speech for the professional sports team. This meeting can be held right in the service department around the lifts and vehicles during normal business hours. Have the attendee’s stand, so the meeting stays short. For the wrap-up part of the meeting, let them know how the prior month finished up. Cover items like departmental gross profit, or shop hours versus objective, and be sure to cover CSI. Don’t forget to congratulate a few employees that had stellar performance

For the kick-off portion, set the goals for the month that is starting. Be sure to acknowledge upcoming employee anniversaries and milestones. Include anything that is upbeat and challenge the employees to reach the goals that are set.  Giving just a couple minutes of your time, combined with the key information that is shared, will make the whole team feel like an integral part of the organization. This meeting costs nothing, but has a lot of value. By doing this you can bring the team together, and win together.

The second tip I would like to share today is coaching from the sidelines, not the locker room. I think that is worth restating. Do you coach from the sidelines or the locker room? Let me explain what I mean. You would never see a NFL coach hanging out in the locker room while the game is being played. They are found watching the action as it happens and coaching everyone on the team to perform better.

Now, put this into your everyday work life in the service department. Game time for the service department is every morning from about 7:30 to about 9:00. Where are you during this time? Are you hanging out in your office running reports, answering e-mails and reviewing numbers? That would be considered “in the locker room”. Should you be on the “sideline” watching the game and coaching the team while the action is happening? Yes.

Is there really anything more important to a leader than helping their team perform better?  Wouldn’t this also help the employees better understand how they are performing in their jobs? Keep this in mind each and every morning and spend the time directing the team, when the game is actually happening, then perform the behind the scenes work during the non-peak times of the day.

Remember that your team moves at the speed in which you lead them, and to lead you must be in front of them. Don’t focus on the wrong items. Put your efforts into your people and unleash the power of the team.

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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/05/two-quick-tips-for-service-managers/

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.

 


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

Richard Head

Training is Necessary, But Not Sufficient

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Let’s take a look at what training is and is not, along with the real purpose of training: learning and development.

Learning is an individual and organizational effort aimed at helping employees acquire knowledge and skills required for the efficient execution of their current jobs.

Development provides on-the-job activities that allow employees to increase their knowledge,  skills, and performance so they can produce work of increasing importance to the organization.

A McKinsey study of companies’ opinions about problems with learning and development showed that:

  • 59% of senior managers don’t spend enough high-quality time developing their people
  • 45% of line managers are not sufficiently committed to development of people’s capabilities and careers

Deloitte’s 2014 Human Capital Trends report stated that fewer than 45% of businesses have a written plan for learning, largely due to lack of leadership and lack of planning. At the same time, the report states that employee development is one of the biggest factors in employee retention and engagement.

Robert Mager, one of the world’s leading authorities on the use of training and other techniques to solve employee performance problems, makes two important points about training:

Skill alone is not enough.

Skill, by itself, isn’t enough to guarantee on-the-job performance. In addition to skill, the employee needs:

  • Opportunity to learn and practice new skills
  • A supportive environment in which to practice those skills, and
  • Self confidence

Here’s another way to think of on-the-job performance: it’s a house that takes TIME to build and maintain.

  • Training provides knowledge, understanding, skills, and a certain level of confidence.
  • Incentives on the job provide everything from rewards and recognition, to the increased motivation and confidence that come with a job well done.
  • Management provides coaching, feedback, direction, support, and opportunity to practice the new skills.
  • Environment is the setting in which the new skills are practiced—the tools, equipment, and other resources to do the job, along with systems, processes, and a supportive culture.

Training can’t guarantee on-the-job performance.

Training can guarantee knowledge and skill, and can assist with self-confidence. But only managers can be held accountable for on-the-job performance.

Your employees can attend the best, most brilliant, most engaging training in the world, and they can come back to work all pumped up and ready to make a difference. But if incentives, management support, and environmental support are lacking — any of the other pillars of the house — then the house will collapse. Training will have been wasted. And, in many cases, the employee will be extremely dissatisfied because they feel the effort they put into learning new skills was wasted.

How does this apply to the retail automotive industry?

Many retail automotive businesses lack written policies, procedures, and processes – particularly when it comes to learning and development. Formalized recruiting, hiring, orientation, job descriptions, performance review processes, and training are at low levels compared with the average American business. In addition, low levels of employee training by the dealership, as evidenced by training dollars spent, contribute to lack of employee engagement and significant annual employee turnover.

NCM Associates’ proprietary composite for 2014 showed that dealers’ training dollars spent were:

  • 0.8% of Gross Profit
  • 0.107% of Sales (with a Benchmark® of 0.102%)

Compare training expenditures with the percentage of gross profit spent on advertising (1.6%) and you’ll be faced with the question, “If I spend twice as much money on advertising as I do training, are my people as prepared as they need to be when they’re doing their job? Is my spending in balance? Will my people be prepared to deliver the best possible customer service?”

The reality is, that on-the-job performance begins with training, but it can’t end with training. As managers and leaders, we must be prepared to do our part to ensure the training effort produces the results we want.


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Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/03/training-is-necessary-but-not-sufficient/

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/

Robin Cunningham

Is Your Used Vehicle Manager More of a Sales Manager or an Asset Manager?

Car key, credit card on a signed sales contract

This may seem like an odd question, but it’s at the root of a lot of challenges so many dealers have in being as successful and profitable as they can be in their Used Vehicle Departments.

Over the last two weeks at the NCM Institute, I was able to work with both a Used Vehicle class and a General Manager Executive Management class, where the primary discussion was used vehicle management.

One of the facts we deal with is that the average Used Vehicle Manager at a dealership has been in that position for less than one year.  For discussion sake, let’s say that one of the reasons could be that their predecessor got promoted to GSM or even GM.  The rest likely failed at being able to move the department successfully and profitably forward.

Two weeks ago during introductions, in the Used Vehicle Management I class, a young man stated that he had just been “promoted” to Used Vehicle Manager 2-3 weeks prior.  He had been the New Vehicle Manager for about a year before that and sold cars for a couple of years before that.   Without trying to  put him on the spot,  I casually asked him how much training he had gotten all the way back to his “selling days,” and then as he became a New Vehicle Manager.  He was given very little as a sales person and effectively none upon being “promoted” to a New Vehicle Sales Manager.  This really is the norm in our industry.  The very good news for this young man (and the dealer that chose to send him to us for some education and training;) is that he is going to have a much better chance to be successful in his new and very challenging position as a Used Vehicle Manager in today’s unforgiving marketplace.

This scenario of someone being “promoted” to Used Vehicle Manager from a New Vehicle Manager is very common, actually.  It is likely that this person has become a good closer and desk manager.  They may even have become good at working with salespeople on a daily basis to help them become more successful and productive.  This, however, does not prepare the person for almost any of the skills necessary in becoming successful as a Used Vehicle Manager.

Maybe one of the most key skills is the appraisal process.  This is every dealership’s #1 source of Used Vehicle Inventory.  We had a dealer’s daughter in class late last year who spent a number of years outside the dealership gaining experience in other environments.  This included working as an appraiser/buyer at Car Max.  When we were going around the room talking about people’s appraisal experience and philosophies, this young woman kind of stunned the guys in the room with just how thorough of an Appraisal Process she learned and performed while working at Car Max….it took her five minutes to explain the process.  When she was done, the one question that had come to my mind was how much training was she provided in order to do appraisals that thoroughly.  She thought about it for a second and said 6-7 MONTHS!!!  I then went around the room asking others how much training they had before they were allowed to appraise cars.  As you might imagine, the consensus was pretty close to zero.

As I often say we are only trying to uncover upside OPPORTUNITY for our students to identify and return to their dealerships with realistic ways to achieve them.

So, going back to the title of this blog: Is your Used Vehicle Manager more of a sales manager or an Asset Manager? More and more dealers are realizing that in today’s market, if they are going to get the greatest gross profit, and equally or more importantly, the maximum return on investment, they need someone to be a full time asset manager of their multi-million dollar investment in used vehicle inventory.

So beyond just the appraisal process that is so vital, there are also the STRATEGIES for: the software tools we use (AXX, First Look, vAuto, Red Bumper, etc.); pricing and re-pricing; reconditioning; internet presence (price, pictures, descriptions, placement); wholesaling (both primary wholesale and over-aged wholesale); tradeWalk/stock walk; model inventory, and so much more.

With the majority of salesforces being combined, selling both new and used vehicles, there really are plenty of people that are good closers and desk people.  So think seriously about making sure you have a dedicated Used Vehicle ASSET Manager – It’s more than a full time job itself.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/02/is-your-used-vehicle-manager-more-of-a-sales-manager-or-an-asset-manager/

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 16)

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®.

Pen

Words that Work: Discipline

In this sixteenth post on building a high performance culture, I want to put in the “words that work” column a word that fuels the consistency that separates good performers and organizations from great ones: discipline.

I’ll expand on discipline momentarily, but to improve your perspective on this culture series, please review the following “words that work” from past posts.

  • These 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, 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: to cause (something) to exist or continue without changing.

Apathy: a lack of enthusiasm, interest or concern.

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

To help grasp the importance of disciplined people working within a disciplined culture, consider the following points on discipline:

  1. Discipline serves as fuel for consistency. It powers the development of healthy habits and routines instrumental for reducing the wide up and down swings of business performance.
  2. A narrower focus on who and what matters most stimulates discipline. The marriage of narrowed focus and more discipline makes decision making easier; it helps you know what to say “yes” or “no” to so you can stay on track and do more of what matters most.
  3. Discipline without direction is drudgery. Discipline simply for the sake of discipline does not inspire. But when discipline is developed because it leads you towards a compelling purpose it can help make you unstoppable.
  4. Discipline isn’t about doing a lot of things every day; it’s about executing the handful of daily activities most necessary to move towards your goals.
  5. Disciplined people have more, not fewer, options as they progress through business and life. Discipline isn’t a jailer, it is a liberator.
  6. Disciplined people, pulled forward by a compelling purpose, consistently do what is right day-in and day-out; not just when it’s easy, cheap, popular or convenient.
  7. Discipline isn’t “punishment,” it’s a morale builder. You always feel better about yourself when you do what is right, what you’ve committed to do; whether it’s saying “no” to the cheesecake when dieting, or making the ten calls you said you’d make before leaving for home.

As a final thought on discipline, I’d like to suggest that the alternative to discipline is disaster. Evidence of this principle abounds in the lives of businesses and individuals who waste time and resources chasing silver bullets, quick fixes, and implementing successions of failed flavors of the month, while their disciplined counterparts steadily plod along to new performance levels.

Permanent link to this article: http://blog.ncm20.com/2015/01/building-a-high-performance-culture-part-16/

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