Our MAC advisors regularly publish articles in various capital goods industry publications.  Here are the most recent  articles from these publications, including Farm Equipment in the People & Profits and/or the Leadership Lessons columns.  You can find more of our dealership improvement publications grouped into high-level topics.  Many of these articles are available on the Farm Equipment Magazine website.   If you are unable to find them at their site, especially ones from 2010 and before, please contact us and we will provide you with a copy.

A Note from George Russell, Machinery Advisors (MAC)
We begin the 12th year of writing this column and look forward to the theme of Creating a Customer Centric Culture. With almost 100 articles written since 2009, readers may find value in previous articles available on the Farm Equipment website and with links from the Machinery Advisors Consortium (MAC) site.  MAC Advisor Bill Mayes should spark your thinking by questioning customer satisfaction as a metric and promoting use of your own data instead.
Leadership Lessons — Focus on Satisfied Customers, Not Customer Satisfaction

Farm Equipment, January 28, 2021 by George Russell & Bill Maye


The customer is king! The customer is always right! The customer pays all our paychecks! You’ve heard these things and you’ve probably said them many times. I know I have. So, how can I possibly hate customer satisfaction?

The truth is I love satisfying customers. What I hate are surveys. In my career, I’ve created and managed the customer satisfaction measurement process for two global machinery companies as well as other smaller firms. The driver of these was always to determine the CSI — Customer Satisfaction Index —  and to give it a numerical value. The higher the number, the more satisfied the customers … supposedly.


See a list of the speeches & seminars by our MAC members.

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel – Spoke #5, Robust Marketing Process Drives Segment Sales

Farm Equipment, October 11, 2020 George Russell

The fifth spoke in the upper right completes the Good to Great Flywheel — “Building your dealership brand with all segments” by employing a robust marketing process.  

Done right the process grows sales with all types/segments of buyers and generates momentum for the new to used cascade described in spoke 1.

We’ll define the 5 steps of marketing and then the 3 critical elements of a robust process in a “great” marketing dealership. We’ll focus on element 1 in this article and will tackle elements 2 and 3 next time. 

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel Spoke #4 - Build a Balanced Dealership that Sells Solutions and Earns Trust

Farm Equipment, September 1, 2020 George Russell

How your entire dealership hears and serves the customer is at the core of the 4th spoke of the flywheel. Dealerships that are built with balance and whose people are trusted to deliver and serve consistently will retain those customers and attract more new customers. The new and repeat customers give a huge boost in momentum to a dealership.

Coping with COVID-19 – Be Scared & Be Calm

Farm Equipment, April 3, 2020 George Russell

The COVID-19 pandemic has been called a “black swan,” a metaphor for an extremely rare event that is unforeseen, but which can have enormous impacts. Examples of black swans were the 9/11 attacks which had bad impacts, and the development of the internet which has had a generally good impact.

The animal analogy is wrong here, says Michele Wuker. In her book, The Gray Rhino, rather than a black swan she calls COVID-19 a “Gray Rhino” — gray like an elephant in the room and a rhino because of how it attacks. She writes:

"Given what we know about pandemics and their increasing likelihood, outbreaks are highly probable and high impact. I coined the term 'gray rhino' for exactly such events: obvious, visible, coming right at you, with large potential impact and highly probable consequences."

Every dealership and small business can be affected by the COVID-19 crisis. With what we see around the world and given the nature of pandemics, the full impact may not have hit your dealership — yet. But it will and when it does, it will hit fast and hard like a charging rhino. So be scared.

To lead a business into and through an impending crisis, you must also be calm.

Bridging the two — being scared and being calm — creates tension that will challenge your leadership.

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel – Leveraging Technology Assessing Technology as a Force Multiplier

Farm Equipment, June 30, 2020 George Russell

Technology is a “Force Multiplier” for your dealership. The force multiplier concept comes from the military but to explain it simply, think of a hammer. A hammer amplifies your effort to produce more output. 

This idea fits exactly with the flywheel analogy for building a good to great (G2G) dealership as the leveraging of technology tools exert forces, speed and connection to increase a dealership’s momentum.

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel Spoke #3 Build a Strong Culture & Leverage Vital Processes

Farm Equipment, March 27, 2020 George Russell

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast” — a quote attributed to management guru Peter Drucker defines the core idea of this spoke. The best plans fail without a strong culture to support them. On the flip side a strong culture means your dealership is more likely to overcome setbacks and changes even without a strong strategy.

To grow from good to great requires more than a strong culture — being great requires a culture of performance. 

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel Spoke #2 Invest to Grow: High Absorption

Farm Equipment, February 28, 2020 George Russell

Absorption is simple to calculate, but to understand its “Good to Great” power in a dealership is complicated. 

Absorption is both a defensive and offensive strategy, and, although it is a financial metric that contributes to a high return on assets (one of two goals of a dealership), better absorption also contributes to creating repeat customers (the second main goal).

Leadership Lessons — Good to Great Dealership Flywheel, Leveraging the New to Used Cascade

Farm Equipment, February 7, 2020 George Russell

What is the New to Used Cascade and why is it important as the first spoke to describe in the Good to Great Dealership Flywheel?

There are many implications for leveraging the New to Used Cascade, which is why I choose to start our journey here. The biggest implication is the fundamental approach a dealership makes to selling machines.

Leadership Lessons — My Three Basic Rules for Leading

Farm Equipment, July 5, 2019 by Bill Mayes

In recent years, I’ve worked with hundreds of dealership managers; although we spend most of our time discussing KPIs, processes and growing sales, we invariably end up on the subject of people’s challenges and opportunities.

Formerly, the question was typically, “Where can I find good people?” But that has shifted recently.

Leadership Lessons — A Boss Who Wants You to be Successful

Farm Equipment, November 11, 2019 by George Russell

An early leadership lesson for me was the need to develop my replacement. My advancement in a company was determined by my ability to develop management and leadership behaviors in others. Jon Tanner’s quote above highlights how that fulfills those who do it well.

Growing leaders from within and helping each achieve beyond their expectations is the most rewarding part of being a manager. It fosters a positive internal culture as people see a path within your dealership to develop and grow. It also projects to your customers as they are more comfortable dealing with someone who has grown up and had success in your company.

Leadership Lessons — From Good to Great – The Sustainable Dealership Flywheel

Farm Equipment, December 25, 2019 by George Russell

What makes a dealership good? And what does it take to move a dealership from good to great? These questions are our subject for this column in 2020. Over the year, we’ll discuss each element of the Sustainable Dealership Flywheel, and how they link to build the momentum that distinguishes a “Good to Great” dealership.

Leadership Lessons — Is Servant Leadership the Right Style for Your Dealership?

Farm Equipment, July 1, 2019 by Robin Currie from Currie Management Consultants.

Servant leadership is an approach that is quite different from some of today’s other popular styles, such as autocratic, participatory and democratic. Robert Greenleaf and the Greenleaf Foundation is credited with coining the term Servant-Leadership — that true leadership must be executed in the form of true service. His title says is all: The Power of Servant-Leadership.

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