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People Development


  • Leadership Lessons - Coping with COVID-19 – Be Scared & Be Calm (April 2020) - 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. 

  • Leadership Lessons - A Boss Who Wants You to be Successful  (November 2019) - 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.

  • Leadership Lessons - My Three Basic Rules for Leading  (July 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 - Is Servant Leadership the Right Style for Your Dealership? (July 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. 

  • Leadership Lessons - ‘Best is Standard’ & 'All-In' — The Power of Benchmark Models for Your Dealership (May 2019 by Jim Henderson from Currie Management Consultants) - Among the many slogans that Clemson football coach Dabo Swinney has coined, these two sum up a critical aspect of his championship culture: Clemson aims for a benchmark, a standard of excellence, that is unchanging. That benchmark does not change. Even with yearly changes in staff, players and competition, the benchmark stays the same. And if you want to play for Clemson, then you need to be "All-In" to live and work toward that standard. 

  • Leadership Lessons - Communicating in the Age of "Me Too" (March 2019 by Michelle Currie) - Leaders and managers are finding themselves wondering what the heck is going on in the workplace with some women and minorities being “so sensitive.” Many male leaders now take inventory of past interactions with women and other minorities to determine if they will be the next to be judged and possibly tossed for something they did in jest many years ago. The past can’t be erased, but the future is a clean sheet of paper upon which you can imprint a new way to communicate. 

  • Leadership Lessons - Personal Values & 3 Simple Changes to Show Them  (March 2019) - Values in an organization start at the top. As a leader in a dealership, your values and your personal character will be reflected in how your company operates, how it affects people, how its culture is defined and cultivated and ultimately its success. That is the fundamental Leadership Lesson — your values and character matter. 

  • Leadership Lessons - Growing as a Leader  (January 2019) - For 2019 the focus of this series will be on the personal development and growth of dealership leaders, especially those who are in new roles that require more leadership skills.

  • Checking In - What's Your Progress with 2018 'The Year of Human Capital Investment?' (August 2018) - In January, we focused on investing in your Human Capital in 2018 as 'Job One.'  How are you doing? Are your investments in developing our people paying off yet? This article provides some thought starters.

  • Empower Employees with Critical Thinking (July 2018 by Bill Mayes) How much of what we “know” is really true? How much is based on facts? Or is it just what we have always thought? Take the simple task of crossing the street. It’s common sense to always look both ways before you cross, right? But what if you live on a dirt road in the country. Is it still common sense? 

  • Make 2018 the Year of Human Capital Investment (December 2017) - In January, we tend to look forward to the New Year and think of what we want to accomplish. I challenge you now to plan to accomplish ‘Job One’ so that at the end of 2018, you’ll look back fulfilled by how you developed the Human Capital in your dealership.

  • 3 Insights Into ‘Job One’ (October 2017) - What is Job One for your dealership? Is it:

    1. Selling and supporting labor saving machines and technology

    2. Making money

    3. Creating and keeping a customer

    4. Managing and leading people

  • Formulate a Short & Simple ‘Tailgate Talk’   (July 2017) - Great leaders simplify their messages. As a dealership leader, are your messages the most powerful? Think of Ronald Reagan, often called the Great Communicator, and some of his famous messages. “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” at the Berlin Wall. Or after the Challenger disaster, “They touched the face of God.” The title of his biography by his speech writer Peggy Noonan says it best — Simply Speaking.

  • Successful Partnerships Take Dreamers & Doers (February 2017) – I am reading -- for the second time in a year -- Simon Sinek's book Start with Shy, How Great Leader Inspire Everyone to Take Action.  As I finished a chapter today, Sinek's words reminded me of the many partnerships between dealership leaders that create great businesses, those who over a long time react well to change and execute well to keep customers, employees, manufacturers, and investors happy. 

  • How Do You Turn a Crisis into Opportunity? (October/November 2016) – I’m a life-long Red Sox fan who can’t manage to hate a great Yankee, Derek Jeter. My admiration was sealed during one play in the 2001 playoffs against the moneyball Oakland A’s. With the game tied, a runner on second and the series on the line, the A’s slashed a base hit to right field. As the runner rounded third, the Yankee right fielder scooped the ball and made a weak, off-line throw to the plate.

  • How to be a Dynamically Neutral Leader (September 2016) – Joe Founder, who is 68 years old, has two daughters working for him. Jane is 5 years older than Julie. They’ve respected each other’s contributions for many years, and Joe thinks the dealership is stronger with both of them. Both have the option to work elsewhere.

  • Leading Relationship Transitions in a Team (January 2016) – Many managers in dealerships move from working as a part of a team to managing that same team. You may have done this yourself or need to coach someone in that situation who has been promoted.

  • Overcoming High Stakes Family Challenges (October 2015) – We’ve noticed a theme in the past few years in our work with successful equipment dealership leaders.  One said this: “50% of our business challenges are internal relationship challenges.”

  • Assessing Leadership Talent for Growth (September 2015) – It’s all about people.  We hear this phrase more and more as the scale of farming and farm equipment dealerships grow. We also hear it from successful dealers who must drive change in their businesses to keep pace with changes in technology, demographics and competition

  • Professional Development — How to Be a Better Coach: Part 1 of 2 (June 2015) and Professional Development: How to Be a Better Coach: Part 2 of 2 (July 2015) – Discover how active coaching can be a vehicle that drives performance and accountability in your dealership.

People & Organization

  • Manage Your Employees Like a Successful Sports General Manager Leads His Team (September 2018 by Daniel Surprenant) In business, we can learn from sports. What are the elements of winning teams like the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles or World Series Champion Huston Astros? Even better, what did the newly established Las Vegas Golden Knights do to get to the Stanley Cup finals in their first year?

  • The ‘Value’ of Relationships (June 2018 by Bill Hoeg) – Why do car dealers get less parts and service business after the warranty expires? Why are there so many independent repair shops to fix your car? Our industry is not the car business and we need to avoid some of their practices in order to build value and keep as much parts and service business as possible post-warranty. So what can we learn from the car business?

  • Make It Work, Make It Pay (March 2018) - You are a dealer principal or general manager, you believe in training, and you say “I will hire an expert to come to train my team and immediately I will have a return on my investment.” So you invest hundreds of dollars in training, hoping for a fast return, and nothing changes. You then say to yourself, “I just put money down a rat hole!”

  • How to Create a Culture of Collaboration & Sharing (February 2018) - Last month, I challenged dealership leaders to make 2018 the year to invest in human capital. I listed three calls to action and some links to recent relevant articles. 

    • Calls to Actions to Leverage Human Capital

      • Develop Managers — “Job One’ of a Leader”

      • Transfer Knowledge & Culture —  Mentoring & Coaching

      • Attract & Develop the Workforce of the Future — Become the “Employer of Choice”

Here we’ll dig into #2 and explore some ways to create a culture that transfers knowledge and culture — in other words  “How To” collaborate and share.

  • Challenge Directly & Show You Care Personally (June 2017) - “Be brutally honest.” That was the advice a dealer-principal shared at a recent best practice group that I lead. This insight got the group talking about how best to achieve good results from employees, colleagues, vendors, etc. His choice of words sparked discussion on if and how to provide feedback, and what to expect in return.

  • Manage Extroverts and Introverts Differently   (April 2017) - To be the most effective manager, it's important to know how to connect with and manage employees who are mostly introverted or mostly extroverted.  Many don't appreciate the contributions to your organization from the former.

  • How to Coach Your Employees (and Yourself) (March 2017) - Successful coaches know that intuition and emotion are the biggest factors that drive people and organizations, even if reason and logic are necessary for proper guidance.

  • What to Do with Disengaged Employees (Part 2: July 2016) – In Part 1, we defined employee engagement as going the extra mile. Companies whose employees are highly engaged produce 300% better financial results, according to Towers Watson’s 2012 Global Workforce Study.

  • Keep Employees Engaged  (Part 1: June 2016) – How do you and your managers gain the work and commitment of your employees to perform well? How can you influence the behavior and performance of your people in positive ways?

  • Help Different Generations Understand One Another (April/May 2016) – Do these comments sound familiar in your dealership? Gen X manager about a Millennial employee: “Why doesn’t he wait his turn, work hard and earn my trust?”

  • Develop Your Best Talent (March 2016) – A basic axiom of team development is this: Most leaders spend too much time on their problem employees, and too little time on their best. As Stephen Covey, author of Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, pointed out years ago, developing talent is often critical to success, but since it is not urgent, it never happens. The key word here is time. Let’s discuss two aspects of this four-letter word: thinking time, and talking time.

  • How to Manage Your Millennial Employees (February 2016) – The younger generation doesn’t have the same work ethic as I do. And they want to keep changing jobs. They’re a challenge to hire and manage!”

  • Technology at the Intersection of People and Business (February 2014) - What do learning disabilities and ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder) have to do with running a dealerships?

  • Your Words are as Important as Your Actions (April 2013) - Would you buy a truck from someone who drives an old clunker? Would you eat at a restaurant where the proprietor calls the women servers "chicks" or "broads?

  • Dealership Training Part 2: Drive an Effective Process (Feb 2012) - Last month we emphasized that the pace of change in technology and business processes requires continuous upgrading of employee skills to remain competitive.  This month, we expand on the topic of training and focus on how best to drive the effectiveness of your training process to maximize return on your investment (ROI).

  • Dealership Training Part 1: Measuring Its Effectiveness (Jan 2012) In a modern, progressive and profitable equipment dealership, investment in the ongoing training of people is vital.

  • Are You the Employer of Choice or of Last Resort? (April 2011) - You’ve heard of the Academy Awards for movies and the Baldrige Award for quality, but have you heard of the “Employer Choice Award?” If you’ve heard of it, would you deserve it if you were nominated?

  • Strong Store Managers or Centralized Structure? (Feb 2011) - How you organize your dealership is fundamental to your success. Whether your dealership has one store, a few or several locations, the choice of how you organize your company has a direct bearing on your performance.

  • Expanding Successfully:  It's All About Talent (June 2010) - Biggest driver of success in a growing dealership is the leverage of good people.  Dealer Principal role will change with growth in size and number of locations.

Ready to talk? Contact us.

We look forward to visiting with you about how we can help grow your business. 

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