As you can imagine I get to see a lot. When you see a lot you tend to form opinions. Opinions are just that, an opinion. Doesn’t make me right or wrong, but you have to realize I get to see so many different views that over time I can spot a zebra from a horse pretty easily.
One of the issues that constantly comes up is the PIC (Person in Charge); the dealer, general manager, owner-operator who doesn’t listen to those in the trenches when it comes to what’s working, what’s not and what can be done to fix something.
Oftentimes it’s not just that they don’t listen, it’s that they don’t bother to ask.
Even when they do ask they won’t act on the information they have been given because they, (the PIC) has been there and done that. Sometimes they have over-analyzed the information to a point where they are convinced that whatever the thought or suggestion that was served up will not work.
In your zest to get it right have you screwed it up by not being willing to listen to others who might, just might, have a good idea?
Experience is a powerful tool and so is the lack of it. Experience can convince you not to do something that might make you a lot of money. Inexperience can cause you to take a chance and make some money.
My father, just like your father, gave me tons of advice as a young man growing up. One of the things he said to me was "Son, you can go through life, not take many risks, and you will probably live an ok life. Or, you can go through life, take some chances and you might be rich." Hmmm.
I think far too often in the car business, or any business for that matter, we become convinced that something can’t be done and when we do that we are no doubt right. And, we are just as right when we become convinced that something can be done. Business and life is such a head game. The better heads win.
Often times as we go up the APG (Authority Power Grid) we start to believe that due to our success we have all the answers. And as brilliant as we may be, we need to value and act on those ideas that come to us from those who are immediately dealing with the problem.
Fear is a great motivator or de-motivator. If you’re scared to roll the dice once in a while it’s going to be very hard for you ever to hit the winning numbers.
I’m starting to babble a bit so let me get directly to the point. You need to listen to those under you and you need to let them try some of the things they believe will help your business. Take the handcuffs off and turn them loose once in a while. What you think doesn’t matter as much as you think.
One of my favorite techniques as a dealer was to ask the members of the management team what they needed in order to fix whatever problem they felt was getting in their way of performing to their maximum potential. My message to them was "Tell me the problem, tell me what you think the fix is and let’s get on with it." I loved eliminating excuses. Now the ball is in their court. Game on!
When all the information comes from the top down in the power grid, those on the lower half of the grid become very unhappy. Unhappiness leads to frustration. Frustration leads to throwing one’s hands up and giving up. When people give up they go through the motions and the organization never reaches its full potential. I want you to reach your full potential. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs