The Pulse

Great leaders have their thumb on the pulse of the organization. Without a pulse the organization dies. If you are to improve your leadership skills you must know the pulse of your organization.

You can only know the pulse of the organization by absorbing yourself within the daily activities and action of the business. To feel the pulse you must feel the passion.

If you’re not feeling the passion, then your pulse may very well be dead. Maybe your pulse is dead because you’re burned out. How can you be burned out when you’ve never been on fire?

You are responsible for your own fire. I’m just trying to give you a match to get you going. Firing up your own passion will ignite your organization.

Real leaders have a pulse. Real leaders feel the pulse. Real leaders inspire a pulse.

Hope you’re on fire. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

What Are You Looking At?

I often wonder what dealers, managers, and leaders are looking at. At times it seems they are looking, but they don’t see.

Yogi Berra once said: “You can observe a lot by just watching.”

And sometimes even when they see, they don’t hold people accountable and take corrective actions.

Believe it or not, people want to be held accountable. It’s hard to hold people accountable when we haven’t set or determined what the expectations are.

Once expectations are set then we have to have a way of measuring the progress. Measuring progress is probably one of the easiest things to do in the automobile business.

When the measurements are not satisfactory we have to communicate the results and seek corrective action.

Once the corrective action plan is in place it all starts over again and at some point there has to be, there just has to be, a consequence for failing to measure up.

And that’s where the biggest problem occurs. Not wanting to hand out the consequences is when leaders look, but don’t see.

I see it all the time. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

But, But, But…

Everything you say before the word “but” is meaningless.

You might say something like “I have a great used car manager, but I can’t get him to understand why ROI is important.”

This is fun, let’s do some more:

“I have a great used car manager, but we have a lot of stuff over 60 days old.”

Oh, gosh this is awesome, let’s keep going.

“We have a great website, but our photos are awful.”

“We have prices posted on our used cars, but they don’t match the prices we have on the Internet.”

“My used car manager is a great closer, but he doesn’t understand how to price used cars.”

“Curtis is a great buyer, but makes poor buying decisions by buying too many high dollar cars.”

“My used car manager is one of the best in the business, but we’re only getting 5 turns a year.”

“We have a great service department, but we can’t get them to get used cars through the system in a timely manner.”

“My general manager is awesome, but his people skills are terrible.”

“We spend a ton of money in advertising, but we haven’t figured out what role digital plays in our business.”

“My used car manager is really tight with all the wholesalers, but we always lose money when we sell them a car.”

“Steve is one of our best managers, but he doesn’t want to change from old school thinking.”

This whole “but” thing is simply an excuse and/or a weakness as to why you are not willing to deal with the problem or issue at hand.

Ok, one last but…”Tommy Gibbs is really expensive, but he’s made me so much money I feel brilliant that I hired him.”

Gotcha! That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

I Don’t Care What You Know…

I don’t care what you know. I care what you can teach others to do. That’s what leaders do. They teach. They coach.

It’s a wonderful thing that you have talent and great skills, but if you can’t teach it to others then your organization’s growth is limited. You limit your own growth when others aren’t growing.

I cannot tell you how many times in my career I’ve seen talented managers not be able to teach others. Consequently when they are not on the job, nothing much happens. Productivity goes in the tank and the company suffers.

Should the B team be blamed for not getting the job done? No, the team leader who should be doing the teaching and the development of the staff should be blamed.

As much as you may think you’re “IT,” you’re not. If you can’t teach it then you ain’t “IT.” That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

I Dare You…

For some of you this isn’t going to be pleasant. Or at least it may not be if you do what I’m going to suggest.

Regardless of your position in the dealership, owner, new car manager, BDC manager, used car manager or even if you’re not a manager, go click on your website… right now, yes right now go look at your website.

Even if you think your website looks great, I dare you to go look at it. (Don’t be chicken.)

Click on the used car section and tell me what you see. Take it a step further and scroll through a few used cars…keep scrolling…

1. How many photos per car do you see?
2. How many lousy pictures do you see?
3. How many are taken outside?
4. How many have shadows?
5. How many have a factory photo?
6. How many have no photo?
7. How many don’t have a price?

Depending on what you just looked at there’s a good chance you are saying, “What the heck are we doing? No wonder we’re not selling enough used cars. No wonder we’re not making much gross per car.”

Can we all agree that somewhere between 80 and 90% of all customers who shop for used cars look on the Internet? If that’s even close, how do you think you’re gonna drive traffic with photos that look like what you’ve just viewed? (Did you see any with snow on them?)

The concept of a photo booth has been around for years now. Progressive organizations that understand the real world have a photo booth.

You won’t come close to maximizing your sales until you maximize your exposure. You will never maximize your exposure by taking photos outside.

I’m exposing you by daring you to look at your website. If you don’t like what you see, then fix it. That’s all I’m gonna say. Tommy Gibbs

Things Come In Threes

In 1983, against long odds, Jim Valvano led his underdog NC State Wolfpack basketball team to the NCAA basketball championship. He’s also very much remembered for his inspirational 1993 ESPY Awards speech given just eight weeks before he died of cancer.

His motto was, “Don’t Give Up . . . Don’t Ever Give Up.” In that speech he said there are three things we should do every day:

1. Laugh.
2. Think. You should spend some time in thought.
3. Cry. You should have your emotions moved to tears, could be happiness or joy.

His point was if you laugh, you think, and you cry, that’s a full day.

Matthew McConaughey won the best actor award at the Oscars this past week. He said he needs three things in his life to survive:

1. Someone to look up to. I would also suggest you need someone to look up to. It might be God, someone in your family, business or someone who’s mentored you.

2. Someone to look forward to. In his case, and yours as well, he looks forward to his family. What do you have going on in your life that you look forward to? Is it accomplishing the next great challenge?

3. Someone to chase. He chases his hero. He said he was chasing himself in 10 year increments. That too makes sense. We all need something or someone to chase. Being in the chase makes us better.

Laughing, thinking, crying, having someone to look up to, something to look forward to and something to chase is what fuels the passion of life. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

60 Day Losses

I’m gritting my teeth as I write this. I really am. Some of you are still struggling with the 60 day concept. I guess talking about 45 days isn’t going to win any friends and influence my enemies, so I’m going to just chat about 60 days.

I’m always concerned when I’m teaching a workshop that those in attendance may think when I’m talking about 60 days that I’m saying that they need to dump cars at 60, take the losses and move on.

I’m gonna scream this so get ready. I’M NOT TALKING ABOUT DUMPING A BUNCH OF CARS AT 60 AND LOSING MONEY. Will you have to dump a few at 60? Yes, but darn few. (Especially if you follow my “Life Cycle Management Process.”)

I’m taking about finding a retail buyer before we even get to 60.

Do you think keeping it past 60 is really going to help your situation? Do you thinking keeping them past 60 days is gonna help your average gross profit? Do you think you’re gonna have a great ROI after 60 days? Do you think you need to keep it because you can’t replace it? What I wanna know is, what are you thinking?

I’ll tell you what I’m thinking. I’m thinking I’m hoping that you will one day change your thinking. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

The 12 Burdens (Opportunities) Of Leadership

Evan Longoria is an all-star third baseman for the Tampa Bay Rays. Having been an excellent player for a number of years he has become their leader both on and off the field.

In a recent article he and manager Joe Maddon discussed some of the burdens Evan faces as the leader of the team. I’ve never thought of leadership as carrying burdens; I’d rather think of it as the opportunities of leadership:

1. Being up when you are down.
2. Picking others up when they are down.
3. Doing the right thing when it’s easy to do the wrong thing.
4. Being respectful when your instinct is to do the opposite.
5. Getting after it when you feel drained.
6. Making changes when staying the course is comfortable.
7. Doing what you have asked others to do.
8. Speaking softly when you’d rather make a lot of noise.
9. Making a lot of noise when you’d rather speak softly.
10. Showing up early when you know you can come in late.
11. Making tough decisions that others can’t and won’t make.
12. Delegating authority so others may learn and grow.

What great opportunities you have as a leader. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs