10 Gs of Leadership

1. Guard Against The “Peter Principle”-Don’t promote people based strictly on how they have performed in their current role. Promote them to their ability to perform in their new role. People are often promoted to their level of incompetence.

2. Guard The Processes-The team with the best and most consistent processes wins the most often.

3. Guard The Team-It really is about the team. You need team players. If they aren’t on the same team you cannot afford to keep them on the team. They will destroy morale and production.

4. Guard The Customers-When you protect your customers, you build your business and set the bar for the team to do the same. The team is watching and emulating how you deal with customer issues.

5. Guard The Vendors-You must demand the same high quality and standards from your vendors as you demand from your team. Don’t lower your standards because you’re saving a few bucks.

6. Guard The Culture-There’s nothing more important that you can do than guard your culture. You cannot afford to hire people who aren’t of the same mindset. If you make that mistake you will wake up one day and there is no culture.

7. Guard Against Legacy Thinking-Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s the best way. Stop looking back. Look forward.

8. Guard Against Making The Same Mistakes-Mistakes are a part of growing, but what you cannot allow is the same mistakes happening over and over again.

9. Guard The Training-You cannot train too much. It’s not “redundant training” until the team is perfect. The team isn’t perfect.

10. Guard The Passion-Don’t let anyone steal or drain your passion and don’t be afraid to show your passion for all the above.

That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Do You Love Your Children?

I’m sure you do. And, I’m sure if one of your children was sick you would keep a close eye on that child until they recovered
from their sickness.

I’m appalled at how many used car managers don’t actually know where their sickest children (oldest old used cars) are.

Often when I’m reviewing inventory with a used car manager I’ll ask them to tell me about certain cars in their inventory.

On some of the cars I’ll ask them, “Where is it?” They will say, “It’s in the inventory.”

No,” I’ll say, “Where is it? Where is it parked?” Typical comments are, “I’m not sure”, “I think it’s out back”, “I think it’s in the service department”, “I think it’s in clean up”, “I think someone is driving it”, “I think it’s sold.”

You’re not being paid to think. You’re being paid to know. The great used car managers know where every car is at every moment of its life with their store.

The great used car managers know where all their children are, especially their sickest ones, regardless if they have a 40 car inventory or a 400 car inventory.

They just know. You wanna know why they know?

They know because they care. They know because they are great parents. They know because the more they know about where their children are, the more they can protect them.

They can protect them from the evils of the world such as becoming aged, poor ROI, and slow turn. Show some love. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

The Top Floor

I have a lot of experience in parking my car in garage parking lots. I have that experience every week when I park my car in the parking garage at the Tampa International Airport.

What I find so interesting is that people always want to park on the lower floors. So much in fact, that I will often observe people driving around the portable signs that say “This Level Full” in order to find a parking space on a lower floor.

If those looking for parking on the lower floors are lucky enough to find a space, the odds are pretty good they still have a long walk to the elevator.

I always go to the top floor. Always. The reason I go to the top floor is there’s always room to park right in front of the elevator.

Hanging out on the lower floors is pretty much what the masses end up doing in life. For whatever reason, they don’t realize there’s a lot of room at the top.

When it comes to leadership, there’s always room at the top. Far too many people never take the challenge of going to the top.

Welcome to the top floor. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Can You Raise The Bar?

I often hear dealers complain about the quality of the people coming into the business. They complain that it’s hard to find people willing to work and who want to make some real money.

Could it be that dealers are trying to hire the same type of person they were trying to hire 20 years ago?

I’m betting that many of you have experienced sales people selling less than 8 units a month. How can someone come to work every day, and only sell 8 cars a month? You have to ask yourself, how is that possible? Are you making excuses for their lack of performance? Have you accepted mediocrity?

There’s a difference between showing up for work and actually coming to work.

The best way for you to start to raise the bar is to raise your standards for the type of people you hire and the type of processes you demand that your organization embraces.

Raising the bar is exhausting. Raising the bar means being committed to the hiring and training of a different type of sales person.

Raising the bar goes against the grain. Raising the bar requires one to be a student of the game and have the willingness to change the game knowing there will be serious opposition from the masses. Raising the bar means developing new and innovative pay plans. Raising the bar means changing the selling system to fit today’s buyer. Raising the bar means having the courage to throw “Legacy Thinking” out the window.

Changing the game means changing the rules. Changing the rules means holding more people accountable for raising the bar. The bar does not get raised and left in that position. The bar has to be raised every day if you are going to continue to play the game and be successful.

Realize that raising the bar even just a little bit gives you an edge. It’s easy to do because so many of your competitors are locked into lowering the bar and accepting the business as it is, not as it could be.

To raise the bar:

Do It With Enthusiasm
Have No Fear
Change The Expectations
Don’t Make Exceptions
Create Accountability
Defeat Legacy Thinking

So, the choices are easy, you can continue to lower the bar, you can raise the bar or you can head to the bar. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

What Are You A Champion Of?

Great leaders are champions of many things. Here’s 8 for you to consider:

1. Be a Champion of Responding-Do it now. Respond to text messages, emails and phone calls immediately. You should respond just as you would expect others to do if you were on the other side.

2. Be a Champion of Empathy-Can you recognize the emotions of others? Are you picking them up or pushing them down?

3. Be a Champion of Self-Evaluation-When was the last time you asked someone who you could trust to tell you the truth about what you could improve on?

4. Be a Champion of Discipline-Are you walking the walk or just talking the talk?

5. Be a Champion of Moving The Strategy Bar-Are you constantly seeking to tweak and kick up the strategy bar? Or, are you locked into thinking you’ve got it right?

6. Be a Champion of Enthusiasm-Sometimes you have to fake it until you make it. Here’s a simple test. How many people have you high-fived today?

7. Be a Champion of Your Culture-Culture is a living, breathing thing. Are you feeding and watering it every day?

8. Be a Champion of Defeating Legacy Thinking-Are you holding “legacy thinking” high on a pedestal or kicking it out the front door? Just because you’ve always done it that way, doesn’t mean you can continue to do so. You can either lead, follow or get the heck out of the way.

What are you a Champion of? That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs

Change Your Focus?

I’ve come to realize that one of the greatest frustrations of dealers, general managers and sales management in general is average gross profit. The focus on average gross profit has its moments when it drives the management team nuts. I would suggest in some cases it caused the team to lose focus on what’s most important.

I’m not denying that we need to have a focus on average gross and I’m not denying that for a lot of dealers there’s room for improvement.

Having said that, I do believe many of you would be better served focusing on total gross and removing (Try it for the next 90 days) average gross from your vocabulary.

More often than not there’s an expectation of total gross for the used car department. The real goal should be how fast we can hit that number and beyond. The goal should be to pile up as much gross as you possibly can, as fast as you can.

Never forget you cannot spend average gross profit. You can spend total gross profit. That’s all I’m gonna say, Tommy Gibbs

Is It Time To Retreat?

What I’m actually asking is, it time you took your staff on a retreat? Yep, I know it’s time consuming and expensive, but I can tell you it’s well worth it.

Want to get some better ideas on how to run your business? Hold a retreat

Want to know what’s really going on in your store? Hold a retreat

Want to kick off the New Year with a bang? Hold a retreat

Want to up your vision of greatness? Hold a retreat

Want to get “buy in” from the team? Hold a retreat

Want to find out who’s in and who’s out? Hold a retreat

Want to know if you’re going in the right direction? Hold a retreat

Want to develop a solid culture? Hold a retreat

Many years ago when our organization was trying to find its way I held a retreat at remote location. No phones, no distractions. Team members from all departments participated.

For 2 days we kicked around our culture, our values, our processes and strategies. Of all the things I’ve ever done in the automobile business, I believe it’s the most brilliant thing.

Is it time for you to hold a retreat? That’s all I’m gonna ask.
Tommy Gibbs

Is There A Bully In The Room?

Yep there is. And, you know who he/she happens to be. But, you keep them around because they are productive. Nobody wants to work with them. If anything people avoid working with them. Sales people don’t want to work with them. The office staff avoids them and the service department cringes when they show up.

But, you let them hang around. They have some skills you’ve found useful over the years. Skills that are no longer serving the team and the organization well today in today’s market.

You won’t get rid of them because you feel a sense of loyalty for all they’ve done for you over the years. You’re loyal to them. They aren’t loyal to you or they would have sense enough to know that their bullying creates a divide for the team.

The longer you let the bully stay in the room, the uglier the room will become. The uglier the room becomes, the more people will leave the room. The more people leave the room, the harder it is for you to build a winning team. The harder it is to build a winning team, the more your culture will erode.

Enjoy your bully in the room. That’s all I’m gonna say,Tommy Gibbs

Are You The Boss?

Reading is really important to me. Mostly I read to help me with my business. What I find so interesting is that more often than not, when I read something, it’s something I already know to be true.

I don’t mean that as a “know it all,” but after you’ve been in business for as long as I have, and since I’m a student of the game, I’ve either seen it all, heard it all or done it all. That’s just a fact of life.

But, what I also know to be true is that we have to be reminded from time to time about the many things we know to be solid, fundamental business principles.

I’m re-reading a book right now titled, “It’s Okay To Be The Boss,” by Bruce Tulgan. If you’ve not read it, you should. The premise of the book is pretty much what the title says. It’s really ok to be the boss, especially if you know how to manage yourself.

One of the key points the book makes is that if you walk into a restaurant and get poor service then you should not be mad at the person performing the service. You should be mad at the boss.

If people are performing poorly then it’s because they were the wrong hire, they haven’t been properly trained or they are not doing what they have been trained to do. In all of those cases, it’s the boss’s fault.

The boss has a responsibility to hire the right people, make sure people know how to perform their jobs and then demand that they do so. The greater responsibility of a boss is to hold people accountable to do what they are supposed to be doing. It’s foolish to try to hold someone accountable if you’ve not done your job correctly as “the boss.”

Never forget, you’re not running a democracy. You’re running a business that should generate the greatest profits possible for its investors and stockholders.

Can you be a better “boss?” That’s all I’m gonna ask, Tommy Gibbs